Smoked Beef Long Rib at Butcher & the Boar

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Through a stroke of good timing and the help of generous friends, we found ourselves seated at the soft opening of the Butcher & the Boar, the new bourbon- and meat-driven eatery helmed by Chef Jack Riebel (formerly of Dakota Jazz Club and La Belle Vie).

While a review will have to wait until the doors officially open and the restaurant has had time to breathe, last night’s experience (full menu here, for what it’s worth) was too noteworthy to go unrecorded. Three stray thoughts and then a bite of our food:

1) The Manhattan we tried at the bar stands up to the best of them. It was balanced, clean, and strong as an ox. Good enough to compel a return visit just to haunt the bar. The phrase “this place has 65 kinds of bourbon” floated past our ears at one point, and it sounded like a melody.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

2) The overall menu concept is coherent without being limited — it’s as if a Texas barbecue joint and a tapas restaurant had a baby and raised it strictly but with a lot of love. Standout bites included perfectly executed and slightly spicy grits (a dish rarely done well north of the Mason-Dixon), nicely elevated and unorthodox jalapeno poppers (above) stuffed with house-made peanut butter, golden raisins and a bit of cotija-like cheese, and wild boar ham served with mini molasses bread toasts and delicate house bread and butter pickles.

3) This is the direction that Upper Midwestern food should be going. (Among others) Haute Dish gets it; In Season gets it; Tilia gets it; on one hand warm, hearty, casual, and simple food, but on the other hand, well-sourced ingredients, sophisticated twists, and killer service.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Now that bite: a drop-you-where-you-stand massive smoked beef long rib. Butcher & the Boar entrees will be priced from $28-36 and are meant to be shared, which is good — this sleek, mean-looking bludgeon would take down anyone not actively rowing on a crew team. Molasses (blackstrap if I had to guess) helped to impart ebony color and a slightly sweet but biting flavor. The exterior had a delectable crust but the rich flavor penetrated all the way through the melt-in-your-mouth tender meat, and the dish popped with a perfect amount of salt.

Butcher & the Boar is slated to open Tuesday, Mar. 6.

Butcher & the Boar, 1121 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403; 612.222.7171


  1. Sustainable quality Meats

    Nieman Ranch, Creekstone farms, Meyers farm, Ferndale farms, Stonebridge farms, Grass run farms, Broken arrow ranch, Starthrower farms, all the fish and sea food is sourced through Fish Smart, the MN zoo/ Monteray Bay Aquarium collaboration for sustainable seafood
    (google it, or check out the site/link from the mn zoo page)

  2. LizaJae

    I was really excited about this opening, and when I heard they had started taking reservations I called last Monday (3/5) to try to get a reservation for Saturday, 3/10. They called back on Tuesday, and said they weren’t taking reservations for before Sunday, since they had no idea what the opening weekend would be like. The woman who called was very nice about it, and I was fine with it. The first week at a restaurant with this much press has got to be crazy, I can understand not taking reservations for opening weekend.

    My boyfriend and I decided to try to go anyway and take our chances. We walked over at 9:30 Saturday evening and were asked if we had a reservation. The host stand had a print out on it of highlighted and crossed out names, they obviously had been completely booked for the entire night. We told them we had called and been told there weren’t taking reservations for this weekend, laughing a little, and they just said that without a reservation they could seat us at 10:30. We declined and walked down the street and had a lovely dinner at D’Amico at Chambers.

    It really pissed me off. Had we walked in and been told that they were slammed and it was at least an hour’s wait, I would have been fine with it, and probably stayed. Had they told me on Tuesday that they were only taking reservations for press, I would have been ok with that, too. A restaurant lives and dies on its publicity. We eat out a lot in this town, but I don’t blog about it. Making sure someone that’s going to reach a couple of hundred people gets a seat Saturday night is more important than making sure I do. But telling me they weren’t taking reservations and then apparently starting taking them, and not being at all apologetic about it when we showed up and told them what had happened, is just poor customer service. Even an “I’m sorry, we changed plans and started taking them on Wednesday” or whatever would have been fine.

    As it is, it just leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, which isn’t exactly what a restaurant wants, I’m sure. We’ll probably get there eventually, because confused customer service opening weekend certainly isn’t an unforgiveable offense. But I’m not going to be in any hurry to go back — I’ll wait until they get their shit together and everything calms down a touch.

  3. meatz

    Good show on the meat selektions. Had a preview of the knackwurst and boy howdy what a great product!

  4. Angela E. Vanhorn


    I’m trying to get information on how I can e-mail Chef Jack Riebel at the “Butcher and Boar” restaurant in downtown Minneapolis.

    My son is working for Jack Riebel at his restaurant, and I wanted to making sure Chef Jack is provided support with future references and others in that respect and professionalism.

    Thank you,
    Angela E. VanHorn/parent also civil right activist
    Two Harbors, MN 55616

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