In 2007, five brothers and friends instigated a weekday social night at a North Loop apartment. They called the get-togethers “Western Wednesdays” — a good excuse, they found, for trying new whiskeys, making country-inspired food and watching old western movies.
Ten years later, the friends-turned-business-partners have spun those gatherings into a whiskey-focused bar and restaurant, just down the street from the scene of the original crime.
Dalton & Wade (daltonandwadempls.com) debuted this week in the new T3 office building (323 Washington Av. N., Mpls.), featuring many of the staples that partners Daniel O’Brien, Paul Abdo, John Abdo, Corey Abdo and Sean Geraty celebrated weekly for years.
“We kind of saw that there was a void,” said Corey Abdo, whose family owns and operates the MyBurger chain, Nicollet Island Inn and Saguaro. “We couldn’t go do what we were doing at our condo anywhere around town.”
The partners are quick to point out that Dalton & Wade — that’s a reference to the main characters in the movie “Road House” — is not a cowboy-themed bar. Instead, they’re calling it a “whiskey-forward” restaurant with a menu that dabbles in hearty “Americana” food.
Scott Pampuch, the original chef/owner of Corner Table, has put together an array of snacks (hush puppies and pimento cheese toast among them), salads, sandwiches on house-made bread and a lineup of “roadhouse” classics — meats such as chicken-fried steak and hickory-smoked brisket paired with sides that include the likes of coleslaw and potato salad. For dessert, Dalton & Wade will offer a variety of custom “campfire pies” from Stillwater’s Sara’s Tipsy Pies (sarastipsypies.com) and vanilla-bourbon ice cream that can be served with a shot of espresso or booze.
The whiskey selection tops 200, including some rare high-end varieties such as Buffalo Trace’s antique collection and Pappy Van Winkle’s 10-year and 12-year (they hope to acquire 15-, 20- and 23-year whiskeys at some point this year). Just as important, though, the partners say, are quality finds at affordable prices. “Our goal is to find the best $10 bottle of whiskey out there and offer that,” Paul Abdo said.
Cocktails include four on tap that will rotate seasonally, as well as a menu of Old Fashioneds, classic drinks and punches.
The restaurant, covered in leather and wood, seats 110 with an additional 10 to 15 in a small lounge and a 22-seat bar. A patio will hold 50.