Kaskaid Hospitality, the company behind a long list of Twin Cities restaurants, including Crave, is reviving Butcher & the Boar.
"When you look at the space — the incredible patio, the covered beer garden — it's such a diverse set of offerings," said Kaskaid CEO Kam Talebi. "It's a perfect fit for our portfolio of restaurants, which revolve around experiential dining."
The remake will feature the return of two familiar faces: former chef Peter Botcher and former general manager Chad Waldon.
Botcher was a key member of the restaurant's opening culinary team, which was led by Jack Riebel, now a partner at the Lexington in St. Paul.
Reviving some of the kitchen's signature dishes is part of Botcher's reopening strategy. The magnificent smoked long rib is returning to its rightful place as a menu centerpiece, along with grilled oysters and housemade sausages and charcuterie.
The space is currently undergoing a face-lift.
"The old restaurant was masculine in nature, and we want to lighten that up and evolve the look," said Talebi. "It's an evolution that's also reflected in the menu. Peter is bringing in lots of seafood and an intense specials program, to widen the offerings and appeal to our female customer base."
One element won't change, and that's the copper-tinted floor, which is covered in tens of thousands of carefully arranged pennies.
"It's unique, and beloved, and it's part of the history of the space," said Talebi. "And it's hard to get rid of."
Another element that's staying: the playful, building-length mural by Minneapolis artist Adam Turman that stretches across the exterior wall facing 12th Street.
"At night, it's always been in the dark," said Talebi. "We've added lights so that it glows. It's a lot more prominent."
The bar's focus on bourbon will remain — and expand — and the restaurant's enormous patio and beer garden will be ready to welcome guests when the Butcher's Tale opens next month.
"We want to be able to take advantage of the spring weather," said Talebi. "A May opening also allows us to be able to get through the anxiety associated with the [Derek Chauvin] trial. The patio is going to be another catalyst in promoting the downtown dining experience."
Kaskaid operates several large downtown Minneapolis properties, including Brit's Pub & Eating Establishment, Union Rooftop and Muse Event Center, and one of the company's 12 Crave outlets is located a few blocks up Hennepin Avenue from the Butcher's Tale. Talebi is optimistic about the neighborhood's future.
"We live in a great city," he said. "Unfortunately, it has gone through some turmoil. COVID has hurt every downtown, especially downtowns that are predicated on offices and stadiums and theaters. But this too shall pass. I'm an optimist by nature. When the dust settles with COVID, I believe we'll come out stronger and as a better city, and that's what led us to explore this opportunity."
In February, Jester Concepts (Borough, Parlour, Monello, P.S. Steak) announced that it had purchased the rights to the Butcher & the Boar brand, intending to resurrect the restaurant in a new, to-be-determined location. Those plans remain.
"We're excited to see another restaurant come to life in downtown Minneapolis," said Jester owner Brent Frederick. "We wish them well."