A beloved Minneapolis restaurant is coming back from the dead.
Butcher & the Boar closed last fall after eight years anchoring the corner of 12th Street and Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. Now, the Minneapolis-based restaurant group Jester Concepts is resurrecting it.
Under the tutelage of owner Brent Frederick, chef Mike DeCamp and bar director Jeff Rogers, Butcher & the Boar will return as the meat-and-whiskey haven it once was, albeit in a different Minneapolis location. The company behind P.S. Steak, Monello, Parlour and Borough has acquired the rights to the brand, but not the former dining room and beer garden.
Frederick is searching for a new location, "something that's industrial, something with character, something that emulates what Butcher & the Boar was," he said, aiming for an opening by the end of the year or early 2022.
The menu's greatest hits will return, including the smoked beef long rib, wood-grilled oysters and a variety of sausages. "We have all the recipes, and we plan to bring everything back," Frederick said. "We're going to have fun with it and definitely pay homage to it."
Butcher & the Boar originally opened in 2012 under chef Jack Riebel. Its German/Southern/barbecue menu, bourbon-focused bar and vast beer garden drew crowds in its heyday. It earned four stars from the Star Tribune and was named its 2012 Restaurant of the Year, and Riebel, who left the restaurant at the end of 2013, was nominated for a James Beard Award.
A second Butcher & the Boar opened in suburban Charleston, S.C., in 2019.
In September 2020, the restaurants' ownership announced the Minneapolis location was closing permanently "due to COVID-19 and the unrest in Minneapolis."
Also, "there was a bankruptcy involved," Frederick said. In terms of bringing back the name and intellectual property under those conditions, "complicated would be an understatement."
But Frederick was a longtime fan of the restaurant — it opened around the same time his Borough and Parlour did, and he ate there often. "I always felt like I was eating at my own restaurant," he said. "It was just a great, iconic spot." One he felt compelled to revive, especially after a bleak 12 months for the industry. Butcher & the Boar was one of several top-rated Twin Cities restaurants to go dark in 2020.
"In a year of restaurants closing, no one saw this one coming," Frederick said. "It was a big blow to the restaurant community. Minneapolis didn't deserve for this to go away, and we're so thrilled to bring it back."