The Dakota (1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., dakotacooks.com), the landmark jazz club and restaurant, is reopening in September after a long pandemic-induced slumber.
Owners Lowell Pickett and Richard Erickson shut down their nationally prominent venue in March 2020. To reopen, they've consulted with James Beard award-winning chef Tim McKee (formerly of La Belle Vie, Octo Fish Bar and others) to create a new culinary program. Ops Group founder Nathan Rostance — a familiar face to fans of the former Bachelor Farmer — has been contracted to oversee the club's operations.
"Great music, food and beverages have been at the heart and soul of the Dakota for 35 years," said Pickett. "We've missed sharing those things with the community, and we're incredibly anxious to bring them back. We partnered with Tim and Nathan to make sure we do that with all the flair and style this venue — and our guests — deserve."
At the Dakota, their menu is going in a southerly direction.
"It fits," said McKee. "The South is the birthplace of a lot of the music that the Dakota has been known for."
The cooking will also reflect the Pettus family's generations-deep roots in the Carolinas, with dishes along the lines of hickory-smoked chicken wings, shrimp and grits with andouille sausage, pan-roasted duck breast with Georgia peaches and chicken-fried quail with collard greens.
Occasional Minnesota accents will sneak in, too, including a sweet corn-hominy chowder and gumbo made with wild rice and Lake Vermilion crawfish.
From the start, the Dakota has been a platform for culinary talent, led by luminaries including Ken Goff and Jack Riebel. The gifted Derik Moran ran the kitchen for the past decade; he's now at the helm of Augustine's (1668 Selby Av., St. Paul, augustinesmn.com).
From the looks of it, the Dakota's stage is going to be as busy as the kitchen. Its music calendar has booked more than 60 performances; tickets go on sale soon. The reopening date is set for Sept. 10.