A Place To Gather

Whether a Quick Bite or a Fancy Meal, This Restaurant Serves it up Right

Article by Sue Baldani

Photography by Lucy Hawthorne

Originally published in Edina Lifestyle

Originally Pearson's Edina Restaurant, a landmark at 50th and France on the border of Minneapolis and Edina, the newer and more modern Coalition Restaurant is also making its mark. The name of the restaurant, which has another location in Excelsior, reflects the partnering of many different local food and beverage vendors to create a special dining experience. The term coalition also means a gathering place, which is the goal of its casually sophisticated atmosphere. 

“We're tucked away in a very nice neighborhood that has all kinds of shopping,” says general manager, Kevin Fraley. “It’s also one of the more affluent neighborhoods in Minnesota and it’s been revamped to try to attract a little bit more of a younger generation. So, we have a lot of young families living in the neighborhood now.”

Coalition Restaurant, he says, can be whatever you want it to be. “It’s a good stopping place to have a quick cocktail at the bar and then go back to shopping. You can stop in for a burger, a chicken sandwich or a salad, and a glass of wine or beer. Bring the kids in for a family lunch or dinner. Or, come in and celebrate a special event.” Its Chef, Eli Wollenzien, is known for his passion for cooking diverse and inspired entrees.

“We have wonderful entrees with sea bass, halibut and New York strips, plus a few great pasta dishes,” says Kevin. The eatery does quarterly specials, and one of the most popular dishes, he says, is the Miso Sea Bass with a Wild Mushroom Risotto.

The restaurant also has a very extensive wine list and bourbon selection. “During the winter, we're kind of a warm bourbon bar, whereas in the summer we turn into a light, crisp wine restaurant that also has some amazing tequilas.”

Patrons will be able to enjoy these foods and beverages on its new patio slated to open in early July. It's a covered space with seating for 50 and beautiful landscaping. “We want to create a really special patio,” he says. “There, people won’t be sitting in full sun, plus, since we're not facing the road, they’re not going to hear all the traffic and noise, so it’s more secluded and peaceful. The landscaping just adds to that feeling of serenity. We'll have built-in heaters as well so we can probably use it until mid-October.”

One big change the restaurant has made coming out of COVID is a revamping of its staff. “I've been running restaurants for over 30 years and we’ve brought in a relatively new staff of people who have worked for me and have experience,” says Kevin. “We now have a very professional staff and customers can trust in the service.” 

He adds, “Our bar manager, Ben, has been here since day one, so he knows a lot of people in the neighborhood. Since I've taken over, we haven’t had any turnover so when people come in, they see familiar faces.”

Along with private dining, Coalition also offers a semi-private area in the bright and airy sunroom that can seat 24 people. “We sometimes do cocktail and happy hour events in there,” says Kevin. “We set up hearty appetizers and cocktails and people just mingle. It's a good after-work place to go.”

3808 W. 50th St. | (952) 456-8979 |

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