Omni Viking Lakes Hotel has a reputation for luxury. I sat down with Brent Glashan, General Manager, to learn more about what exactly makes Omni Viking Lakes luxurious and how that taste of luxury is made evident in Kyndred Hearth and the other dining options at the hotel.
What is Omni Viking Lakes Hotel?
Omni Viking Lakes is a luxury hotel. According to Brent, the main difference between a luxury hotel and a traditional hotel is the staff. "If people want a bed and a shower and that's all they care about, that's not what we are. Everything is here for you. For 24 hours a day, people are ready to take care of your needs," Brent says. "We genuinely want our guests to come back."
In addition to their emphasis on customer-first service, Omni Viking Lakes is set apart from traditional hotels by their outdoor campus, which includes ponds and walking trails.
What is Kyndred Hearth?
"We're a very food-forward company," says Brent. "We like to keep it higher quality than expected from a hotel brand." Kyndred Hearth, one of the restaurants in Omni Viking Lakes, is one example of that.
Ann Kim has been the chef at Kyndred Hearth since its opening in 2020. She is also chef and owner of Pizzeria Lola, Hello Pizza, Young Joni, and Sooki & Mimi. In 2019, she won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Midwest.
"She brought her unique take on our food and elevated it to the level we wanted," says Brent. "Everything's handmade, everything's fresh from scratch. She fuses little touches of her Korean background with classic American dishes."
As for recommendations, Brent says, "The Tavern pizza is hard to beat. The Tavern is a pepperoni pizza with cheese, jalapenos, and a honey drizzle to finish it off and give it a little bit of sweet. It's simple, just three or four toppings, but executed perfectly. I'm a huge fan of the Bolognese as well."
Kyndred Hearth has become one of the most talked-about features of Omni Viking Lakes. "We've really been embraced by the community here in Eagan and the surrounding communities," says Brent. "I would say 70-80% of our guests are locals that come back."
Where else can people get a bite to eat in the hotel?
The hotel offers four dining options: Kyndred Hearth, Ember & Ice, Keras Bar, and Ten Drops. Brent describes Ember & Ice as an "upscale sports bar." Brent describes the food at Ember & Ice as a little more casual than Kyndred Hearth, although the setting remains lavish with fireplaces, TVs, and outdoor firepits. "It's sports bar food executed on a higher level than you would normally find, still with that relaxing lounge type of feel."
Keras Bar is "the classic people-watching, sit-and-have-a-drink experience," says Brent. "We have a nice vibe in the lobby." Keras serves wine by the glass, local beers on tap, cocktails, and small plates.
Brent describes Ten Drops as "a market which has to-go egg sandwiches, salads, paninis, and coffee." Opening at 6:30am, Ten Drops is designed for travelers to snag a coffee or to-go item on the way to their next adventure.
Food from all restaurants in the hotel can be delivered to your room.
"The best part about having high-quality dining options in the hotel is that it allows people to stay in," says Brent. "When you travel, you end up being forced to eat in the hotel you're staying in because you don't know where to go, you don't know if it's safe if you're downtown, or you might be in a rush because you're trying to get to bed. That's our advantage. You don't feel stuck in the hotel, you don't feel like you have to have the classic BLT with fries. Here, your options are awesome. You're excited to get here and try the food. Part of the reason guests choose us is for the restaurant, not the other way around."
How are you involved with the Eagan community?
Omni Viking Lakes is active in the community in terms of charity and philanthropy projects. "Recently, we did an event called Over the Edge with the Salvation Army," says Brent. "People got on our roof and rappelled down the side of the building to raise money." The event raised funds for the homeless in Minnesota.
Other community-based activities include donating sweets or food and reducing costs for organizations hosting fundraising events in the hotel.
The restaurants—Kyndred Hearth, Ember & Ice, Keras Bar, and Ten Drops—are open to the public in addition to hotel guests. According to Brent, it's popular for people to come to Kyndred Hearth and the other restaurants just for the food, without ever checking into a room. Omni Viking Lakes is happy to have them.
"It keeps growing here," says Brent. "We're proud to be in this community."