The events of 2020 proved too much for the best-laid schemes of many businesses. Minneapolis mourned the loss of several good restaurants because of them. One of these casualties was Butcher & the Boar, whose steaks, sausages and bourbon, delicious though they were, could not summon patrons in a shuttered town.
Yet the passion for meat and liquor never falters. Not long after Butcher & the Boar joined the choir invisible, Kaskaid Hospitality bought its location and set about getting the old band back together. First they welcomed back Chad Waldon, the original general manager. Peter Botcher, the butcher and head chef, quit his new job in the Bahamas and returned to Mill City soon after.
The front and the back of the house thus reunited, The Butcher’s Tale could begin.
“I’ve worked in the Minneapolis high-end restaurant scene for 25 years,” said Chad. “I never once had to close a business before 2020, which made the grand opening of The Butcher’s Tale feel like a return to unfinished business. But our team also saw this new restaurant as an opportunity to show our evolution – and to show off just how much we can do.
“The Butcher’s Tale is a phoenix of sorts, so it’s fitting that we expanded the role of smoke in our menu. We replaced the old smoker downstairs with a giant double smoker, which gives us the capacity to smoke just about everything: trout, salmon, fruit, our hand-selected beef long ribs, and even the blue cheese for the olives in our dirty martinis.
“Our sausages are still one of our star attractions. We used to outsource their production, but our new sausage stuffing machines now let us take care of such an important part of our menu in-house. Peter is making Creole-style wild boar chaurice from scratch every day, as well as jalapeño beef links in fresh, natural casings.
“We don’t consider sausages an excuse to serve subpar meat. We exclusively grind the highest-quality cuts to make them, which we source locally as often as we’re able.
“That same spirit goes into every cut of meat we serve. We have local farms to provide us with heritage pork like Duroc. It’s precisely what we need to serve our double cut smoked Duroc pork chop, which is brined and smoked and grilled to order and topped with honey goat cheese, blueberry compote and maple sherry gastrique. It is the pork chop of life.
“A nearby ranch raises much of our authentic Wagyu beef. We age these steaks anywhere between 30 to 40 days – or however long Peter believes they need – and list which cuts have been perfectly seasoned on a large blackboard in our main dining room. The board changes daily, so you always have a good reason to visit.
“Our previous incarnation’s menu was very meat-heavy. You couldn’t argue that our new menu isn’t the same, but we have also expanded to offer more seafood with our grilled ahi tuna, grilled Verlasso salmon and pan seared scallops. We have even added a couple of vegan items. Are our vegan spare ribs just as good as the real thing? Well, that depends entirely on who you ask, but they are hardly a compromise when you come to dine with a conscience!
“We revitalized our bar program as well, which now offers dozens of different wines and beer by the glass as well as an inspired selection of craft cocktails. Our old-fashioned, which is mixed with Knob Creek 120 proof single barrel bourbon, house bitters, demerara syrup and orange peel is our breakout hit. We’re pouring about 1,000 glasses every month.
“Our 10,000 square foot dining room is the perfect place to hole up in on a winter night. It has that classic steakhouse vibe with rich wooden paneling and butcher block tables. But we’re keeping our award-winning patio and beer garden covered and cozy during the winter as well. They are consistently ranked among the best spots for happy hour in our region.
“I have always had a carnal love of meat. The Butcher's Tale is paradise for anyone else like me, but it’s truly a fine dining experience for all.”
The Butcher’s Tale is located at 1121 Hennepin Avenue in Downtown Minneapolis. You may learn more about them and see their full menu at butcherstale.com, or ask their host what’s cooking by calling (612) 236-4075.