Remember the Big 10?
The Stadium Village collegiate sports bar was a sub sandwiches/chicken wings fixture for more than 50 years when it closed in 2016 to make way for a high-rise apartment building.
Owners Todd DuPont and Tom Hutsell also operated an outlet on Mainstreet in downtown Hopkins, which they shuttered in early May after a 21-year run.
Not that they’re going anywhere. Teaming up with their landlord and working with consultants, they gutted and rebuilt the place (pictured, above), then signed on Beth Fisher and Caroline Glawe, the gifted couple (Fisher cooks, Glawe is the beverage smarts) that ran the Wise Acre Eatery in south Minneapolis during its first five years.
The casual, 160-seat restaurant and bar has been christened Thirty Bales. The name is a nod to Paul Bunyan sidekick Babe the Blue Ox; specifically, the bovine’s daily hay bale intake.
“It’s absolutely not the Big 10,” said DuPont. “We’re concentrating on the spirit of the Midwest. We’re not calling ourselves ‘farm-to-table,’ but we’ll be sourcing regionally as much as we can on a seasonal basis, at a really affordable price point.”
Menu items include deep-fried deviled eggs, a wedge salad with a tomato-shallot dressing, a braised pork sandwich with pickled cranberries, alfalfa hay-roasted chicken, maple-glazed salmon and a seasonal fruit crisp. Chef Adam Price will be producing Fisher’s menus on a day-to-day basis, serving at lunch, dinner and late-night.
“Lord knows we’ve never had a chef before,” said Hutsell with a laugh. “I can make a really good sub. That’s it.”
Glawe has created a full line of craft cocktails and mocktails, and has selected an All-American wine list. The doors should open by the end of the month.
As for a Stadium Village resurrection of the Big 10, “Never say never,” said DuPont. “The economics on campus are very difficult right now, because light rail has pushed rent to almost unbelievable amounts. We’re looking at a few different avenues to give the public the subs and wings that they want, just not as a full-scale restaurant and bar.”