If summer is meant for relaxing, chef and restaurateur Daniel del Prado didn't get the memo.
Fresh off the heels of opening Macanda in Wayzata and the restaurants in the Rand Tower in downtown Minneapolis, del Prado announced Friday that he and business partner Ryan Burnet have bought the Bachelor Farmer space and will turn it into a modern steakhouse.
"I am aware of Bachelor Farmer and Marvel, what they represent for our community and also for the industry," said del Prado. "So we're going to put everything we have and we're going to take our time to do it."
The unnamed restaurant at 50 2nd Av. N. in Minneapolis, which will absorb the Bachelor Farmer Cafe space, will have an Argentinean-Patagonian influence inspired by del Prado's background. The Marvel Bar space will become a cocktail bar that will "stay true" to the beverage programs at del Prado's other restaurants, where Megan Luedtke is the visionary. Plan for a summer 2023 opening for both.
Both del Prado and Burnet have lengthy résumés. Del Prado is behind Martina, Colita, Josefina, Rosalia, Cardamom and Macanda; Burnet at Bar La Grassa, Barrio and Northside Boxing. The two met after opening Isaac Becker's Bar La Grassa and Burch (Becker is a mentor of del Prado's) and remained friends. This restaurant is the pair's first business venture together.
The return of popovers?
Eric and Andrew Dayton opened the acclaimed Bachelor Farmer in 2011; it became one of the first high-profile closings of the pandemic, shuttering in April 2020.
Del Prado declined to share the purchase price, but a real estate listing from July 2020 lists the 16,240-square-foot building for sale at $5.75 million.
The plan is to remake the interior to match the styles of del Prado's other restaurants. "I like open spaces, so people get fed from the energy of the restaurant," del Prado told the Star Tribune. "It'll be a little more loud than what the Bachelor Farmer was." And, he plans to extend dining onto the underused patio.
But some recognizable elements of the building will remain, "like in the bathroom, all the notes from people, remember that?" del Prado said. "We can't move that because we'd have a riot."
At least one iconic dish, the popovers many guests began their meals with, might return. The rest of the menu will be radically different, with several choices of cuts and preparations of steaks, and most dishes cooked on a woodfire grill. While "meat is a huge thing in Argentina," del Prado says vegetables and fruit will get the grilling treatment as well.
Optimistic about Minneapolis
Del Prado has opened more than a half-dozen restaurants since the pandemic began, all under the DDP Restaurant Group, but with different partners and financial backing. "They're all self-sustaining," he said. "I don't like to mix up things."
The latest announcement makes him one of the most, if not the most, prolific restaurateurs in the Twin Cities.
"Good, I like that," he said. "I don't know if I'm the most, but I've been growing and I'm happy about it. I'm proud of everything we do."
And, having two hit restaurants prior to the pandemic, Martina and Colita, he was especially primed to take advantage of opportunities that came along during a difficult period for the hospitality industry.
"Part of the reason I do so much is everybody was scared the last two years. Scared to invest or open up things. So because the demand wasn't there, the offers, the deals were better deals for me. I believe things get bad, but they get good again," he said.
That optimism comes from his upbringing, he added.
"If you knew the neighborhood where I grew up — we didn't have any money to pay rent. We would get, not coupons, but food donated to us. So I can only be positive and hopeful."
Del Prado is equally hopeful about downtown Minneapolis' future. This will be the fifth restaurant he opens in the area in two years. "There was so much investment in the last 10 years in downtown, that it's not going anywhere," he said.
Still, the former Bachelor Farmer space is more than just a downtown restaurant. It holds sentimental value to del Prado — he and his partner had their first date there and would return every anniversary — and was an institution he vows to honor.
"For all the people who were obsessed with the Bachelor Farmer, I was one of them," he said. "I promise I'm going to try my best to make you proud."