The Twin Cities has seen a resurgence of supper club-style dining, albeit with a modern twist, with the recent openings of Mr. Paul's, the Creekside, the Apostle and the Shakopee House.
But 15 years before this new wave of fish fries, grilled chops and relish plates, Kim Bartmann was one the first local restaurateurs to pay homage to the woodsy and wood-paneled restaurant scene she knew intimately from her northern Wisconsin upbringing.
Red Stag Supperclub, Bartmann's modern vision for a supper club, will close Dec. 31 after a 15-year run in northeast Minneapolis.
"Red Stag Supperclub is near and dear to my heart as it was the first place that was an ode to my family, and I'm very proud of its 15-year run," said the restaurateur in a statement.
She called the decision to close "very difficult and heart-wrenching" adding that it "will take some time for me to process."
The statement cites challenges in the restaurant business, including COVID-19, civil unrest after the murder of George Floyd and changes in consumer habits.
"I need to leverage our company's assets to keep on top of these changes and do what I think is best for our employees and our guests," said Bartmann, whose Placemaker Hospitality group owns and operates several Minneapolis restaurants.
Bartmann last week announced the purchase of Amore Uptown, which she intends to replace with another Italian restaurant by early 2023. Her announcement Tuesday said she will try to absorb Red Stag staff into her other businesses.
Red Stag Supperclub opened in 2007, the first LEED-CI certified restaurant in Minnesota. It became known as much for its brunch as its Friday night fish fry.
Reviewing it in the Star Tribune, restaurant critic Rick Nelson awarded it three stars, writing that the restaurant "subtly suggests many of the [supper club] genre's traditions, but makes them relevant for contemporary urban diners," with "the kitchen's coy sense of humor."
"When the place is packed," Nelson wrote, "it's a gas, a rollicking, roll-up-your-sleeves experience."