Fresh from the farm

Tangletown Gardens’ owners opening new restaurant Wise Acre Eatery

When Tangletown Gardens’ owners Scott Endres and Dean Engelmann promote their new restaurant Wise Acre Eatery as “farm-to-table,” they mean it in the truest sense.

Just about everything featured on the menu will come from the garden center’s 40-acre farm in Plato, Minn., a tiny town an hour west of the Twin Cities where they raise Scottish Highland Cattle, chickens and Berkshire pigs. Besides the farm animals, the farm is home to greenhouses for Tangletown Gardens’ vast array of plants.

Wise Acre Eatery, set to open in mid-May across the street from the garden center at 54th & Nicollet, is housed in the former Liberty Frozen Custard space. Just like Tangletown Gardens’ home, the building originally housed a gas station — a classic 1950s Standard Oil station.

“It’s the ultimate farm-to-table eating experience,” Endres said. “We will be the folks sowing the seeds, nurturing plants, and tending the animals in the morning, then delivering the harvest to our restaurant’s kitchen and market in the afternoon — it just doesn’t get any more local than that.”

Chefs Beth Fisher and Caroline Glawe, alumni of Lucia’s, will lead the restaurant. They are behind TWO Food Wine Design — a culinary consulting service.

The menu will focus on “casual good food,” Fisher said. Highlights include burgers from the farm’s grass-fed cattle, hand cut fries, salads with greens and herbs from Plato and frozen custard to pay tribute to the memory of Liberty Frozen Custard’s specialty. Diners can choose table service or order from a walk-up counter.

Of course, Wise Acre Eatery will feature many plants from Tangletown Gardens, which carries  more than 3,000 varieties of perennials, all kinds of annuals, vegetable plants and trees.

Engelmann and Endres both have farming roots and remain committed to carrying on the traditions of their families.

“We farm today in much the same way as the farms we grew up on,” Engelmann said. “Where every acre was nourished and cared for in a way that was good for that year’s crops, but more importantly for the future crops that had not yet been planted.”

Tangletown Gardens’ market and CSA program will move to the new restaurant space, too.

Engelmann said the restaurant is a natural fit for the business owners. “For us, it’s the progressive next step as our business endeavors have evolved over the years.”

Endres and Engelmann have strived to make the Plato farm carbon neutral and the restaurant a zero-waste facility. Wise Acre Eatery’s to-go items will be packaged in biodegradable, compostable packages. Food waste will be brought to the farm and composted or fed to the animals.

“Like our farming philosophy, we plan to make our food as it was made long ago — when everyone ate organic, free range, locally grown food that wasn’t fussy or high-end,” Endres said. “It was just good food from scratch, every day. We want to bring our guests back to this old standard of cooking using the season’s best from our farm.”

Follow Sarah McKenzie on 
Twitter @smckenzie21.