Edit ModuleShow Tags

First Look: Cafe Minnesota at the Minnesota History Center

Chef Christian Pieper serves up sustainable food at Café Minnesota.


Published:

short ribs by chris tutolo

Minnesota history now comes served with a meal. As Chippewa artist George Morrison’s Modern Spirit displays at St. Paul’s Minnesota History Center, the museum’s Café Minnesota will feature a menu of locally sourced and inspired dishes.

Café Minnesota’s newly acquired Executive Chef Christian Pieper honed his craft in New England, where he spent 14 years as a chef in Providence and Boston—not to mention sharing an alma mater with Spoon and Stable’s Gavin Kaysen—both attended the New England Culinary Institute.

Pieper’s collaboration with “Sioux chef” Sean Sherman this month features a fusion of pre-colonial cuisine (an uncharted genre on the cusp of national trend-dom) with Pieper’s molecular French cooking: Ojibwe fry bread with northern chokeberries, Leech Lake wild-rice pilaf, and Dragsmith Farm braised rabbit stew are all on the shortlist.

Bon Appétit, the company behind the cafeteria-food revolution at Google (where professional-grade espresso makers and popcorn poppers are the norm) and a number of universities including St. Olaf and Macalester, again rethinks the quick-service menu with light fare that changes weekly and highlights local farms.

The root beer braised short ribs are sure to be crowd-pleasers: tender beef cuts sweetened with a taste of Ely, swapping out red wine for Dorothy’s Root Beer, and paired with a helping of buttery Yukon mashed potatoes to boast Pieper’s penchant for French cuisine.

A hunter and fisherman at heart, Pieper lays out future plans for elk and venison as meat-heavy menu options. Smoked whitefish pâté and chicken-and-wild-rice soup are constant choices as the restaurant’s thematic unveiling continues. Museum exhibits and menus will shift to a Hmong theme come March.

Café Minnesota’s 5 p.m. closing time ousts it from potential dinner plans, but the Capitol Hill location offers a convenient lunch spot for those with offices nearby. While a museum café may not be a typical foodie destination, the standout Swedish food at FIKA, the American Swedish Institute’s much-loved restaurant, has set a bar in town for which other museums can strive. And with Pieper at the helm, the History Center may be well on its way.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Vietnamese Marinated and Caramel Glazed Back Ribs Recipe

Bring the sweet and tangy taste of Asian cooking to your backyard grill

Bourbon, French fries, Pride, and Fried Chicken

Three must-eat dishes for this week

Maybe the city's most underrated restaurant, Heyday tries to figure out tipping

A 15-percent service fee supposedly takes care of tipping—but does it go to the server?
Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

TC Taste answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the TC Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Recent TC Taste Posts

Vietnamese Marinated and Caramel Glazed Back Ribs Recipe

Bring the sweet and tangy taste of Asian cooking to your backyard grill

Bourbon, French fries, Pride, and Fried Chicken

Three must-eat dishes for this week

Maybe the city's most underrated restaurant, Heyday tries to figure out tipping

A 15-percent service fee supposedly takes care of tipping—but does it go to the server?

French fries, chocolate chip cookies, and a new twist on the iced latte

Three Twin Cities treats from the Lynhall, Sandcastle, and Meritage

Linguine in Creamy Basil-Avocado Sauce with Seared Scallops Recipe

The creamy richness of avocados makes for a perfect pasta sauce in this homemade restaurant-quality meal

Bites that guarantee that old summer feeling

Ice cream, coffee, and brandy—just because they make us happy
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Angel Food Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Driscoll's Angel Food Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Napa and Kale Salad with Creamy Cashew Dressing and Sriracha Cashews Recipe

Whether you want to fit back into last summer’s shorts or are looking for a healthy salad idea, toss up this easy recipe that mixes in filling nuts with antioxidant-rich kale and a kick of spice

The Near-Death Experience of the Owner of Jake O'Connor's and McKinney Roe

From trouble golfing in Ireland to emergency heart surgery, Dermot Cowley is alive and recovering—but plans for a new restaurant are now on hold

Rum and Molasses Marinated Beef Kebabs with Grilled Cantaloupe Recipe

Get fired up for a taste of the tropics in sizzling grilled kebabs

4 Restaurants, Nearly $850,000 in Park Board Money

How much do Sea Salt, Sandcastle, Tin Fish, and Bread & Pickle make for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board?

Consider the Humble Raspberry

Consider the Humble Raspberry
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Fancy Fresh: 3 Things to Eat This Week

A morel tasting menu, a trendy foie gras egg creation, a worthy cinnamon roll—for your long-weekend staycation

Fried Avocado Tacos with Shredded Vegetables and Crema Recipe

Never thought of frying avocados? Once you try it, you might want to eat them all the time.

The Minnesota Connection to the Mondavi Wine Family

MNMO food critic Jason DeRusha sits down with Carlo Mondavi to talk wine and the (Italian by way of Minnesota) family legacy
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags