I visited Wise Acre the first week it was open—I couldn’t help myself. You see, I was a diehard fan of the former occupant, Liberty Custard, and, like everyone in south Minneapolis, I have often walked through Tangletown Gardens, located next door, feeling a mix of awe and acquisitiveness. So, when Tangletown owners Scott Endres and Dean Engelmann took over the old Liberty space to showcase the edible products of their 100-some-acre farm near Plato, I had to drop in for a too-early taste.
What’s it like? Well, I swooned—over the decorating. When I’m king of the world, Tangletown will decorate my palace. The combination they have wrought here—dark, weathered wood; abundant plants tucked into wall-mounted screens; the underlying robin’s-egg blue of the World War II-era porcelain enamel metal—is amazing. So chic you feel you’re in some swanky photo shoot, set up just for you.
The wine and beer list is also a joy, much of it biodynamic or organic, and all of it good. If they still have the sleekly elegant Calera Vin Gris rosé on offer, try it: it’s one of California’s greatest rosés, full of flowery fragrance.
And the food? Promising. I really liked the dill-pickle fried chicken, a very home-on-the-farm version of good chicken, served lightly seasoned. The burger is also praiseworthy: fresh-tasting meat, a gracefully light bun, and excellent homemade fries, all crisp and as brown as maple syrup.
However, much of what Wise Acre was serving opening week tasted more healthy than delightful. The wild-rice-and-ramp pudding was an under-seasoned crumble of crunchy, virtuous grain. A salad was a similar story: healthy, crunchy, and all but undressed. But then, there was what may well be the best frozen custard in the history of Minnesota, made with Castle Rock Dairy milk, Ames honey, and eggs from Tangletown’s free-range chickens. The vanilla custard had a gorgeous biscuit-y edge and fresh vanilla flavor. Paired with the homemade rhubarb-caramel sauce, it was unbelievable, spectacular, terrific! When I’m king of the world, and my palace is Tangletown-decorated, everyone will get a bowl. Wise Acre, 5401 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls., 612-354-2577, wiseacreeatery.com