Minnesota’s Chef of the Year: Daniel del Prado

He bought the former home of the Bachelor Farmer, opened a 200-seat restaurant, and took over the restaurants in Rand Tower Hotel
Daniel del Prado is Minnesota Monthly's chef of 2022
Daniel del Prado is Minnesota Monthly’s chef of 2022

Photo by Kevin Kramer

No chef embodies the energy, the excitement, and the ambition of the Minnesota food scene like chef Daniel del Prado. His 2022 would make your head spin: He bought the former home of the Bachelor Farmer, he opened a new 200-seat restaurant on Lake Minnetonka, and he took over all of the restaurants in Rand Tower Hotel in downtown Minneapolis.

Del Prado says his recent successes have all been part of his plan. “I remember being a kid and wondering why I couldn’t have a bicycle like other kids because I was poor,” del Prado told me. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, del Prado’s American dream is part spontaneous “let’s go to Miami,” part skater/snowboarder dude who started cooking in Vail, Colo., and part romantic who followed his love at the time to Minneapolis.

He became a star cook at Bar La Grassa, helped Isaac Becker open Burch Steak, and went on to create the Linden Hills hot spot Martina, followed by Colita. Then his Rosalia restaurant got him hooked on pizza. In 2021, he opened Cardamom at the Walker Art Center, Josefina in Wayzata, and Sanjusan in the North Loop. This year, he opened Macanda in Wayzata (and the HiFi cocktail bar inside). He has also taken over Bar Rufus, Miaou Miaou, and Blondette—all of them located in Rand Tower Hotel. Downtown Minneapolis has been slow to come back to life after the pandemic, but Rand Tower has been getting busier and busier. And Macanda has been packed, bringing a fresh take on Mexican flavors to the Lake Minnetonka crowd in July.

“I’ve had a busy couple of years,” del Prado laughed. “When the pandemic hit, I think I was prepared for it. It sucked—nobody can really be prepared—but I believe in this country, and I believe in this city, and I knew it was going to come back.”

That optimism is embodied in the $6 million building del Prado and business partner Ryan Burnet just bought in the North Loop. The goal is to bring back the energy of the former Bachelor Farmer, reimagined as an Argentinian steakhouse. The inventive cocktails his group is known for will have a home in a new basement bar.

“When I was on my first date with the woman who’s now my partner, it was at the Bachelor Farmer. I told her what I was going to do in five years, and she thought I was crazy. And I did it, and I did more, too,” he said—a statement that may read as arrogant, but when del Prado said it, it sounded humble and confident.

In Buenos Aires as a poor kid, his mom told him he’d be more prepared in life because of his upbringing. He has escaped violence and poverty and is embracing the future of the Twin Cities. “And it’s still coming back,” he said.