The Northwoods Go Green

The AP files a thoughtful and detailed story about a “green” supper club—three words you rarely hear in immediate proximity—that’s rocking the Minneapolis-St. Paul restaurant scene.

The Red Stag is the brainchild of Kim Bartmann, whose Barbette and Bryant Lake Bowl eateries pack a similar amount of fun and quality, if in a less environmentally sensitive manner.

The beauty of the Red Stag is not merely that it’s an environmental poster child; it’s that Bartmann is pitching it as a business decision, not some heartwarming moral stand that will eventually drive her into bankruptcy.

Bartmann is hoping the certification, known as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), is good not just for the environment but also for her bottom line. Achieving the energy and water efficiencies cost more up front, but Bartmann said she’ll recoup that quickly in lower monthly costs.

And she said she saved so much elsewhere by using salvage materials that her startup costs were about half the typical $1 million for a restaurant of similar size.

How’s the food? I’d describe my favorite dish for you, but the chef does it more eloquently:

‘I’m doing a venison stroganoff,’ [Bill] Baskin said. ‘We take a rare seared pile of venison from Wisconsin, we put that over some house-made sour cream egg noodles. But instead of that old grey gravy, we add dehydrated yellow tomatoes, crimini mushrooms, watercress and freeze-dried garlic. It’s souped up a little bit, but it’s still stroganoff all the way.’

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