Revolutionary Marx

A jewel-bright cheapie of a can-do bistro

Nice job, too, on getting the good people of Stillwater to line up out the door every night--at least that's been the situation every time I've been there.

Things weren't always so happy for chef and owner Mark Hansen, who spent the past seven years drowning in a restaurant that no one loved at all, a few blocks away from Marx, up in the Stillwater hills. It was named, forgettably, the Harvest Inn, and you have had since 1995 to go there. I remember it mostly as a great place for very expensive Caribbean food and some very expensive wines. Hansen finally sold the place this past January, which allowed him to open Marx three months ago. He says everything he's doing in Marx now comes from those quiet years at the Harvest, where he had many, many long nights to think, thanks to an empty dining room. Essentially, says Hansen, Marx is exactly the opposite of the Harvest: cheap instead of expensive, main street instead of side street, and colorful and casual instead of formal and elegant. He named his place Marx because he didn't want to be tied to one cuisine (say, solely Italian) and wanted it to reflect his name: i.e., Mark's Marx, just as Northeast's Jax was once owned by a guy named Jack. (Was wax once owned by a guy named Wack? Please advise.)

Yet, even with all that brainstorming, Hansen didn't foresee the effect that his restaurant's name would have on Stillwater's more witch-hunt-oriented residents: "I've had people calling me up and accusing me of having a communist restaurant, because they figure it has something to do with Karl Marx," he says. "And then, because of the oversize X on the sign outside, a lot of people are convinced there's something pornographic going on in here, so they yell, too."

A way with the sauce: Marx already boasts long waits and a loyal following
Richard Fleischman
A way with the sauce: Marx already boasts long waits and a loyal following

Location Info


Marx Fusion Bistro

241 S. Main St. S.
Stillwater, MN 55082

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Northeast Minneapolis

Oh well. I say critical darling, you say pinko porn nest. And just when I thought somebody had finally figured out how to make all the people happy, all the time.

« Previous Page