Siblings join forces at Lake & Irving

The new chef-driven eatery fuses high and low brow to great effect

"In the next phase of the restaurant, I'm planning to really build up the vermouth list," says Blue, who also alluded to an upcoming distillers dinner the restaurant will host in February with a Chicago spirit-maker. Stay tuned for details on that one, because based on what we drank and tasted — like the horseradish and jalapeno oil Bloody Mary with a brown sugar and salty Hawaiian sour plum powder coating on the rim — a distillers dinner sounds very promising.

For Blue and both the Ikeda brothers, keeping price points reasonable was of the utmost importance. "We started costing out food and liquor and everything probably six to eight months before the restaurant even opened," says Chris. "Accessibility and approachability is really key. We want a customer to be able to come here once or twice a week and not feel like they're burning through their paycheck."

That explains the addition of the $7.50 "D.C. Style" half-smoke, a beef chuck chili dog inspired by the classic from Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington, D.C., where their eldest brother lives. "We actually had him send us some frozen ones," says Chris with a laugh. "We took them apart and tried a bunch of different things to re-create it." Eventually they brought their ultra-specific secret hot dog mission to Husnik Meat Company in South St. Paul, which custom-made them a truly fantastic 50/50 pork and beef blend dog. It's tucked into a split top, lobster roll-style bun and topped with a rich, almost cinnamon-y shredded chuck chili. It's undeniably delicious.

Lake & Irving's crispy chicken and waffles, served with a not-too-sweet seasonal beer syrup
Katie E. Holm for City Pages
Lake & Irving's crispy chicken and waffles, served with a not-too-sweet seasonal beer syrup


1513 W. Lake St., Minneapolis
Small plates $3-$12; Entrees $8-$21

So for all its global influence, Lake & Irving is really an American restaurant with great classic cocktails, and for all their top-tier training and sizable talent, the Ikeda brothers remain humble. "We're laid-back people, we're not flashy. The restaurant isn't flashy, it isn't stuffy. Is it for everybody? Probably not. But we will always stay true to who we are."

Seems to be working well so far.

Don't forget to check out all the photos from Lake & Irving...

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