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Bulldog N.E. Kitchen Expansion Includes Bun Bakery

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"We grind our own meat -- why wouldn't we bake our own buns? It's kind of like if we were baking buns but then buying frozen meat patties."

Bulldog N.E. chef Kevin Kraus cringes at the very thought, but his tiny basement kitchen space just wouldn't allow for in-house baking -- until now.

See also: 100 Favorite Dishes: Bulldog N.E. tater tots

An additional 1,500 square feet will allow the culinary team the room to dream, something they've been aiming for all along. "The driver of this restaurant is the burgers," says Kraus (they sell about a thousand in an average week). "But it's always had a from-scratch, gourmet perspective."

Kraus came up the culinary ranks with Landon Schoenefeld of Haute Dish (Schoenefeld was executive chef when the restaurant opened, and Kraus was his sous) and he's anxious to spread his own wings creatively.

Kraus wants each burger to have its own signature bun, but they're rolling out the program slowly, as they tweak each individual recipe. Look for the full roster by spring.

Chef Kevin Kraus shows off a tray of scratch burger buns

Chef Kevin Kraus shows off a tray of scratch burger buns

In addition to the bakery, Bulldog N.E. is adding fresh-squeezed juices, house-made bar syrups, and even handmade butter for their cupcake frosting. They'll roast hams and turkeys in-house and even make a signature ketchup and mustard.

But the expansion represents something even more exciting for Kraus -- a sister restaurant, one that doesn't include burgers. The Bulldog kitchen will act as a commissary for something that he's thinking will have a diner feel "but get away from the red, paper-lined baskets and pickle spears."

Owner Amy Rowland is scouting spaces in south Minneapolis for this new venture, but nothing is final yet.

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