Residents of the North Loop get a new neighborhood hangout with the opening on Wednesday of Dalton & Wade Whiskey Common. The restaurant is tucked back in the alley behind Déjà Vu, on the ground floor of the new T3 building, making it feel like you’ve discovered a secret hideaway, even though it’s right off Washington Avenue.
The restaurant is named after the main characters in the cult classic movie Road House, which starred Patrick Swayze and Sam Elliott as bouncers who save a nightclub in a small Missouri town.
Although Dalton & Wade’s soundtrack emanates from a jukebox heavy on the country, rockabilly, and blues, it’s hard to imagine the characters hanging out here. Still, it's easy to see why residents of the North Loop will flock to the place.
Pick your reason: a bar that boasts over 200 American whiskeys, an elevated comfort menu, and prices so reasonable you’ll do a double take.
Daniel O’Brien, brothers Paul, John, and Corey Abdo, and Sean Geraty, the five friends who own the place, wanted to create a neighborhood gathering spot, and the prices are part of that vision. They want people to be able to come in a couple nights a week, knowing that dinner and a drink, or a few drinks after work, won’t break the bank.
Consulting chef Scott Pampuch (founding owner and chef of Corner Table), who designed the menu, celebrates the Southern tradition of “meat and three,” but broadens that concept to include regional specialties like the North Shore lunch of pan-fried trout. Head chef Eli Renn, formerly of Golden Nugget in Minnetonka, will oversee the kitchen.
For $19, you can choose from salt and pepper mesquite smoked brisket, apple smoked roast chicken, or hickory smoked pork shoulder and pair it with three side dishes. The meats are tender and tasty, but the sides are what really shine. This is comfort food like your grandma never made.
The sides include favorites like potato salad, coleslaw, and creamed corn. There are also light and creamy mashed potatoes, and a mac & cheese that should come with an addictive warning. Don’t pass up the cornbread biscuits with sorghum butter. Sides are $4 each a la carte, and it would be easy to have only sides for dinner.
If you’re looking for a nibble to go with drinks, there are plenty of options, including pimento cheese toast, a smoked bologna sandwich, chicken wings, and smoked brisket burnt end with cornbread croutons.
About those drinks. For those familiar with the North Loop as home of the $15 cocktail, the prices here will be a welcome surprise. None of the bar’s signature cocktails (designed by Chris Massey of Borough, Parlour and Bar la Grassa) cost over $9, including the four varieties of Old Fashioned. The Classic is just that, a bourbon-forward drink featuring hints of cherry and orange. Or try the Full’a Fifth punch for $6; it’s a tasty concoction that is just sweet enough to go down a little too easy. There is also a choice of four Hi-Balls for $8.
The beer list is a high/low mashup, with Budweiser, Miller High Life, and Hamm’s sharing the limelight with craft brews from Surly, Bent Paddle, Bauhaus, and Summit, among others. The wine list is small, but covers all the bases nicely.
Hip and modern meets rustic chic in the comfortable and stylish interior. The 4,000-square-foot space manages to feel warm and relaxed, even though it can seat 130 people.
There are booths to sink into as well as table seating. Even the amply upholstered bar stools with comfortable backs invite you to stay a while. There are some nods to the Western bar theme, like a colorful horse and cowboy mural by local artist Carter Averback near the entrance, and an American flag mural in the dining room. There will be a patio soon, and perhaps most importantly given its location, there is a parking lot behind the building.
Dalton & Wade Whiskey Common
323 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis
For now, hours are 4 p.m. “til late,” Monday-Sunday