Peering into Todd Haug's fridge is a bit like going on a mini-stroll through a select liquor store: There are three types of Surly, the beer Haug brews -- some Furious, some Coffee Bender, and some Bitter Brewer. There's a bottle of Flat Earth's seasonal Black Helicopter Coffee Stout, and a Two Brothers brew tucked in there too. There's a bottle of Rogue's Brew 10,000, given to Haug by Surly Owner Omar Ansari, so named because it was the Oregon brewery's ten thousandth batch (By comparison, Surly has brewed 300-some odd batches so far Haug says.) And there's at least four bottles of wine, all on the lighter side: a riesling, a Redcliffe sauvignon blanc, a rosé, and a prosecco (or something such). Haug says he and his wife Linda usually have wine with dinner 2-3 nights a week, otherwise it's beer.
So dude knows his alcohol. Even before coming on board with Ansari at Surly, Haug, who is from Golden Valley, cut his chops brewing for both Summit and Rock Bottom. Linda is from northern Wisconsin.
But then there's the bacon. Lots of bacon. Cajun, raspberry chipotle, and burgundy, all from Fischer Family Farms in Waseca -- some of which has since been frozen, Haug says, only to be replaced by "a big thing of ribs." The buttermilk? That's, you know, for waffles, pancakes, biscuits. Haug and Linda get their eggs from Larry Schultz Organic Farm in Owatonna. The cheese and cured meats drawer is down on the left. The pan on the bottom has veggie lasagna in it.
All this culinary goodness (in addition to the impressive array of beverages) should come as no surprise to people who know Haug. He and Linda own Cafe 28, the cozy bistro in a converted firehouse in Linden Hills near the gingerbread-perfect little intersection that also boasts Clancey's Meats, the Zumbro Cafe, Rice Paper and Wild Rumpus, the cutest dang bookstore in the universe.
One of the best things about owning a restaurant, Haug says, is being able to grab some things here and there -- eggs, say, or chicken breasts -- to take home. Linda does most of the cooking at home, he says, and as indicated by the sauces and salsas stored inside the door, they do not shy away from spice. They stay away from most dairy, Haug says, but keep the sour cream on hand to cut spiciness if needed, say, in a Mexican-inspired dish. One thing they don't have? Cocktails.