Kim Bartmann ventures dominate national list of 100 restaurants serving 'good food'

Kim Bartmann kicks back inside her Tiny Diner in south Minneapolis.

Kim Bartmann kicks back inside her Tiny Diner in south Minneapolis. Renee Jones Schneider / Star Tribune

According to Good Food Network’s just-released Good Food 100 List, Kim Bartmann and her conscious-dining empire won big. 

The owner of the Red Stag, Tiny Diner, Book Club, etc. received a nod for all eight of her establishments. Moreover, Good Food Network bestowed each with the highest rating possible. 

With the help of a little “fancy math,” it’s possible to read these accolades as proof that Bartmann is... responsible for 8 percent of the “best” dining in the nation?

That’s not quite an honest assessment of the world, of course, but it is one (neat) way to look at the restaurateur’s choices and legacy. Recognition on such an across-the-board scale came down to the fact that Bartmann and her team have long prioritized sustainable practices in dining. Local and organic sourcing is a well-known aspect of her business strategy, but more than that, she takes a holistic approach to these operations by investing in LEED-certified buildings and offering benefits to her employees in an industry where doing so is a rarity.

“If we’re going to be in the restaurant and events space, we’ve got to be sure we are giving people, planet, and profit all equal standing in our model,” says Bartmann, adding, “we are committed to work to improve on what we’re already doing in that regard, all while making sure we are having fun and serving great food.”

So, it’s more like the people at Good Food Network see what Bartmann’s been up to, and honored those efforts accordingly.

The national nonprofit assesses restaurants based not only on the quality of the food they’re serving, but on how much of their purchasing power is used in service of buying “good food.” This means an establishment must choose locally-sourced, environmentally-conscious ingredients, and work with suppliers whose ethics are similarly-minded. Following through on each of these details earns a restaurant a “link” (Good Food Network’s equivalent of rating “stars”). 

Each of Bartmann’s restaurants received six links, which should lend diners an extra level of security knowing that when they sit down for, say, brunch at The Bird, every detail they experience serves another end that’s, well, worth it.  

(If we’re splitting hairs, Trapeze, the little bubble bar and party space next door to Barbette that's only open Thursday through Sundays, didn’t receive a nod from Good Food Network, but its existence as a standalone joint remains debatable even within Bartmann Group literature.)

Want to check out the full roster of restaurants serving “good food” in this morally complicated day and age? Scroll the Good Food Network’s full list here, where you’ll find two other six-link-rated Minneapolis restaurants, including Anna Christoforides’ Gardens of Salonica and Tracy Singleton’s Birchwood Cafe, plus a lone five-linker (Danny Schwartzman’s Common Roots).