Surdyk's Flights' CEO talks tethered knives, celebs and Opus One

The wall of wine greets you.

The wall of wine greets you.

Taylor Surdyk is the busy great-grandson of the guy who started the family's eponymous store in NE Minneapolis. He's also the CEO and mixologist of Surdyk's Flights, which opened on July 24 in the MSP airport. It's a wine store and bar that serves light, fresh fare for both dine-in and in-flight enjoyment. Located in the Main Terminal just beyond security, the shop carries over 100 varieties of wine and gourmet foods, while the bar offers wine flights, premium beers, and cocktails, plus breakfast and small plates. According to Surdyk, the adjustment to an airport shop has been challenging but successful.

And more importantly, the staff has seen some celebs and sold some expensive bottles. Read on to get the goods on Surdyk's Flights' first three months.

[jump] Having a restaurant at the airport has been a logistical feat. Surdyk told us how it can take hours for items to get to the shop, even after they get onto airport property. "If we run out of product, I can't just walk in with another case of wine," he expained to us. "And our chefs had to get used to having their knives tethered down." All the heavy cutlery is literally locked down to the tables, per airport regulations.


And the crowd has been a little different from the NE store's clientele. Surdyk says he and the staff meet tons of out-of-state folks who seem to love the tasty cuisine designed by Mary Richter from Surdyk's Cheese Stop. Who exactly has stopped in? Comedian Pauly Shore has been in three times. Still unimpressed? Well, Michael Keaton and Ted Danson are just a few of the bigger celebs who have broken bread at the bar.

The wine shop side attracts businessmen looking for that perfect gift for their boss, partners, or themselves, to enjoy on their travels. As a result, the airport location is selling quite a few bottles of the upscale stuff. Specifically, they've sold a lot more Opus One than he ever imagined--all one bottle at a time.

The whites and bubbly get chilled.

The whites and bubbly get chilled.

Overall, Surdyk told us he's really happy with the success of the venture. They've got a slew of repeat patrons and some celebrity regulars, and they're selling a fair amount of Opus One. But he wants to make sure everyone knows they also cater to those on a budget. "Our prices are the same as at the store--very reasonable," he told us. Plus, the bottles of wine are sold at retail, not restaurant price, and there are presently about 180 to choose from. From the Hot Dish's perspective, the only downside is that you need a boarding pass to get in.

Surdyk's Flights

MSP Airport Mall, Terminal 1