The coronavirus pandemic has blurred the line between home and pretty much everywhere else, with virtual work, school, fitness and entertainment. But now that it’s becoming safer to leave home, Borough – a hyper-seasonal, contemporary American restaurant in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood – is taking that trend to the real world with a venue called The Apartment at Borough.
With jars of dried pasta on the counter, gauzy curtains and woven rugs, The Apartment definitely isn’t a sterile commercial space, but with a dining room that seats 22, it’s not your typical loft either. It was actually conceived pre-pandemic, as a way to better utilize the studio apartment above the restaurant.
“There’s something fun and unique about turning an apartment into a private dining option,” said Brent Frederick, owner of Jester Concepts, the company that owns and operates Borough. “In Minnesota, that’s not been done [before] in the way we have.”
The team completely gutted the apartment and rebuilt it as an event space with a dining room and chef’s kitchen, although capacity is currently capped at 12 due to pandemic restrictions. “It’s a flexible space. You can have a big corporate sit down party or you can come with three or four friends and learn to make pasta,” explained Frederick.
Characteristically for the North Loop neighborhood, the building that houses the Apartment is a repurposed industrial building. The renovation preserved some of the space’s rough hewn vibe, incorporating the original brick and concrete. “It feels industrial and it also feels like a private space,” he said.
The Apartment opened in March 2021 and has already hosted private corporate events. Going forward, Frederick hopes to attract special occasion celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries. “It’s for anyone who wants a private gathering with the experience and offerings of a restaurant.”
The current menu includes five and eight course tasting menus prepared in the Apartment’s kitchen, as well as a customizable four course menu featuring dishes like brussels sprouts with harissa vinaigrette and a bavette steak served with parsnips and a mushroom crêpe.
As pandemic restrictions ease, the Apartment will offer ticketed events like cooking classes and educational dinners. For instance, Frederick imagines an evening structured around the old fashioned cocktail, with food pairings and a discussion of the drink’s history and evolution.
“Unique experiences are something that’s going to stick around,” he said. “We’re excited to share The Apartment with the public and to get more people in.”
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