About Us

Dakota HistoryNoteworthy Food & Music

Established in 1985, the Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant opened in St. Paul and has since moved to downtown Minneapolis. We are proud of our history as a part of the Twin Cities community. Read a little about it below!

Over the last nearly three decades the Dakota has taken new approaches to evolve our music styles, outreach, audience and approach to fine dining.

Opened in October of 1985 by Lowell Pickett, the Dakota was originally located in St. Paul’s Bandana Square.  Some years later with the intention to expand, Lowell partnered with current co-owner Richard Erickson and traveled across the river to Minneapolis’ Nicollet Mall. Currently located at Target world headquarters, the Dakota has blossomed in its new home as a premier music venue in the Midwest.

Over the years we have housed acclaimed chefs, shelved exotic spirits and hosted the best and most talented musicians of the century: from Prince, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Ramsey Lewis and Betty LaVette to Larry Graham and Dave Brubeck.  Among the best musicians from both a local, national and international perspective, artists often request to play at the Dakota and it has become a bench mark location for many artists in terms of their musical success.

As we’ve grown, our resources have allowed us to expand our philanthropic efforts. The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education provides resources for Minnesota’s youth to learn jazz from a traditional perspective. We believe strongly in the preservation of jazz as an immense piece of American tradition. By giving our youth the inspiration of great musicians, we allow them a foundation from which to form their own music and maybe, just maybe create a completely new genre and style of music. Appreciation and mastery of musical arts is what the Dakota has promoted in every way possible for nearly 30 years.


Dakota Opens in St. Paul – 1985

Citypages: October 7, 1985 “Just some of the titillating crowd that heard about the free food and wine and the Dakota opening.” There were only smiles, food, and drinks on the night of October 7, 1985… Click here to view article.

It’s a Fest Fest…

Star Tribune: October 6, 1986 Brazilian born pianist Manfredo Fest wows the crowd, bringing Latin rhythms and music to the Dakota. Click here to view article.

Carnival in Rio…

Star Tribune: December 7, 1986 The Dakota celebrates Rio’s CD release, for a great night of fun, drinks, and music. Click here to view article.

Popularity of Jazz Grows

Star Tribune: February 15, 1987 “Jazz is more popular in the Twin Cities than ever before.” The Dakota revives a Jazz Era in the Twin Cities. Click here to view article.

Dakota’s European Flavor

Star Tribune: January 31, 1988 “Local ingredients prepared with European techniques.” The Dakota brings international flavors from different nations in Europe. Click here to view article.

Kamanari Band Bubbles

Star Tribune: April 21, 1988 “A must-hear experience” The Kamanari Band gives The Dakota a revolutionary Japanese sound from the 50’s and 60’s. Click here to view article.

Fancied By Visiting Foodie…

Star Tribune: December 11, 1988 Paula Wolfort hails the Dakota as “simply delicious.” Worldclass foodie comes to the Dakota to give a riveting review.  Click here to view article.

1988 Year in Review

Pioneer Press: January 1, 1989 Highlights of the Dakota this last year! Succeeding yet another year of great jazz and food. Click here to view article.

Bobby Watson Returns…

Pioneer Press: January 31, 1989 Minneapolis native Bobby Watson returns to play at the Dakota. His impressive performance of the postbop sound makes the audience wanting more. Click here to view article.