Kitchen World Class Cuisine
The Dakota proudly supports locally owned, sustainably operated farms. Our meat is all natural, no added hormones or antibiotics. We source our seafood from responsible and well-managed operators. Our coffee is organic certified, shade grown and fair trade–purchased by the roaster from small-farmer cooperatives.
The Dakota stands out as one of the few music venues in the US that boasts both musical and culinary talent with a creative, adventurous and exceptional dining experience. Guests may come for the music, but they’ll be back for the food once they’ve tried the culinary jewels envisioned and crafted by Dakota chef, Derik Moran and team. Co-owner Lowell Pickett says, “I think this food is incredible… it is some of the best food in the country.”
Chef Derik Moran leads with skill and confidence, backed by Sous Chef Shawn Neal, and Pastry Chef Katie Elsing. Each night flows like a theater call – with the performances happening both on stage, and also revolving around it. The Chef’s educate our service staff at regular tasting sessions that involve learning about our rotating seasonal menu items, and provide specialized notes and explanations of each item prior to a menu change. The servers then become skilled guides, able to make the evening more enjoyable by helping guests navigate the Dakota experience – a duet of great food and extraordinary music. This knowledge can best be taken advantage of by guests who arrive an hour prior to show time for their dining experience, allowing them to start their meal service with un-interrupted attention and focus.
Derik displays his background as a visual artist in his plate designs, and with the art on the menu (and his tattoos). Derik grew up in a food-producing family that raised produce, made cheese, baked bread and caught and processed fish. Starting his career in the kitchen at age 11 Derik became executive chef at Tagalong Golf Club and Resort in Wisconsin at age 18 and he later worked at Relais and Chateau Property, Canoe Bay. Working locally at Porter and Frye’s and Nick and Eddie’s before the Dakota, Derik has plenty of experience. But experience alone does not account for Derik’s inventiveness and originality – his inventive food and ability to be so creative within such tight parameters demonstrates that he’s not only comfortable and practiced as a chef, but that he loves and respects food.
Katie professes she chose pastry and baking due to her love of precision and the relation to chemistry. Like Derik, Katie Elsing also entered the profession as a youngster, working as a teen in local delis. But she took her involvement with food to another level by attending Le Cordon Bleu in Mendota Heights. She says she knew that working at the Dakota would be a challenge but exciting, and explains that the adrenaline rush of a perfect service, whether it be through a busy show or creating something special for one of our private events, just makes her want to come back and do it all over again – “it is so worth it.”
The entire menu is available nightly, but be sure to check out our special Food Nights. Foodie Nights feature specials from the chefs, no cover for music from the Celebrate Minnesota Music series, and $10.00 wine bottle specials. These nights are when the Dakota really shines as a community restaurant. The menu and your dinner guests can be enjoyed without distraction on your own time frame. Come to the Dakota for the food, and experience the passion driving the chefs. The love of cuisine exuding from the kitchen is infectious. Their passionate creations will bring you back for more.