This Valentine’s Day, take your sweetheart out for a downtown meal that’s close to home. Eat Shop, located at the crossroads of Highway 55 and County Road 24, is in its inaugural year but has already gained a reputation as an upscale restaurant in the western metro. Featuring modern American food, an extensive beer and wine list, and a comfortable atmosphere, Eat Shop brings Minneapolis dining to Plymouth’s neighborhoods.
“This is something special,” says founding partner Reid Sellgren. “It’s fresh food. Good service. We want this to be an elevated experience.”
Eat Shop emphasizes food—good food—without the hoopla. Sellgren, who has wanted to open his own restaurant since he was a teenager, joined powerhouses Jeff Anderson and Michael Larson, both of whom have extensive work experience with almost all of the Parasole restaurants, to create a restaurant that blends creative, homemade dishes with a casual dining environment.
“We are food focused,” Sellgren says, and Michael Larson agrees. “Where are our food comes from is very important to us,” he says. Larson points to an Eat Shop favorite, scallops served in an orange butter sauce, as an example.
“We buy fresh jumbo scallops every day,” he says, noting that frozen and pre-made foods do not pass through Eat Shop’s doors. Under executive chef Anderson’s direction, fresh ingredients turn into home-cooked meals with a modern twist. As their menu promises, “Modern American… Real Food… Scratch Cooking.”
Larsons adds that, “Jeff instinctively challenges himself,” referring to the creative and flexible menu. Anderson even goes so far as to make his own ice cream on the front table in the restaurant, using liquid nitrogen to create a show, as well as a higher quality of ice cream.
Sellgren and Larson are proud that the environment at Eat Shop promotes good eating. While some restaurants depend on the ambiance to draw in customers, Eat Shop’s owners prefer that their understated décor allows the food to take center stage. Servers wear plaid shirts, and a giant family-style serving table serves as the gateway between the kitchen and the dining room as a nod to Eat Shop’s commitment to home-cooked meals. One dining room wall is entirely covered by an old barn wall, while a giant chalkboard covers most of the bar wall space. With this set-up, Eat Shop invites guests to be as a casual—or as dressy—as they want to be. No matter the occasion, Plymouth residents are invited to enjoy a great meal in a relaxed setting.
“We want to be that local place, that local bar,” Sellgren says. The restaurant, which offers a versatile menu for lunch, transforms into a “downtown, industrial feel for dinner,” he says. For those looking to stop into the neighborhood bar on their way home from work, Sellgren says that the “value-driven menu for happy hour” is second to none. So are the beer and wine offerings. An impressive, wall-sized wine rack greets every person who enters the restaurant, but Eat Shop also offers many craft beers, particularly Minnesota brewed beers.
Both Sellgren and Larson agree that their goal is to be Plymouth’s neighborhood restaurant and bar. Guests feel equally comfortable showing up to the bar in a T-shirt and jeans as they would sitting down for a Valentine’s Day dinner, says Sellgren. Larson agrees. “People can expect a great meal,” he says.
Michael Larson’s three favorite dishes at Eat Shop
1. Seared scallops with fennel, green beans, aligot potatoes and fresh orange butter sauce
2. Eat Plate with housemade bologna, summer sausag, and house-cured whitefish
3. Duck salad loaded with duck confit, housemade cheese and a gently poached egg