One of Minneapolis’ brightest culinary stars is stepping away from the stove. Chef Landon Schoenefeld announced in an Instagram post that he is leaving his restaurants Nighthawks and Birdie. He has already long been gone from his original restaurant in the North Loop, Haute Dish.
Landon Schoenfeld first burst onto the scene at Bulldog Northeast, dazzling eaters with his fantastic gastro-pub fare before melting down in spectacular fashion, by hosing down a rude co-worker with mustard. His work earned him the rave reviews as creating a “dining sensation” for creating “food that was a dream.” The hose-down earned him the nickname “Colonel Mustard,” a moniker he eventually embraced (note the Insta-handle.)
He’s won stars and fans in every kitchen he’s worked in. It was almost six years ago when he first opened HauteDish, taking homey comfort foods like the ubiquitous Minnesota hotdish and turned it on its ear. The General Tso’s sweetbreads remain the best way to get those tasty glands in town. As people clamored for those dishes, the North Loop neighborhood went from the place that’s home to Sex World, to a magical land of high-end shops, boutique hotels and more eateries than you can shake a stick at.
After agreeing to take on a new project inside the former Shorty and Wags on Nicollet Avenue, he handed the kitchen reigns at Haute Dish to sous chef and his role there increasingly diminished. At this point, we understand that he is out of that restaurant completely.
Nighthawks would be a modern diner: nothing overly fancy, just really good familiar foods. It more than delivered on that promise with revel-worth hot dogs, fantastic pastrami and divine pies.
The cozy Birdie opened a year ago as a culinary playground where the chef spins records to pair with an inventive tasting menu. Tickets would consistently sell out for the very few coveted seats.
Schoenefeld assured WCCO reporter and Minnesota Monthly’s co-food editor Jason DeRusha that nothing would change at either of these restaurants: he believes his team that is in place will remain.
The chef told DeRusha, “"I'm just not well, very depressed. Sometime the weight of your dreams can crush you. I need to make a change and try somewhere else. I don't exactly know where yet."
We wish him well in his time off and hope that he knows when and if he ever wants to come back to us - the Twin Cities restaurant world will be thankful to have him. Peace and health, Chef. His final service at Nighthawks and Birdie will be December 31.