On a recent Friday night, three chefs bent over their stations, quietly preparing for that night’s service. A dozen empty silver chairs would soon be filled by eager guests who had paid for the pleasure of what might just be the best dinner party in town. The chefs are Jessi Peine, pastry chef Tlanezi Guzman and Britt St. Clair, these are the woman who took over the restaurant when its opening chef Landon Shoenefeld made the decision to step away from the industry altogether.
The transition between his Birdie and the the current iteration was seamless. All three had toiled to create this multi-course (8 to 10 dishes), ever-changing menu alongside the original leader and all three knew which direction the restaurant would go as it moved into the future. There have been subtle shifts, but if anything, the food and intimate dining experience have flourished as it has evolved.
The small restaurant space is an addition to Nighthawks, a modern-day diner on the corner of Nicollet Avenue and 38th Street in Minneapolis. It’s a part of a rising culinary neighborhood, neighbors to a Third Wave coffee shop, modern meat market and across the street from two more beloved eateries.
Four nights a week, guests can purchase tickets to dine inside Birdie. The menus are created especially for each dining experience. Tickets are purchased online for $100 each and often sell out quickly. There’s also a small service fee which covers, in addition to other costs, gratuity.
Some nights the kitchen hosts guests chefs, but often, it’s the core team.
Each course is paired with a beverage (that’s included in the price of the ticket.) That means wine for most folks, but sometimes that might also mean a freshly made juice created to mirror and enhance the flavors of the food.
Chef Jessi Peine also runs the food truck Peeps Hotbox and has her own farm. She often sources ingredients for the dinners straight from her own land. From sourcing to the table, each ingredient that makes up a dish, is carefully selected, handled and presented.
But lest we think anyone is taking things too seriously, let’s let you feast your eyes on the fun that is a night at Birdies. As guests file in, the music begins and the fun doesn’t let up until the little bird chirps goodnight.