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Chef Exits Restaurant Empire He Helped Grow

J.D. Fratzke is stepping away from the Matty O’Reilly restaurant group

J.D. Fratzke inside the Strip Club on its last night
Eliesa Johnson Photography for The Strip Club

J.D. Fratzke will be parting ways after a several year, wildly successful partnership with restaurantuer Matty O’Reilly. It was in the final days of The Strip Club, the restaurant the chef co-owned that the chance to work inside an under-utilized building alongside O’Reilly came to him. The duo had long been friends and O’Reilly was itching to make a building owned by the city into something. The owner of Republic and Red River Kitchen thought it would make for a killer warm weather dining destination and Fratzke quickly agreed.

In August 2016 the duo turned Red River Kitchen at City House into a summer stable. In March 2017 they opened Highland Park’s Bar Brigade. Delicata, a neighborhood pizza restaurant in Como came next in July of 2017. Spring Cafe opened at Como Lake in the middle of an April snow storm this year. The company has fast grown into a well-oiled machine and Fratzke says it’s time to hit the reset button. He misses cooking. He misses the drive of the nightly line rush he got at The Strip Club. At a recent event he was talking with chef Marshall Paulsen and Tracy Singleton of the Birchwood Cafe about the network of farmers the restaurant has built and the systems forged to work support those growers. The conversation yanked at Fratzke’s heartstrings.

The parting is amicable and O’Reilly’s businesses will all carry on as Fratzke takes a minute to contemplate the writing room he’s got inside the new house he and wife Lisa just bought in Minneapolis. What comes next might be dictated more by heart that pocketbook, but with any luck, the Twin Cities will soon get to taste something new from the chef.

Bar Brigade

470 Cleveland Avenue South, , MN 55105 Visit Website

Spring Cafe

119 South Spring Street, , CO 81611 (970) 429-8406 Visit Website


221 Cedar Avenue, , MN 55454 (612) 338-6146 Visit Website

Delicata Pizza & Gelato

1341 Pascal Street, , MN 55108 (651) 756-8123 Visit Website

Spring Cafe at Como Park Pavillion

1360 Lexington Parkway North, , MN 55103 (651) 666-9491 Visit Website