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.