Justin Sutherland, who just wrapped season 16 of Bravo’s Top Chef, has expanded his restaurant group to the east - way east in New Richmond, Wisconsin. Fire & Whiskey just opened at 230 South Knowles Avenue about a 45 minute drive outside of Saint Paul, where most of his other restaurants are located. Running the kitchen on a day to day basis will be Shannel Winkel, who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu locally and worked under Paul Berglund.
The new steakhouse is a part of the Sutherland-led Madison Restaurant Group that also operates Handsome Hog, Public Kitchen + Bar, Green Lantern, Gray Duck Tavern, and the about to re-open Ox Cart Arcade. Winkel worked with Madison’s executive chef Donald Gonzalez to create a menu that uses sustainably raised beef served in different cuts with sides like mac and cheese, creamed spinach, rosemary fries and more. There will also be plenty of Wisconsin-mandated cheese-centric opportunities with beer cheese soup, pimento cheese dip, blue cheese topped poutine and Ellsworth curds. Because it’s Sutherland and he can’t resist a little barbecue, pulled pork and ribs also make an appearance.
This new venture rides both the trend of chefs heading outside the metro area to open destination-worth restaurants, like Erick Harcey in Cambridge and JD Fratzke in Cannon Falls, but also part of the new Steakhouse/supperclub movement. Sutherland said, “[We] bought the space a long time ago and didn’t know what to do with it. We’ve been surveying the neighborhood for the last six months and found out they really want a nice steakhouse. So, that’s what we did.”
Fire & Whiskey is throwing a grand opening party on Friday from 8 to 10 p.m. with music from Nici Peper.