The Bachelor Farmer, the restaurant first opened by Eric and Andrew Dayton, that shaped the North Loop neighborhood, hosted international dignitaries, and forever changed the way people considered Minnesotan cuisine has closed forever. Thursday Eric Dayton shared in a statement that the uncertain future in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic has forced the difficult decision saying, “We were already walking a fine line before COVID-19, and given that no one knows how long the impacts of this pandemic will last, or what the new normal will be, I do not see a viable path forward.”
The Bachelor Farmer and Marvel Bar first opened in 2011, as the North Loop neighborhood was experiencing an early building boom. The exquisitely designed space, done by the late James Dayton was a mix of Midwestern kitsch, and undeniable elegance. From opening the doors to the host stand backed by wallpaper with cornflower blue farmhouse patterns, the space was undeniably Minnesotan.
Opening chef Paul Berglund would win a James Beard Award for his work at the restaurant, and current chef Jonathan Gans garnered a fresh four star review from The Star Tribune this year. The multi-level building bred intellectual excellence without ever straying too far from its stoic, not-one-to-brag roots. Founding bartender Pip Hanson would launch from here to run one of the best bars in the world. Sommelier Erin Rolek would leave to open headline making Onda in Los Angeles. Current beverage director Peder Schweigert created a boundary-pushing nonalcoholic beverage exploration in January that highlighted Marvel Bar and The Bachelor Farmer’s ability to act as an industry leader.
In 2016 The Bachelor Farmer expanded with a next door cafe that served coffee, pastries, and lunch throughout the day.
When the Dayton brothers first opened the business, it was not without some degree of skepticism. Newcomers to the restaurant industry, they came from Minnesota royalty, with father Mark Dayton the state’s governor at the time. They are great-grandsons of George Draper Dayton who founded the famed Dayton’s department store and mother Alida Rockefeller Messinger is the great-granddaughter of magnate John D. Rockefeller.
Between the restaurant, the private dining space, notable for a wall of knitted blankets, the kind often sported by the backs of grandma davenports, and the groundbreaking speakeasy Marvel Bar, the skepticism didn’t last long. The Daytons had then, and would continue to pack the building with highly skilled staff who would develop a sustained reputation for excellence.
Even when the restaurant closed along with the rest of the state in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the kitchen continued to work, joining Restaurant Alma and Chowgirls Killer Catering to feed hungry neighbors with local charities Second Harvest Heartland and Loaves and Fishes.
Eric Dayton has been an outspoken advocate in climate change, and for celebrating Minnesota as the North, making shrewd branding moves to bring attention to the region.
His company still owns the building at 50 North 2nd Avenue, and will continue to operate the retail space Askov Finlayson next door. It is there that outstanding gift cards can be redeemed. All outstanding events will have deposits fully refunded. Employees received six weeks of pay when furloughed and full health benefits for one more month, ending on May 31.