Chef Lenny Russo takes the reins of Wayzata’s ninetwentyfive

Chef Lenny Russo is bringing his passion for local ingredients to ninetwentyfive, the hotel restaurant in Wayzata, as the new executive chef // Photo via ninetwentyfive's Instagram

Chef Lenny Russo is bringing his passion for local ingredients to ninetwentyfive, the hotel restaurant in Wayzata, as the new executive chef // Photo via ninetwentyfive’s Instagram

Chef Lenny Russo is back in action as the new executive chef and director of food and beverage at ninetwentyfive, the restaurant attached to the Hotel Landing in Wayzata.

Previously, six-time James Beard nominated Russo ran St. Paul’s former Heartland, which closed New Year’s Eve in 2016, and worked to revamp The Commodore’s kitchen and menu in September 2017. Ninetwentyfive marks Russo’s newest venture in dining, replacing Ryan Lund, who opened ninetwentyfive in summer 2017, but moved to North Carolina in December to start his own restaurant.

After dinner service on April 29, the traditional American dining establishment will temporarily close for Russo to work with the restaurant team to reinvent the menu. The restaurant will reopen to the public for breakfast on May 10. When it does, you can expect Russo’s signature cuisine using ingredients from local, Midwest farmers and artisans—in addition to tributes to Wayzata and the local Lake Minnetonka community.

Lenny Russo // Photo courtesy ninetwentyfive

Lenny Russo // Photo courtesy ninetwentyfive

In a post on Russo’s Facebook page, the chef noted his new front of house team includes former Heartland Restaurant managers  Joseph Tachovsky and Helen Ann Olson. In the kitchen, Chef de Cuisine Daniel Cataldo will be joined by former Heartland Chef de Cuisine Andy Lilja.

While details are still being worked out, the menu will include fresh breads baked in-house, ocean fish from the restaurant’s current menu to be replaced with freshwater fish from Minnesota, and a special menu for spa-goers to the hotel.

On the beverage front, Peter Plaehn, the first and only certified Advanced Sommelier in Minnesota, will be running the wine program and the celebrated cocktail maven, Trish Gavin, will be creating a new drink menu for the bar.

“Through the new food and craft cocktail options, I want ninetwentyfive guests to feel exactly what makes Minnesota, and the local lake community so appealing,” says Russo. “I have a unique pleasure of giving joy to those who graciously allow us to serve them. We are often privileged to cook for some of the happiest times in people’s lives: birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, job promotions and weddings. I can’t really think of anything better than that.”