Too Close to the Fire: A chef’s story of restaurant burnout and rekindling his love of cooking

This is the third installment of Off the Map, a column by chef J.D. Fratzke. It appears monthly on growlermag.com and occasionally in print. For literally decades, one of the most zen-like and enjoyable tasks of my 14-hour work day was the 45 minutes before dinner service wherein all the chopping, dicing, braising, searing, emulsifying, and reducing … [ Read more]

I Left My Heart in Shafter Ghost Town

This is the second installment of Off the Map, a column by chef J.D. Fratzke. It appears monthly on growlermag.com and occasionally in print. It was in the waning years of the Clinton administration that I found myself standing on the roof of an abandoned blacksmith and livery in a southwest Texas ghost town. The journey had … [ Read more]

Culinary partners J.D. Fratzke and Matty O’Reilly part ways with a handshake

A quest for work-life balance has led to an amicable parting of ways at one of the metro’s most prominent restaurant groups. J.D. Fratzke, the chef-entrepreneur whose work at The Strip Club Meat and Fish made him a regional standout, has worked as a culinary director over the past three years for Matty O’Reilly to … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2017: J.D. Fratzke & Matty O’Reilly

The restaurant game has never been an easy one. But the last decade of dining in the Twin Cities has thrown innumerable challenges at restaurateurs—a cook shortage, a minimum wage debate, food costs and rent on the rise, and diners possessed of a fickle, Instagram-fueled, hit-the-hot-new-joint-once-and-never-return mentality. In the face of these challenges, the partnership of … [ Read more]

Minnesota Spoon: Back to base camp with J.D. Fratzke

J.D. Fratzke tucks a brown paper bag under a small teepee of sticks. It’s been raining here, last night and early this morning. He searches for drier kindling, finding only a little. The chef will make do. We’re perched at a campsite above the St. Croix River, surrounded by scraggly trees and a cool wind … [ Read more]

Strip Club Staircase Under Scrutiny

“Spiral stairway is not an approved means of egress from restaurant seating area. Discontinue use immediately.” The Pioneer Press reports this statement, among others, from city fire inspector George Niemeyer to Strip Club Meat & Fish owners J.D. Fratzke and Tim Niver. The staircase in the historic Maria Avenue building leads to the mezzanine (above), which … [ Read more]

A Blind Tasting beer festival

Taste & Rate 48 Minnesota Oktoberfests

Sept. 20, 2019 | 5:30–9pm
Upper Landing Park
Tickets: GA $40 | DD $20