Why so many chain restaurants in the suburbs of the Twin Cities, and so few interesting, locally-owned restaurants? Rent is high, diners are perceived to be less adventurous, I wrote about this in Minnesota Monthly awhile ago. But there are little islands of joy for me and my family, and Eat Shop Kitchen in Plymouth is one of those islands.
Eat Shop used to be a Senser’s, and before that it was a place where you grill your own steak (why would you pay to grill your own steak? Do it at home!)
Michael Larson is the owner, he’s a veteran of the Parasole Restaurant group and opened Chino Latino, chef Jeff Anderson worked with Larson at Salut in St. Paul and also Uptown Cafeteria. So when these two decided to plunk a restaurant down in suburban Plymouth, in a strip mall, most thought they were crazy!
Perhaps they are. But their crazy is a win for the western suburbs near Lake Minnetonka, Plymouth, Medina and Maple Grove. I’ve been for brunch and lunch, with friends and with family, and it is awesome.
The kids menu is familiar, yet different. Instead of flavorless chicken strips, there’s real chicken, fried and breaded, with veggies and fries.
8-year-old Seth had the Cowboy Burger ($13.95), which is delicious. Hand-pattied burger, topped with bacon, BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, and crispy fried onions. It normally comes with cole slaw on the burger, Seth had it on the side.
Yes, my 8-year-old asked for salad on the side, dressed with a really nice shallot vinaigrette.
My go-to is the green chile pork sandwich ($11.95). The first time I had this, right after Eat Shop opened, I wasn’t thrilled with the flavor. Not bright enough. Too soggy. This time it was perfect. It’s not too spicy, but has enough zest to satisfy a spice lover (like me). It’s topped with marinated tomatoes, avocado, slaw, and fried onions.
We usually start with the salty pretzels appetizer ($8.95), which comes with a really excellent beer cheese dip.
Eat Shop also has an awesome beer list. Three Squares in Maple Grove is the only place I’ve been to in the western burbs that is even comparable from a beer perspective. Fulton, Surly, Excelsior, Lucid, Pour Decisions, Badger Hill all on the menu. There’s Bad Weather and Indeed. So many great beers, during happy hour (all day Sunday, 3-6pm M-Saturday and again late night) it’s $1 off the regular price.
Eat Shop would be worth a visit just to support the concept, but the service is so good, and the execution so solid, it’s a can’t miss for suburbanites who want great food, but don’t want to drive to the city.
Eat Shop Kitchen & Bar
16605 County Road 24
Plymouth, MN 55447