While I was in Rochester, MN, I discovered a new restaurant. So new, in fact, they weren’t officially open yet. Considering that the few days before the official opening is one of the craziest times for a restaurant, I was lucky to be invited to come in for a photo shoot while I was in town. Bleu Duck Kitchen is already becoming a neighborhood favorite and after spending some time with them, I can see why.
Located in Rochester, MN in the old Conley-Maass Building (14 on 4th), the restaurant is in a loft-like setting with exposed brick, high ceilings and large windows. Natural light pours into the space, which made me and my camera very happy. When I first walked in, I immediately noticed their open kitchen. It’s located in the back, but feels very much like the heart of the space. There’s a bar set off to the left and several tables are strategically placed throughout the room. In the front of the restaurant, the floor is raised and four additional tables are nestled up next to the giant floor to ceiling windows. I have a feeling those tables will be a favorite spot to sit for many people, however, when Mike and I are in town this fall, we plan to sit at the open kitchen counter and watch the action unfold.
The two food items that they had me shoot were the Cauliflower “Risotto” with Aged White Cheddar, Pignolias and an Egg Yolk and their Melon Salad with Lump Crab Meat, Celery Leaves and Berebere Ranch. The presentation of the food is gorgeous, which also made me and my camera very happy. When there’s passion for the craft, it shows… and it’s delicious. Check out more of their current menu here.
The two most important parts of a restaurant for me are the food and the people behind it. Erik Kleven (owner & chef) and Erik Paulsen (owner & chef) were more than welcoming despite being slammed with last minute opening preparations. In the short time that I was at the restaurant, they had a very friendly energy which would make anyone feel “at home” in their restaurant. They’re the kind of personalities that you want to sit down and grab a beer with and next time I’m in town, I hope to do that.
Bleu Duck Kitchen officially opened their doors on Friday, August 26th and whether you’re nearby or visiting Rochester, be sure to stop in for yourself and see what the hype is all about. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
All images © Regan Baroni 2016.