It’s been about two years since Joe’s Garage exited its Loring Park space, and now it makes sense. Seafood concept 4 Bells, courtesy of the Butcher & the Boar team, is a behemoth–or should we say leviathan? Giant squid?
The restaurant is huge in its scope, both in terms of its size and menus. Much like a ship, 4 Bells has plenty of nooks and crannies, in addition to a nautical theme.
There’s a 14-seat patio, an 18-seat bar and what general manager Kelvin Greene calls the “sexy lounge” (a dimly lit corner with high-top tables). “It’s a warm, fun extension of the bar, and a cool spot to hang out with a date,” he said.
Then there’s the Hickory Room (a small dining room for meetings), a 12-seat “watch” raw seafood bar–it looks like it’s made from a giant metallic watch band–the 20-person Quarters dining hall for presentations and a large private dinning area dubbed Parkside.
On top of all that, there’s a 180-person rooftop, with 100 seats that will be open year-round and 80 pet-friendly seats for the summer.
In the back, 4 Bells will have a takeout window for outdoor dining with a small food and drink menu. For that extra reminder of the nautical theme, Adam Turman, who designed Butcher & the Boar’s mural, has painted the Kraken fighting Poseidon in a small seating area.
The name also references the sea.
“Back in the day when the sailors were done with their shift, they would ring the bell four times. Then they’d all be done with their shifts and loosen up and have a cocktail,” Greene said.
It’s also a nod toward the neighborhood’s large churches and their bells. “It’s a celebration really of Loring Park,” he said.
The restaurant has a number of menus, from a cold seafood menu with peel-and-eat shrimp ($9), shellfish towers and snapper ceviche ($12), to a chicken and meat menu with Southern-fried chicken ($17 half, $29 whole) and chicken liver terrine ($9). Brendan McDonald, formerly of Butcher & the Boar, and Sam Miller (Burch Steak House, Tilia, Barrio) lead the restaurant’s kitchen.
The restaurant also has a simple, but original bar program led by Geoffrey Trelstad, formerly of King and I Thai. Bartenders are serving 4 Bells’ take on classics like a Dark & Stormy ($7), Seelbach Cocktail ($10) and a number of martinis. The bar also makes $8 shooters, including an oyster shooter, a gin thyme and a cherry caramel rye.
With crudo restaurants opening around Minneapolis, from Monello to Il Foro, the Butcher & the Boar team seeks to do it right with 4 Bells.
“There are a lot of steak places, there are lot of chicken places… but there weren’t that many doing seafood and doing it well,” Greene said. “Butcher & the Boar is so meat driven. I think they wanted to not do the same thing they were doing there.”
Photos by Eric Best