About the Trout

Star Prairie's farm-raised fish rivals wild on local menus.

When it comes to fish at local restaurants, nothing is as fresh as the rainbow trout grown just an hour away in Star Prairie, Wisconsin.

Every Monday and Thursday year-round, Operations Manager Nate Wendt and his crew at the 152-year-old Star Prairie Trout Farm pluck a to-order catch from their ponds and prep it for shipping the next morning to Twin Cities wholesalers and restaurants. Customers include La Belle Vie, Restaurant Alma, The Craftsman, and FireLake Grill.

Farm-raised fish generally get a bad rap, but Star Prairie credits a fast-moving flow of 48-degree water through its spring-fed ponds for firm flesh and clean flavor in its trout.

For The Craftsman’s Chef-Owner Mike Phillips, it all comes back to proximity: “For me, it’s that it’s local.” He can visit the farm, see how clean the water is, check that the feed isn’t loaded with antibiotics.

Star Prairie trout is a favorite at Phillips’s bungalow-sized arts-and-crafts restaurant, where it’s served pan roasted, wrapped in crispy pancetta, with a purée of parsnip and a sautée of kale. But he also smokes the trout with applewood or hickory for salads or charcuterie plates, and features it in pastas and other specials.

The Craftsman Restaurant
4300 Lake Street, Minneapolis
Dinner entrées, $17–29


Catch (or Buy) Your Own

Star Prairie Trout Farm’s fishing season kicks off this month and runs through September. They supply the bait and tackle. No license required and no limit on what you catch. For rates, directions, and other details, go to starprairietroutfarm.com.

•The no-angling options: You can also order trout on the farm’s Web site, and see a list of Twin Cities retailers who carry it, including Coastal Seafoods and several co-ops.  

—Denise Logeland

Small Bites
Restaurant Notes

•  Closed: The beloved Zander Café on St. Paul’s Selby Avenue. Who’ll move in? Rumors abound.

• The new thing: “Fusion sushi” at Giapponese Sushi in Woodbury—dozens of exotic nigiri, sashimi, sushi, and other options in a stylish setting that isn’t a typical suburban box.

• Spasso, a trattoria with the same owners as the next-door Wine Shop in Minnetonka, has finally opened—to instant crowds.   

—P. L.