Best Dining, Here and Away

Best Dining, Here and Away

Six transplanted Twin Cities executives share their favorite dining destinations—both here and there.

John Hallberg, CEO

Children’s Cancer Research Fund
For more than six years, John Hallberg and his wife, Renée LeJeune Hallberg, lived in Glenview, Illinois, where John was CMO of Encyclopedia Britannica and president of, then a division of Getty Images. In Chicago, Gibsons Steak House was one of his favorites—“a very good wine list, great steaks, and desserts bigger than your head,” he says. Here in the Twin Cities, Hallberg often chooses Crave for business meals. “Crave does a great job,” he says. “They keep their menu updated, and the locations work really well for the donors, board members, partners, and volunteers I meet with. Crave also supports the local community through its Crave Cares program.” Crave, four metro locations including the Galleria, Edina, 952-697-6000,


Nathalie Wilson, strategy

Zydeco Design
Nathalie Wilson and her husband, A.J., lived in San Diego for three years before moving to Minneapolis. While in San Diego, Wilson was the director of strategic planning at ad agencies Vitrorobertson and MatthewsMark. For business meals, Wilson headed north to the Marine Room in nearby La Jolla. “It’s a true local landmark, with delicious food and beautiful oceanfront windows,” Wilson says. In the Twin Cities, Wilson often treats VIP clients and prospects to dinner at the Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis North Loop neighborhood. “It’s a fun way to give out-of-town guests a special taste of Minnesota,” she says. Bachelor Farmer, 50 Second Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612-206-3920,


George Kehl, office managing partner

George Kehl moved to the Twin Cities in 2010 from Florida, where he was the managing partner of KPMG’s Tampa office. There, he often entertained clients at Salt Rock Grill, known for fresh seafood and wood-fired steaks. Here, Kehl likes to take clients to Manny’s Steakhouse. “It’s always a great place for lunch or dinner,” Kehl says. “The food and service are outstanding.” Manny’s Steakhouse, 825 Marquette Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-339-9900,


David Wagner, AIA

SALA Architects
Before moving to St. Paul more than a decade ago, David Wagner was with Cutler Anderson Architects on Bainbridge Island, Washington, where he worked on an array of projects including Bill and Melinda Gates’ home. There, Wagner often dined with clients and colleagues at chef Tom Douglas’ Dahlia Lounge. “It’s casual in its nature, with excellent food and a friendly, cozy atmosphere,” says Wagner. Here in the Twin Cities, Wagner often invites clients to celebrate a successful project at Meritage or at Kincaid’s. Kincaid’s, he says, “makes a damn good steak, plain and simple.” Meritage, 410 St. Peter St., St. Paul, 651-222-5670,; Kincaid’s, 380 St. Peter St., St. Paul, 651-602-9000,


Jose Pedro Vido, president

Morning Star Coffee
Jose Pedro Vido grew up just outside São Paulo, Brazil. Whenever he returns to Brazil to visit his coffee plantation, he takes VIP clients to Fasano, a traditional Italian restaurant, and Figueiras, a contemporary farm-to-table steak house with an enormous fig tree in the middle of the dining room. “For a traditional, American-style steak dinner here in the Twin Cities, I like to take clients to Pittsburgh Blue,” Vido says. “For clients who prefer lighter fare, I take them to Cafe Lurcat, where they have interesting, contemporary French cuisine.” Pittsburgh Blue, Galleria, Edina, 952-567-2700,; Cafe Lurcat, 1624 Harmon Pl., Minneapolis, 612-486-5500,


Jarod Allerheiligen, Minneapolis office managing partner

Grant Thornton LLP
Jarod Allerheiligen moved to the Twin Cities area two years ago from Wichita, Kansas, where he was office managing partner at Grant Thornton. In Wichita, Allerheiligen favored Granite City for business lunches. “They had good salads and a great bacon cheeseburger,” he says. Now thoroughly at home here in the Twin Cities, Allerheiligen likes Crave for downtown business lunches with clients, business acquaintances, and friends. “I like the atmosphere, the friendly staff, the salads—and the cheeseburgers,” he says. Crave, 825 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612-332-1133,


“New Nordic” Makes National News

Earlier this summer, the New York Times dispatched writer Julia Moskin to the Twin Cities to see how local chefs are interpreting New Nordic cuisine, “the most avant-garde movement in food today.” Moskin found that “the Bachelor Farmer, a modern (even chic) restaurant . . . playfully blends Scandinavian design and tradition with a handmade-food ethos and friendly Midwest unpretentiousness.” More recently, Bon Appétit magazine named the Bachelor Farmer (shown at left)—“four thousand two hundred and eighty miles from the avant-garde kitchens of Copenhagen”—one of the Hot 10: America’s Best New Restaurants for its “rather stellar, contemporary riffs on traditional dishes like meatballs and lingonberries and mashed potatoes.” We’re quietly pleased.