Transcendence in a Loaf Pan

Meatloaf at Wilde Roast.

Ask Public Radio’s Lynne Rossetto Kasper about meatloaf, and the Splendid Table host will tell you that it’s “a testament to what an ingenious cook can do with next to nothing. Never have brilliantly balanced scraps and bits and pieces tasted so good as they can in a transcendent meatloaf.”

Transcendence should be tougher to pull off, but meatloaf is the dream of the non-homemaker, a dinner that can be mixed up in a single bowl with one’s hands: ground beef, pork, veal, or lamb; a generous pour of milk; a handful of oats or cracker crumbs; an egg; chopped onions, shallots, or garlic. Season it with sage or thyme or ground mustard—whatever you happen to have on hand.

For those who’d rather not make even that effort, there is Wilde Roast, a restaurant that bills its fare as “creative comfort food,” where meatloaf is the number-one seller. It comes in above the burger, the French dip, the tuna melt, even the buttermilk-spiked mac ’n’ cheese.

Dean Schlaak, co-owner of Wilde Roast, says the recipe for the Wilde Turkey Meatloaf, the creation of one of his earlier chefs, is “pretty standard.” But then he gives me a peek and it’s not so standard after all. It’s packed with sweet yellow onion and instead of milk it contains rich, beefy stock.

Best of all, it’s crusty on top but butter-moist in the middle of the slice. The meatloaf dinner comes with two generous slabs, skin-on smashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, and a vegetable side. And Wilde Roast is as cozy and warm as your mother’s kitchen: easy chairs by a fireplace and local art hanging on the walls.


Wilde Roast Café
518 Hennepin Avenue East,