MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Surly Brewing Company is closing its critically-acclaimed fine dining restaurant in the upper level of its Minneapolis Destination Brewery, Brewer’s Table, and Executive Chef Jorge Guzman is leaving the company.
The 85-seat Brewer’s Table was good enough to earn its chef a James Beard nomination for Best Chef: Midwest, and the restaurant was named one of Food & Wine Magazine’s 10 best new restaurants of the year, but it was not profitable enough to stay open.
It was an ambitious concept, built around tasting menus paired with Surly beers.
Because of Minnesota law, Surly is only allowed to serve its own beers inside its brewery facility. Fine dining aficionados who preferred a glass of wine with their meal, were out of luck.
“We achieved the goals we set for the industry-leading restaurant concept around food and beer pairings,” said founder and president of Surly, Omar Ansari, in a statement. “We want to thank Surly Nation and the Brewer’s Table team for their dedication, passion and creativity to the Brewer’s Table experience.”
Brewers Table will be open until August 5, and Chef Jorge Guzman will be staying on in his role until the final serving on that Saturday night.
Surly’s Beer Hall serves a more casual, barbeque-driven menu that has also been very positively received by diners and food critics alike, with people waiting more than an hour to sit down at peak times. In a story with WCCO, Guzman said the entire facility would serve 2,000 customers on a busy Friday or Saturday night.
According to Surly, Guzman was not given the option to continue as chef of the downstairs culinary operations and catering side.
“The decision was made for a wholesale change,” they said.
Guzman is planning on taking some time off after August 5 according to the brewery, and “is ready to take on a new culinary challenge, hopefully in the Twin Cities.”
Ben Peine, chef de cuisine for events at Surly will oversee the kitchen operations “for the forseeable future,” according to Ansari.
The closing comes at a tough time for fine-dining restaurants in the Twin Cities. Heartland recently closed in St. Paul, Piccolo and Saffron both closed in Minneapolis. That said, Brewer’s Table faced unique challenges – as the Venn Diagram of fine dining customers and people visiting Surly’s Destination Brewery may have had limited crossover.