MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It is the burger many Twin Cities chefs look at as the local burger by which all others are compared: the Parlour Bar burger.
“It can’t be overcooked, can’t be undercooked, the window is 30 seconds,” executive chef Drew Yancey said.
Yancey oversees the food at Parlour Bar and its upstairs sibling Borough. He’s come a long way from his first job at a Twin Cities Quiznos; Borough and Parlour represent his first executive chef job.
“I would skateboard across town to my sub shop,” he said.
After working at Quiznos, a pizza shop, being a personal chef for a Minnesota Timberwolves player, cooking at 112 Eatery and helping open Burch Steak, Yancey landed at Borough.
Borough is one of the founding members of the incredibly hot North Loop of Minneapolis restaurant scene, now competing with lobster emporium Smack Shack and nationally known Spoon & Stable.
“The residents in the neighborhood, it’s become a whole. It’s active, there are cars everywhere, people everywhere, restaurants flooded. It’s a good scene,” he said.
Borough used to serve only dinner, and the burger that gained such a following was only available in Parlour Bar downstairs — until now. The Parlour Burger is part of Borough’s new lunch program, launched at the end of Summer 2015.
“Every restaurant’s doing a burger now. It’s something we want to eat. We’re Minnesotans. We want a nice warm piece of beef and some French fries on the side,” Yancey said.
The Parlour Burger is a monster, with two 5-ounce patties of brisket, ribeye, chuck roll and butter.
“It’s delicious,” Yancey said.
With lunch, Borough and Parlour are going through 800 pounds of ground beef every week, selling an average of nearly 200 burgers a day.
It is awesome, but the blackened catfish on the lunch menu might be even better. Yancey takes celery root and creates a peppy slaw with lobster and aioli, puts that on top of a homemade lamb’s milk roll, and a gorgeous piece of blackened catfish.
“I could eat this for lunch every day,” WCCO reporter Jason DeRusha said.
“You and I both,” Yancey replied.
The chef gets to really stretch the boundaries at dinner.
“We create food for all kinds of diners,” he said, noting he always has a “safe” chicken dish on the menu. But for more adventurous eaters there are pleasures to be found.
“This is to add a nice umami to the dish,” he said, sifting black sesame powder, dabbing beet emulsion dots, and carefully arranging cured salmon in a beautiful, artistic display.
Yancey said he thinks about food visually — going through 15 different styles of plating on this particular dish — but that’s not the most important thing.
“I believe food should look good but it should always taste good,” he said.
Yancey is working 10- to 12-hour days almost seven days a week. He said the payoff is seeing a full restaurant with happy Minnesotans eating.
“I’m 30 years old. I’ve cooked 16 years. There are days I fight what this industry does to an individual. At the end of the day, I really love what I do,” he said.