MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When you come to Dan’s Bar and Grill in New Trier, odds are good you’ll run into two Dans. Danette Welch, and Danielle DeRoe, the second and third generation of Dans running this restaurant.
“We grew up here,” said Welch, the owner of Dan’s Bar, who’s run it since 1980. “It was a house bar. There were five kids, my parents bought it in 1960 and brought us out here from Hastings.”
There isn’t much to New Trier, a town of just more than 100 residents, southeast of the Twin Cities not far from Hastings. Lots of corn, a handful of homes, and Dan’s Bar.
“Oh it was great, it was awesome. We had so much fun,” said Welch.
The bar was known as a spot with good burgers: a familiar menu cooked with love, from a family you knew. Dan Hartung was the first Dan to run this place, but there always was a Dan in the room.
“My parents would be so proud,” said Welch, noting that a third generation is now fostering Dan’s Bar into the future.
“I’ve been working here since I was 13. Doing dishes, helping out. Then I went away to school,” said Durow.
Durow first went to Boston College and majored in marketing. She was a four-year letter winner on the women’s hockey team. But the food bug never left her, and she went to Kendall College’s Culinary School in Chicago. She interned at fancy restaurants, used tweezers and made foams. After that experience, she decided her heart was in her hometown restaurant.
Mom warned her: no fancy culinary school nonsense.
“We told her that from the start,” said Welch. “And two years later everything was changed.”
Durow started with Saturday night specials, and then was given free rein to overhaul the entire menu.
“Simple things like a pork chop. Now we house smoke it and serve with roasted brown sugar sweet potatoes, elevating it a little bit,” said Durow.
They’re still known for their burgers, but now Chef Dani is stuffing them. There’s a riff on a Big Mac, served with special sauce and tons of cheese. A wonton burger features cream cheese, a sweet and sour sauce, and wonton wrappers on top and below the half-pound of beef.
“They’re monsters,” laughed Durow.
Her mom’s favorite sandwich is the buttermilk fried chicken, topped with slaw and a sweet, spicy bang bang sauce.
“We make everything we can in house,” she said. “No microgreens, No foams. The most extravagant lettuce is arugula. That was a stretch for a few people, now everyone’ starting to accept it.”
The regulars have been coming for almost sixty years. Not just for dinner. Dan’s Bar is an anchor: defining family, defining New Trier.
“I love it. I love working with her,” said mom Danielle Welch.
“It’s amazing that people are coming from Minneapolis, amazing that [WCCO] is here. We’re doing burgers,” said Durow. “Coming back and taking the third generation, it’s really special.”
Dan’s Bar and Grill
8485 240th Street East
New Trier, MN 55031