The Home Field Advantage: Freehouse
sponsored by FreehouseWhen it comes to bars and restaurants around their ballpark, baseball fans like their institutions. There is something comforting about finding a place that fits them, a place they can share with their kids, both now and later, the same way they share their favorite game. In short, they’re looking for a sense of community.
We’re proud to welcome Freehouse as a new entry to the pregame and postgame scene and sponsor of Twins Daily and Gleeman & the Geek. I’ll be shocked if they don’t become one of those institutions. Indeed, judging by the crowd on a recent Saturday when there wasn’t a Twins game, they may already be.
Their name implies they get the community focus; a “free house” is a neighborhood pub in England that isn’t tied to the beers of just one brewery. (Freehouse, despite having a brewery on site, is a “free house.” They also serve other commercially available beers on tap, including locals like Summit.) The layout retains that focus; as you walk in the door, a large rectangular bar is the first area you encounter.
However, there’s lots of room for lots of areas of focus, because it’s a big place. Behind the bar is a large dining area. Behind that is a large kitchen. On the side are the tanks where they brew their (as of a month ago) seven types of beers. This is the largest and most ambitious restaurant opened by Blue Plate Restaurant Company, which also owns The Lowry, Edina Grill and Groveland Tap.
Aaron and I visited about a month ago for our “Baseball is Back!” episode and reviewed their food and beer “live” as it was placed in front of us by manager Dave Wohlforth. Admittedly, we're their target market. Freehouse’s tagline is “Breakfast to Beer” which could just as easily be the motto of a mashup of Aaron’s and my Twitter feeds.
We mostly sampled pumped up traditional favorites. For brunch, Aaron ate the lion’s portion of the Ciabatta French Toast, which had a sweetness accentuated by a touch of cayenne. Their most popular item is the $1000 Burger made with short rib, brisket and duck fat. And my favorite was the Roto-Bird, which is “just” a perfectly prepared rotisserie chicken.
When I go back, I want to bring some risk takers, so I can taste a few of their more adventurous offerings. Like Lobster Mac n Cheese that includes Cheez-its. Or the Bone Marrow or Oxtail appetizers. Or the entire section of their menu titled “Jars.”
We also made our way through the beers. The four originals are solid examples of traditional styles: a kolsch, an IPA, a brown and a stout. The brown was my favorite. I’m partial to that style, but this went beyond my personal preferences; it was a smooth, rich, toasty draught without being too heavy. Beyond those, Freehouse is extending their range with a wheat, a hoppy amber, a west-coast IPA and a Bock, which wasn’t ready when I was there. I’m not a wheat guy, but I’d recommend the other two for someone who wants to be challenged beyond the basics.
Freehouse opened back in December and has already demonstrated the ability to stick around and please a crowd, whether they happen to be near a ballpark or not. Fortunately for Twins fans, they are. And fortunately for Twins Daily members, they’re one of the first bars and restaurants, along with Mason’s to support Twins Daily’s efforts to build a community around the independent voices following Twins baseball. Please welcome them, follow them on Twitter and stop by before or after your next Twins game and thank them for their support of Twins Daily.