Yesterday, I got a sneaky peek preview of The Inn, the Niver/Johnson/Fratzke version of what the former Subo space should be. The place was chock full of the rising guard of chefs, Jim Christiansen, and Eric Sather, among others.
The new team didn't completely rework the interior, no need. They've given it a bit of a rustic feel with well-placed weathered barn boards and some interesting square, quilt-inspired designs. Bet you didn't see that one coming.
The cocktails were, of course, very interesting with adornments such as black walnut bitters, apple/scallion syrup, and a whole egg. There's fully 33 bottles of beer on the list, and a great pairing section named "Bump and a Beer" in which The Scandahuvian is comprised of Linie Aquavit & Premium Grainbelt.
JD Fratzke was in the kitchen, but it's important to know he hasn't abandoned Strip Club. In fact, they've brought on the very capable Tyge Nelson (formerly of Barrio) who should be a great strength once JD returns to the hill.
The menu starts with hors d' oeuvres: small plates such as the crispy potato dumpling with creamy Mahon dipping sauce, a fat little pork sausage with brussels, and steamed mussels in a Lift Bridge beer broth that had people at my table doing embarrassing slurping moves.
Everything is named simply as a list of ingredients, Pork with olive/basil/polenta turned out to be a hearty dish of braised shoulder. My risotto with squash, wild mushrooms, crispy sage and triple creme was downright unctuous. There's a list of open-faced sandwiches and a few hunks "From the Grill".
The food is clearly more refined than the taverny nosh I was expecting. They open tonight at 5pm to the public, go check them out.