Jonathan Campion, the owner of the popular Main Street Farmer Eatery, recently opened the doors of his next venture into the St. Michael eating and drinking scene. Bauernhof Klause, or BK Tap Haus, had its soft opening last week, and their grand opening will take place next weekend on Sept. 7 and 8.
Located next door to Main Street Farmer and just south of St. Michael’s historical Catholic Church, which many German immigrant families helped to build in the late 1800s, the new Tap Haus will accentuate the town’s German roots with a German/Eastern European flair of its own.
Bauernhof Klause loosely translates to Farmer’s Hermitage, with the word “klause” signifying a local place for food and beer.
“I like the German aspect of the beer hall community,” Campion said. “But at the same time not limiting ourselves to just German beers. We wanted the modern German beer hall but celebrating Minnesota craft beers.”
BK Tap Haus features the community-style seating of a traditional German beer hall. Patrons can choose from 21 Minnesota brews and three German beers, along with wine and traditional rail liquor offerings. Some of the local beers hail from Lupine Brewery out of Delano, Aegir Brewery of Elk River and Lift Bridge Brewery of Stillwater. Campion said the beers will change seasonally. Two of the tap haus’ brews are of their own creation and brewed by Lupine.
As for food, BK Tap Haus offers a selection of table shareables such as a meat and cheese platter, beer battered fried pickles or smalec and pickles, a pork lard spread with bacon bits and pickles on a grilled baguette. They also offer sandwiches, a half-dozen varieties of sausage plates, and Zapiekanka, which is a traditional Polish open-faced sandwich prepared on a long baguette.
“It’s covered with local produce like our lamb from Monticello, our beef from Pettit Farms (Milaca, MN), and you mix it with barbeque beef and smoked cheddar or pork belly and goat cheese,” he said.
Chef Aaron Hagerdorn is the executive head chef of both Main Street Farmer and Bauernhof Klause, and Campion called him an “intricate part of the Main Street Farmer + Bauernhof Klause family.”
European Influence Comes Naturally
Campion said the German/Eastern European influences of BK Tap Haus originate from his family’s strong ties to the area. Campion’s wife, Magdalena, is Polish, and his daughter was born there. Campion himself lived in Poland for 15 years and the family traveled around Germany extensively. Campion owned two restaurants and four bars while living in Poland.
When Campion moved back to the United States with his family three years ago, he and Magdalena took a year to eat their way around the twin cities before moving forward with plans to open Main Street Farmer. Campion said he had a space planned for a restaurant in Wayzata, but he kept coming back to the vacant space in downtown St. Michael’s Cornerstone building, just a mile from their home.
“I knew there was a real demand for something that was different from a sports bar or a pizza place,” Campion said. “I just didn’t know the extent for what the demand would be, and we were pleasantly surprised that the market demanded something that challenges us, which is the most fun.”
Changes to Lunch Service and Offerings
With the opening of Bauernhof Klause also brings changes to some of Main Street Farmer’s operations and offerings. Campion said Main Street Farmer will move its lunch service to BK Tap Haus, allowing it to focus its efforts on the evening dining experience. The last day for lunch service at Main Street Farmer will be Sept. 1. On Sept. 11, BK Tap Haus will begin their serving lunch at 11 a.m.
In other changes, on Sept. 8 Main Street Farmer will begin offering brunch service on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. They will also begin a Sunday night chicken dinner special beginning Sept. 2 at 4:30 p.m.
If You Go
Seating at BK Tap Haus is first come, first serve, and it is welcoming of all ages. At present their hours are 5 p.m.-11 p.m. and closed Mondays, but their hours will be 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday once lunch service beings on Sept. 11.
BK Tap Haus has a stage and a piano, and Campion said they hope to begin adding musical performances in the near future.
“We’re focused on getting up and running, getting our team trained and creating the best possible experience for our guests,” he said. “We’re here because the community has allowed us to occur. Without the success and support of Main Street Farmer, we would not have been able to develop the concept for Bauernhof Klause.”