Photo via The Bungalow Club
Here at Hygge & West, we love our cocktails—and even more so when they're paired with pattern. That's why we were delighted to see our very own Piedmont (Indigo) taking up residence at The Bungalow Club, where Chef Andrew Kraft is serving up some of Minneapolis' tastiest fare. A laid back, approachable atmosphere, handmade pastas, and out-of-this-world cocktails? Sign us up! We caught up with The Bungalow Club's general manager, Jeremiah Dittmann, to chat about the intersection of food and design, how he finds hygge, and, of course, cocktails (including a recipe for the perfect warm-weather cocktail!).
Photo via The Bungalow Club
Hygge & West: Tell us a bit about your background and how you ended up in the restaurant business.
Jeremiah Dittmann: I started in the business when I was in high school—my first job was as a busser at an Old Country Buffet in Onalaska, Wisconsin. I worked my way up and have done pretty much every position in a restaurant, both front- and back-of-house. My wife and I moved to New York City in 2008 and I was blessed to gain employment at Gramercy Tavern, which is where I would attribute most of my training. Since then I've worked at some of the best restaurants in Minneapolis and even had a three-year run working for OpenTable, the online reservation company, which allowed me to see the operations at hundreds of different restaurants all across the country.
H&W: How did The Bungalow Club come to be? What kind of atmosphere did you try to create?
JD: The Bungalow Club is the primary vision of Chef Andrew Kraft, who is also my brother-in-law. Andrew went to the Culinary Institute of America in Upstate New York and then spent many years working through the kitchens of New York and Minneapolis. We wanted to create an atmosphere that was fun and approachable, with made-from-scratch cuisine and an elevated wine and beverage program. We pay attention to the details and our service reflects that, but we do it in a comfortable, homey environment.
H&W: Your menu focuses a lot on handmade pastas. Why is it important to you to make pastas from scratch?
JD: We believe that doing things the right way takes a little extra effort and time and our food and beverage program reflects that. Plus, handmade pasta just tastes better!
H&W: Food and design have a lot in common. How do you think the design of a space influences the food, and vice versa?
JD: It was really important to us to create a comfortable atmosphere; we want our guests to feel like they're entertaining guests in their own homes. We believe that when our guests are comfortable, it elevates their dining experience and makes our offerings more enjoyable.
H&W: Why did you choose Piedmont (Indigo) for The Bungalow Club? What do you think it adds to the space?
JD: We went back and forth for months on which pattern to choose. We wanted it to make a statement, but also bring the space together to enhance our comfortable environment. Our designer, Emily Hjelm from Weft and Warp Styling, helped us narrow down the choice and we landed on Piedmont (Indigo) as we thought it would really bring out the warm wood tones that our restaurant offers. We wanted to bring a Minnesota element into the design as well and the naturescape of the pattern really hits a home run regarding that. The pattern really makes it feel like we're wrapping a warm blanket around our bar space.
H&W: Tell us about the Mezcal Paloma, which we think is the perfect warm weather cocktail. How did you come up with it and why does it fit the season? Can you share your recipe?
JD: Our bar manager, Jon Robinson, wanted to add a little bit of spice to the original recipe, so he infused fresh jalapeños with Banhez Mezcal. We top it off with local hibiscus kombucha from Deane's Kombucha, which adds a subtle savory element. The resulting cocktail is spicy and refreshing with perfect balance. Come visit us on our patio today to try one!
1.5 oz jalapeño-infused Banhez Mezcal
.75 oz Cocchi Rosa
.75 oz citric grapefruit juice (mix 500 ml fresh grapefruit juice with 20 g citric acid)
.5 oz simple syrup
2 dashes of salt solution
2 oz Deane's hibiscus-grapefruit kombucha
Combine all ingredients except kombucha in a mixing tin with ice, lightly shake and pour over ice in a highball or Collins glass. Top with kombucha and garnish with a lime wheel, fresh jalapeño slice, and a green-and-white bamboo straw. Enjoy!
H&W: Hygge is all about finding joy and coziness in life's small moments and simple pleasures. How do you create a feeling of hygge at work and at home?
JD: Our lives are all so busy in these modern times and we believe that slowing down for a few hours a day with friends or family is a great way to escape the rigors of life. Plus, when you do that in a comfortable space where your every need is attended to, it lets you pay attention to the things that matter: family and friendships.