Breakfast and Lunch are Elevated to Tasty New Heights at Wayzata’s Newest Eatery

by | Feb 2018

Benedict’s signature Oscar eggs Benedict, with snow crab and a side of hearty potatoes.

Benedict’s signature Oscar eggs Benedict, with snow crab and a side of hearty potatoes. Photo: Emily J. Davis

It’s a great time to be a foodie in Wayzata. Over the last year, several new restaurants from some of the Twin Cities’ most respected chefs have debuted in our lakeside community. Whether it’s fresh sushi, tasty tacos or refined French cuisine, our diverse dining scene has you (and your taste buds) covered.

Even so, chef Mike Rakun felt there was still something missing.

“My wife has family in the area, and whenever we’d get together, we’d end up talking about restaurants,” he says. “One family member was always saying that Wayzata needs a good breakfast place. It’s been in the back of my head for a few years.”

Rakun, a veteran of the Twin Cities dining scene, decided to fill that niche with Benedict’s, a modern spin on a classic diner. Rakun has helmed the kitchens of several dining destinations, including Mission American Kitchen, Mill Valley Kitchen in St. Louis Park and Marin at Le Meridien Chambers hotel. In 2016, he purchased Marin and reinvented it as the casually elegant Mercy. When he was approached by the landlord of the Promenade of Wayzata development about opening a restaurant in the space, he knew it was the perfect opportunity to bring his idea for a neighborhood breakfast spot to life.

“We wanted it to be fun, comfortable and casual,” he says. He envisioned the kind of place where you can roll out of bed and stop in for strong coffee and a hearty meal that “warms the soul a little bit,” he says.

Opened in October, Benedict’s is a bright, bustling full-service restaurant serving breakfast and lunch daily from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The space, designed by Shea Inc. of Minneapolis, is airy and open, the dining room flooded with natural light from walls of windows. Rakun and his wife, Abby, and co-owner Scott Gardiner wanted the space to feel cozy and familiar yet modern, a vibe they achieved by mixing diner staples like big, comfy booths with a sunny color scheme of mint green, pastel yellow, baby blue and pops of pink.

The 140-seat dining room is broken up into different seating areas and nooks contributing to the warm, intimate feel, but the light wood floors and soaring ceiling keep the space feeling cheery and spacious. A seat at the large, semi-circle bar offers the most dynamic experience; from here, you can see pancakes being flipped and eggs scrambled in the restaurant’s open kitchen, chat with energetic bartenders pouring craft cocktails and smell the freshly brewed espresso diners can’t seem to get enough of. “People rave about it so much,” general manager Karen Ingram says of the coffee, which Benedict’s sources locally from B&W Specialty Coffee Co. in Northeast Minneapolis.

As beautiful and inviting as the space is, the true star of this breakfast joint is what’s on your plate. The menu is both timeless and on-trend, with a mix of greasy-spoon classics like steak and eggs ($18), this version elevated by a creamy house-made béarnaise sauce, and lighter, health-conscious (yet no less delicious) options like a gluten-free parfait made with fresh fruit, granola and chia, a nutrient-rich superfood loaded with protein and fiber to help you power through your day ($9).

“I learned a lot about cooking healthy and clean at Mill Valley, and it became part of my style,” Rakun says.

Of course, there is a varied selection of eggs Benedicts, each with a different twist on the original, like black beans and carnitas on the Cubano ($16) and spinach, avocado and tomato confit on the California ($14). The real standout is the Oscar ($18), which features a warm English muffin piled with a salad of succulent snow crab, celery, onion and Old Bay seasoning, house-made Dijon mustard aioli, roasted asparagus, poached eggs and hollandaise. Each is served with a generous helping of Benedict’s signature breakfast potatoes.

Between breakfast potatoes, fries, tater tots and hashbrowns, “We go through five 60-pound cases of potatoes a day,” says sous chef Alexander Davis, whose resume includes stints at the Minneapolis Golf Club and Baru 66 in Des Moines, Iowa. “Everything is made from scratch; there are no shortcuts. We’re making breakfast and lunch the best they can be.”

Those with a sweet tooth are in luck; the menu offers scratch-made pancakes in six mouthwatering varieties. The Elvis ($14) is an indulgent treat fit for the King, with three cakes covered in crispy bacon, peanut butter and drizzled with maple syrup. The strawberry Nutella ($13) is extremely popular, but Davis says the blueberry is his favorite. “We put blueberries in the pancake batter and top them with a blueberry compote and whipped cream,” he says. “You can’t go wrong.” If you still can’t decide, opt for the pancake flight ($15), a chance to mix-and-match three different pancake options.

If you’re in the mood for lunch, the hearty vegan chili ($5) and spinach, apple and walnut salad ($9) pair beautifully for a healthy yet fortifying midday meal. The sandwich selection includes a satisfying Rueben ($14), a classic B.L.T. ($13) and a grilled cheese ($10) that epitomizes Rakun’s approachable yet impeccable culinary style. Is there anything better than warm, gooey cheese paired with perfectly toasted, buttery bread? Simple, but so good.

Service is fast and friendly, and the entire staff seems genuinely happy to be at work.

“The space is so bright and sunny, and that’s the personality we’re trying to bring,” says Ingram. Benedict’s takes pride in the fact the servers are not only knowledgeable but excited to talk with guests about the menu, and that enthusiasm is contagious.

“We’re all working towards a common goal, and everyone really cares and wants to be here,” says Davis. “We all want to be busy and successful.”

“We have so many regular guests already; I know half the people that come in,” Ingram says. “It’s been nonstop fun because it is such a community restaurant; all the tables know each other.”

Fun is the name of the game here, and the cocktail menu is no exception. The full bar offers daytime staples like mimosas and bloody marys, but also a well-curated wine list and craft brews from local favorites like Bauhaus, Fulton and Steel Toe Brewing. The signature cocktail, the Pamplemousse ($11), is a refreshing blend of vodka, pomegranate simple syrup, tart grapefruit juice, soda and mint that tastes as cheerful as Benedict’s feels.

Though it’s only been open for a few months, the lakeside community has embraced Benedict’s wholeheartedly.

“We filled a niche in Wayzata that was wide open, and we feel really fortunate for all of the positive feedback,” says Ingram.

“It’s been awesome,” Rakun says.

“It’s something the community wanted, and people are happy that we’re here.”


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