Layline Brings New Fine Dining Experience to Excelsior

by | Feb 2024

Layline Restaurant

Photos: Eliesa Johnson of The Restaurant Project

Excelsior restaurant aims to surprise and delight.

In the world of sailboat racing, a layline is an imaginary line to follow to get the boat from Point A to Point B to clear the mark on the correct side. In the world of fine dining, Layline in Excelsior may be the perfect place to take that special someone and clear the mark on the correct side this Valentine’s Day.

Layline opened last July at 301 Water St. in the former Gary’s First Class Car Care, bringing its elevated dining experience to downtown Excelsior. “We felt it was in need of something sophisticated,” says Aaron Switz, founder and CEO of Innerbloom Hospitality. (Layline is Innerbloom Hospitality’s fifth restaurant in the Lake Minnetonka area.)

Layline features an eclectic menu of curated, contemporary American fare. “The beauty of this one is we’re not a certain genre,” Switz says. “It’s balanced, approachable. This menu reflects what we think we’re really good at.”

Innerbloom Hospitality teamed up with Argentinian chef Daniel Del Prado on Layline as he continues to lend his influence on restaurants around the Twin Cities. Layline represents the group’s and the chef’s third partnership following previous collaborations on Macanda and Josefina in Wayzata. “He’s really, really talented,” says Switz of Del Prado. “He brings great perspective.”

Switz says the restaurant is a strong representation of what each of them do well. Seafood has a large presence on Layline’s menu with options for everything from oysters, mussels and scallops to calamari, salmon and sea bass. The menu also has a selection of salads, pastas and sandwiches. Switz says the plan is to revise the menu four to five times a year to showcase seasonal products.

Oysters from Layline

Layline’s menu also brings a modern twist to both familiar dishes and drinks. “We’re pretty unique on the food and beverage side,” Switz says.

The calamari and rock shrimp appetizer comes with a Thai dipping sauce to give it an Asian flare. The carbonara features smoked spaghetti, and the ribeye includes a salsa verde.

Drinks skew to the feminine side, Switz says, but they, too, play with expectations. The Gimlet is flavored with dill and white chocolate. The Cosmojito is cranberry-rhubarb. And Layline’s signature martini—dubbed the Forest Floor Martini—has spruce tips and rosemary with a mushroom vermouth.

The uniqueness of the food and drink is matched by the restaurant’s interior. Switz says the eclectic tropical design with its bold palm wallpaper gives him White Lotus vibes. “We wanted it to be unexpected,” he says. “The space has got to be beautiful. You’ve got to feel good when you enter.”

The only remnants of the historic Gary’s First Class Car Care are the garage doors, which allow Layline to add to its 80 interior seats with another 50 or so on the patio during warmer weather.

The relatively intimate space helps staff create a memorable experience for diners. Switz says they pride themselves on good hospitality and good execution. “We take a lot of time when we open,” he says. “We want to get things just right.”

Due to seasonal menu changes, call Layline, or visit the restaurant’s website for up-to-date dining and beverage options.

301 Water St., Excelsior; 952.856.8003
Instagram: @laylinerestaurant


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