Say hello to Bleu Dog
WELCH — The opening of Bleu Dog Cafe is fulfilling a dream for Britton and Jenny Good. Since the two met, starting a restaurant has been a shared goal.
The opportunity and timing turned out to be just right for the husband and wife, after Britton worked in fine dining kitchens coast to coast across the United States, to settle down with their young family near their native Midwestern states.
"We caught it just at the right time," Jenny said.
Longtime Trout Scream Cafe owner Peggy Hansen was looking to sell, while Britton and Jenny were browsing locations in the area this spring.
Prior to their 2015 move to Red Wing, the Goods were living in St. Paul. During trips to visit Jenny's family in La Crosse, Wis., the Red Wing community caught their eye.
"We were looking to buy a house and start our family," Jenny said. "We just fell in love with Red Wing."
Farm to fork
In 2016, Britton and Jenny began a catering business, Le Chien Bleu.
"We've created a nice group of clients," Britton said, acknowledging a good relationship with the Anderson Center and various events held on their grounds.
The naming of Bleu Dog Cafe serves as an extension of Le Chien Bleu, which the pair will continue alongside the restaurant.
Throughout his culinary training at Chicago's Kendall College and executive chef positions around the country, Britton said fresh foods have always been a staple in his menus.
"I've always been big with farm to fork," he said. "Especially during our time in San Diego, when there were more fresh ingredients year round. The quality is much higher with local foods."
While developing the Bleu Dog menu, Britton formed relationships with area farmers.
"Beyond the fresh food, it's important to stimulate the economy for our local farmers," he said.
The Bleu Dog Cafe features a breakfast and lunch menu.
"It's something new and fresh, especially when it comes to lunch and breakfast," Jenny said. "Britton is really creative chef."
Soups, salads, sandwiches, egg dishes and sweet and savory breakfast plates can be found on the menu. Every Saturday and Sunday, a plated brunch menu will be featured.
A few of Hansen's most popular dishes from the Trout Scream menu have remained.
"We kept the Gary and the Cajun. I think there would be an uprise if we didn't," Jenny said with a laugh.
The popular Chocolate Shoppe ice cream was also kept for Cannon Valley Trail bikers and Welch Mill tubing traffic.
Britton and Jenny said they are planning on introducing dinner hours in the late winter/early spring months next year.
"Once people have breakfast and lunch, they'll be excited for what's to come," Jenny said.
With his many years of fine dining experience, Britton said he feels dinner is his strong suit.
"I love working with fresh fish, lamb, elk and other gaming meats," he said. "Fresh, homemade pasta, as well."
A beer and wine license is in the works for Bleu Dog to be able to serve alcohol later this month. Another welcome addition, the Goods said, is the ability for the restaurant to accept credit cards. They are also making the outdoor patio seating in the rear of the restaurant more available.
The building that houses the restaurant is nearly 100 years old. Initially a bank, then general store for many years, the historic building adds to the cozy feel of the cafe. Britton and Jenny have plans to incorporate an old safe, potentially renovating it into a restroom in the near future.
"We're easing our way into it, but we really have a great vision for this space," Jenny said.
The Bleu Dog Cafe is open Tuesday through Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. For menus and more information, visit Bleu Dog's Facebook page.