MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Coalition, a new restaurant opening in early June, will present an inspired menu in a casually sophisticated setting on downtown Excelsior’s historic Water Street. Coalition is the brainchild of Chef Eli Wollenzien and will reflect his passion for cooking with a diverse and locally sourced menu.
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“Excelsior is a town known for its hospitality and friendly neighborhood feel. I’m thrilled to be opening Coalition in a setting where I can get to know the guests and be a part of the community while exploring local foods,” said Wollenzien. “Coalition is about the combined efforts of chefs, cooks, servers, farmers, vineyards, and brewers and I see that partnership extending to our guests by providing the highest quality food and service in a warm and welcoming environment.”
Coalition’s menu will feature classic American dishes like beef, pork and walleye, with creative preparations and presentations influenced by world cuisines and reflecting the expanded palates of today. Unique cultural ingredients like yuzu, bao buns, hominy, and white miso will add unexpected flavors to classic American dishes. This global perspective will be brought home through locally sourced grass-fed ribeye, kalbi marinated pork loin, roasted chicken, sustainably raised salmon and halibut, homemade pastas, and farm fresh dairy, vegetables, grains, and proteins.
Chef and owner Eli Wollenzien's experience as Corporate Chef for CRAVE Restaurants and Blue Plate Group (Freehouse, Edina Grill, The Lowry) has prepared him well for opening his own place, but it is getting back in the kitchen to craft such dishes as a sweet pea bruschetta with locally farmed honey or lamb sugo with locally raised lamb that has him most excited about Coalition.
Wollenzien is partnering with general manager Deacon Eells (formerly of Woodbury Cafe). They have a long, storied history growing up together in small town River Falls, Wisconsin, then moving and immersing themselves in the Twin Cities restaurant scene, and now settling into Excelsior’s close knit community for their first solo venture.
Coalition is located in downtown Excelsior in an historic brick building dating from 1886. Creating a natural evolution of the building was one of the goals of designer Kara Karpenske of Kamarron Design, Inc. (KDI) of Edina. New floors, booths, oversized chandeliers, and industrial lighting will enhance the look of the exposed original brick. Antiqued mirrored panels will set off the white marble design bar top and warm toned leather bar stools will create an inviting space to enjoy Chef Wollenzien's crafted cocktail menu regionally sourced from such boutique distilleries as 45th Parallel Vodka, North Shore Gin #11, Cedar Ridge Iowa Bourbon, and locally produced Bittercube Bitters. A large selection of wine and Minnesota sourced tap beers will complement the full bar.
Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, Coalition hopes to become a neighborhood fixture and a Lake Minnetonka destination for casually sophisticated dining.