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It's a farm-fresh family thing: Roasted, Baked in DL set to open

Roasted Pub & Eatery is a new establishment on Washington Avenue, which will open in late Dec. or early January. Inside, the restaurant there is a bakery, Baked in DL. The two establishments are working together, owned and managed by a family, to bring fresh, high-quality eats to the Detroit Lakes area.

If it seems a little confusing, all the signs for different businesses on one Washington Avenue building, it may be time to get it straightened out. Not only is the new restaurant an amalgam of foods and drinks working together to create a high-end and health-conscious offerings, but a mixture of family members are also running it.

Two sets of sisters are behind the new Roasted Pub & Eatery and Baked in DL, which is set to open in late December or early January. Christy Thorns and Gayle Jaeger are sisters and co-owners of the Roasted portion of the business. Then, Jaeger's daughters, Jesika and McKenzie Jaeger, are also involved: Jesika is Roasted's general manager, while McKenzie is the baker in the family and the owner of the "Baked in DL" portion of the business.

"We're kind of a woman-driven company," laughed Thorns, adding, "The overall concept is really this kind of artisan craft--artisan bakery, craft coffee, high-end cocktails, farm-to-table food, kind of thing."

But it all started with McKenzie's bakery. After graduating from the Art Institute in Minneapolis with an Associate's Degree in baking and pastry, Mckenzie knew she wanted to open a bakery, but she wasn't quite ready.

"After a couple years of working in other bakeries and learning how some people have their ways, I learned how I'd want to do mine, and then I decided that I really want to get this going," McKenzie said.

So she started looking for a bakery space.

"We were just looking for a little bakery over here (in Detroit Lakes)," said McKenzie, adding that when they were shown the Washington Avenue building, they knew they could do more.

"Mom (Gayle Jaeger) has always wanted to open a restaurant, too," Jesika said.

A few years ago the family had sold their Fargo residence and moved to a farm just outside of Detroit Lakes, where they began to grow vegetables and raise chickens. They knew they wanted to get involved and help educate the community about good food, which turned into an idea for a restaurant that offers a little bit of everything.

"We're all members of the new MANNA Food Co-op that's opening up. We talked to the lady (Wendy Gordon) there and worked with meeting some of the same farmers that are going to be supplying the co-op," said Thorns, adding that the local farmers will supply the restaurant, as well as food grown on their family farm.

Each family member also has their own talents pertaining to the food industry, and they hope to capitalize on them.

While McKenzie will be in charge the bakery side, she will also be supplying the desserts for the Roasted side.

Thorns, while co-owning the Roasted restaurant, also has a coffee background, which will help with the coffee bar that will be in McKenzie's bakery.

"We're going to actually roast coffee, so we have a coffee roaster coming," said Thorns. "And that (the coffee portion of the business), like Kenzie's Baked in DL, is a stand-alone business as well, so both of the businesses will be located in the Roasted restaurant, but we'll also have outside wholesale accounts. We kind of say it's three businesses."

McKenzie and Jesika even have a cousin, Jordan Jaeger, who is going to be the executive chef.

Jordan has a lengthy background in the food industry, working at the Ground Round, helping them to change their menu around, as well as working at the The Toasted Frog in Grand Forks for the last six years.

"He likes to be super creative, and have free range," McKenzie said. "It's kind of fun, because you never know what you're going to have. The menu will change every week based on what's in season."

As for utilizing family managerial skills, Gayle is co-owning Roasted with her sister, and Jesika will be acting general manager of the restaurant.

"I went to school for management and business--like my mom did--and I've just...always been interested in that," Jesika said. "I've never fully managed before, so it will be a challenge, but it's what I feel like I really want to do."

As for the food, Roasted will be doing "a great woodfired pizza" as a staple, but Jordan will also be creating new entrees each week with all farm-fresh, locally-grown ingredients.

"And then we're also going to have a full bar," Thorns said, adding that the beers will be locally crafted from Minnesota and North Dakota, and they are working with Small Lot Minnesota to source from small wine producers around the world, focusing on Italian wines because of the pizza.

"And then a full cocktail menu, like specialty cocktails," Thorns said. "Because, you know, in Detroit Lakes, there's really not a place where you can go and just have, like, a really fine cocktail."

The ambiance of the "cozy place" will match the food, with local artists' paintings featured on the walls and local musicians playing every Friday and Saturday night.

"The plan was to play old black-and-white movies at the bar--a projector set up...We just kind of like that feel. We're not going for that sports bar feel," Thorns said.

And if all goes well, the crew could be adding more family to the business.

"If we're successful--because the developers, they're awesome--they would support us tearing down this garage (behind the building) and building a taproom and rooftop bar (which) is our ultimate goal," Thorns said.

"My dad and boyfriend really like to brew their own beer, so they really want to get into that more," said McKenzie.