The family-owned business opens new location
Mallards restaurant, a family-owned business, opened their fourth location on Tuesday, June 21, 2021, at 2300 W 80 1/2 St. in Bloomington, adding to the communities they’re a part of in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Zach Suddath, son of the owners, David and Gail, is one of the managers for the restaurants. His sister, Olivia, and brother, Blake, are involved with the family business as well.
David has over 30 years of experience in the food industry when he spent time as a regional vice president at Buca di Beppo and as a general manager at Cheesecake Factory prior to opening their first Mallards location in Bayport, Wisconsin, which has since pernamently closed.
Zach said his father has been looking to expand the business again since their third location opened in Inver Grove Heights in early 2020. The Bloomington location is a renovated Red Robin that now features patio seating.
Zach said the staff at the new location is “great” after being trained into service and eased into the restaurant with a soft open to help them acclimate. His sister, Olivia, is getting the kitchen started with learning recipes and streamlining processes for future success since she has culinary training.
He said it was scary to see restaurants closing this past year because of the pandemic indoor dining restrictions.The pandemic made it difficult for companies to stay in business, Zach said. “Us growing is awesome right now.”
Zach said the pandemic could have hindered their progress, however, his father said they have to roll with the punches in the industry. He remembers his father coming up with ideas to adapt the menu to family-style or offer specials on a shortened menu.
Patrons to the new location can expect a menu that is relatively the same as the Forest Lake, Inver Grove Heights and New Richmond locations
Zach said the menu originated from a blending of cuisines without a direction or culinary theme except the idea of “river food.” He said the original inspiration for their menu came from his father’s travels to the east and west coasts, down south to New Orleans and his childhood, which transformed into a cajun blend of meals.
They landed on a southern seafood and steak-inspired menu, pulling from recipes in their family according to Zach. The slow braised beef item on the menu is how his grandma would make pot roast for his father on Sundays when he was a boy.
Remaking old family recipes to renew and sell at their restaurants helped them establish another business venture online.
The ghost kitchen
While restaurants closed due to COVID-19 protocols, the Mallards team combined the restaurant’s fried chicken sandwich with an old family pickle recipe to start a ghost kitchen.
A ghost kitchen is “a restaurant within a restaurant,” said Zach. So, along with the opening of a new Mallards location, Zach and the team perfected their fried chicken recipe and started Charley Cat Chicken to run out of their restaurants. Charley Cat Chicken is a restaurant that is only an online ordering service, but it brought in extra revenue for the restaurants when the indoor dining was closed, Zach said. They continue to keep the virtual restaurant with fried chicken fingers and sandwiches going in the future.
“I made my granddad’s pickles — a handwritten recipe that we had — my granddad used to make pickles, my mom’s dad. So, we made the pickles and we put them on the sandwich and it made the sandwich even better,” Zach said.
Also, he said they are breaking ground for a new location in Shakopee which they expect to have up and running in another year.