Since 2000, when Stone Ridge Golf Club in Stillwater, Minn., opened, chef Ron Bohnert has built a hidden culinary gem. “I thought it would be a couple-year gig to get them going, but I’ve wound up staying 14,” Bohnert joked. “It’s a pretty good gig; I run it like it was my own.”
The club grew and Bohnert’s skills helped develop a premier catering and banquet business. Two years ago, the club redesigned its dining area and launched Danny’s Bar & Grill—open to the public—with a menu that reflects Bohnert’s lengthy global-food resume, including his award-winning fish and seafood dishes.
Prior to joining Stone Ridge, Bohnert worked for 23 years for Radisson hotels, beginning his career at the old Minneapolis Radisson. He worked for 17 years as the executive chef at the St. Paul Radisson, and along the way opened Radisson’s Ciboney resort in Jamaica. Bohnert is also likely the most decorated chef in the Twin Cities when it comes to competitions, with multiple gold medals in American Culinary Federation competitions, both regionally and nationally. Despite the skillset, Bohnert’s cooking philosophy remains simple: “We buy really good food and try not to ruin it,” he said.
Saint Agnes is honored to supply Bohnert with, among other items, sesame lavash for his appetizer and banquet options.
How would you categorize Danny’s?
We surprise people, we’re an American supper club, and we try to have some fun with it being we’re in a golf club. We’re one of the few golf courses that you can make a call (to the clubhouse) at the turn and get a to-go order for the cart—a shrimp cocktail with fiery sauce to go with your drinks.
But we have that steakhouse feature, we hand cut 80 percent of our steaks, all the tenderloins, ribeyes, etc., and we accent that with fresh seafood, sustainably sourced. We follow the Monterrey Bay Seafood Watch Program. I’ve always done that, and we try to educate our customers (about that). We have Hawaiian Pompano, but we also have my pecan crusted walleye, an award winner.
Are customers’ expectations at the golf club changing like elsewhere in the dining scene?
I like to cook like I would for competitions, but we don’t get to do that (style of food) here every night. The food here is really nice, but you have to know your clientele. They want a nice protein, a nice starch, etc., but they are branching out into different flavors. We’ve got a wagyu kobe burger, but we also do sushi-grade tuna with an avocado salsa, and serve a chorizo queso fundido appetizer.
I picked up a Cook Shack smoker from Oklahoma; that adds another dimension to the menu. I do a salmon dish that is smoked at the time of service. It’s warm, it falls apart, it’s fantastic.
How have eating habits changed when it comes to bread?
We don’t do the bread basket. At the restaurant, we do bread on request, and the server prompts the table. We do have more gluten-free bread on hand—we try to honor requests for that.