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1910 Grille venturing into locally sourced food through Farm to Fork progressive dinner

By Jean Caspers-Simmet
simmet@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 11/28/2012 8:29 AM

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1910 Grille

Located in the Historic Park Inn Hotel, 15 West State Street, Mason City

Known for risottos and five-star service in a comfortable atmosphere. "We're not stuffy," said Noto. Entrees range from $16 to $32.

Contact them at (641) 422-0015. Website is http://www.stoneycreekinn.com/hotel/travel/masoncity-parkinn/info/info4.do

MASON CITY, Iowa — 1910 Grille owner Steve Noto and chef Kurt Nyguard think the upcoming Farm to Fork progressive all local dinner is something famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright would have appreciated.

The 1910 Grille, which opened in May, is located in the Historic Park Inn Hotel, which was designed by Wright. The hotel opened in 2011 after an $18.5 million restoration.

"Wright was very much a naturalist," Noto said. "Much of his architecture was designed to bring the outside in. I think he would have endorsed this."

The 1910 Grille will lead off the progressive dinner Nov. 14 by serving an appetizer, soup and salad. The entree will be served at Chop Restaurant, just a few blocks away. The evening will conclude with dessert at the Decker House Bed and Breakfast, a few blocks from Chop.

Nyguard said that the dinner will be 1910 Grille's first major venture into locally sourced ingredients.

"It's a nice way to introduce this," he said.

Nyguard been working with Jan Libbey, coordinator of Healthy Harvest of North Iowa, to procure local items and he hopes to incorporate more locally grown foods into the menu on a regular basis. He's purchased items from Stillwater Greenhouse at Orchard as well as a grower from Lyle, Minn. He has been in contact with Perfect Circle at Lake Mills as well.

"I'm looking at this as a way to meet growers and find out if they can provide me with a consistent supply of the products I need," Nyguard said. "It also challenges me to work within their parameters."

Nyguard would like to find a local supplier of deer, beef steaks, pork and free range chicken. Butternut squash, potatoes, salad greens, fresh herbs and cheese are other local products that interest him.

Noto owns the hotel business in the Historic Park Inn. The building is owned by the nonprofit organization Wright on the Park.

He wanted the 1910 Grille to represent Prairie architecture with a modern feel.

The restaurant includes an open kitchen, which Noto designed himself.

"We can put people up at the chef's table and they can interact with the chef and watch him prepare their meals," Roto said. "It's something unique to the area."

Nyguard is a Leland native and a graduate of the Arts Institutes International Minnesota culinary program. He worked for Wolfgang Puck Catering and for Grandma's Restaurant Company in Duluth. He also took architecture courses, so when he learned that Noto was looking for a chef, he called him.

"We have amazing staff that is willing to execute the intricate things that we want to do," Nyguard said. "Things are going well."

Nyguard's Prairie Mushroom Risotto, roasted butternut squash puree, and roasted black bean and roasted red pepper humuses with fresh pita chips are popular. Shrimp, grilled salmon, New York strip and filet mignon are on the menu, and desserts are creme brulee, tiramisu and chocolate molten cake.

Originally from Minneapolis, Noto has lived in Mason City for 13 years. He has a background in hotel design, construction and management as well as residential construction.

"I designed the layout of the restaurant including all the cooking equipment myself and then I set out to find a chef to use it the way it was designed," Noto said. "Kurt has brought a real creative element to the menu. He has some excellent menu items that are unique to north Iowa."

"Steve did a really nice job," Nyguard said. "The open kitchen works great."

Several times a week he has customers who sit at the chef's table and watch him work.

"They're interested in trying different dining styles," he said. "They will ask me what I recommend, and I've been able to advise them on wine and craft beer selections. My favorite thing is to try something new and see how receptive people are."

A recent feature is a new twist on macaroni and cheese — grilled and marinated shrimp in a gouda seafood bechamel sauce with spinach and red peppers served over campanelli noodles.

"Everything is made fresh daily," Noto said. "Kurt will not put anything on the menu unless it's dynamite."