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Bartmann Group’s Heritage Move

Marty and Darrold Glanvill of Sunrise Four Mill

Kim Bartmann’s restaurant group has made another gutsy move. All of her restaurants are using 100 percent heritage grains in the majority of their baked items, plus pastas, which means that people with gluten sensitivity are able to eat items like Pat Tap’s Bloody Mary bread and the brioche at Red Stag.

“As far as I know, this is the broadest local inclusion of heritage grains in day-to-day production,” says Mary Quinn McCallum of Field Guide, which does strategic communications for businesses with a social or sustainable component to their mission. “Which is very Kim Bartmann. Not many restaurateurs have a farmer on their payroll.”

Because heritage grains are chemically unaltered and have been around for thousands of years, people with gluten sensitivity are able to eat them, but not people with celiac disease. 

The experiment started two years ago at Gigi’s Cafe with the carrot cake, Jacob Schumack, general manager and chef at Gigi’s, says. Gigi’s serves as the commissary for the Bartmann Group’s nine restaurants—which is why Schumack says, his real title is commissary wrangler. 

After extensive research to find the right partner, they chose Sunrise Flour Mills, out of North Branch, Minnesota. In addition to liking their products, their story impressed him. “They’re lovers of grain” and owner Darrold Glanvill’s story about the effects of consuming so much “bad stuff that he was getting sick” driving him to come up with a solution was compelling. The grains themselves have a story as well. The white senora grain, for example, was originally brought to American by European monks to make communion wafers, Schumack says. 

It took lots of trial and error to get the recipes right. Because the flour is “more alive” than processed flour, it has more spring and requires adjusting the recipe’s  liquid contents. 

When they rolled out the carrot cake to all the restaurants, Schumack says he had a server ask him why the carrot cake was different. Worried that they had made a mistake, he asked her what they had gotten wrong. She reassured him that what she was noticing was a “more lush mouth-feel” and a moister cake. 

Moving to heritage grains does come with a cost. The extra expense is due to its limited availability because fewer acres are planted. “But once it’s in the shop it’s not more laborious,” Schumack clarifies. And a commitment to health is a Bartmann trademark.

And on the upside, if more people can order your bread basket or a plate of pasta, check averages rise. 

Pasta made from heritage grains means
people with gluten sensitivities can enjoy
twirling a forkful.

The carrot cake that started the changeover
of menu items at the Bartmann Group’s nine restaurants.


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