Case Study: Tattersall Distillery


River Falls, WI

Kitchen Design & Bar Design

Renovations are nothing new to the foodservice design team at Boelter. However, the Tattersall Distillery project was more than a renovation, it was a transformation. The talented team at Boelter Premier helped turn a former department store into a state-of-the-art entertainment venue.


It all started when the owners of Minneapolis-based Tattersall Distillery wanted to expand operations. In looking to add a restaurant and event space, they found the perfect location – a former Shopko building in River Falls, Wisc. The building had the space for everything the client wanted, from a restaurant to a distillery. But it was not designed for that purpose when it was originally constructed.

“We were starting from square one in this space. We walked into a store which was full of gondola shelving, eye glass cases and even the pharmacy counter,” says Rick Palm, project manager, Boelter. “The building had to be totally gutted before we could start, which included removing one of the support columns to make room for a ballroom able to accommodate up to 400 guests.”

Including the ballroom, the new facility now includes a full restaurant, an amphitheater, a tasting bar, a cocktail training center, a prep/catering kitchen, a retail store, and the heart of the business – the distillery, where gin is made right on site. Working together, Morrissey Hospitality and Boelter made use of the entire 75,000 square foot building as well as some of the area outside for outdoor seating at the restaurant and the outdoor pavilion of the amphitheater to turn this into a destination point for the area.


Creative Solutions to Space Challenges

The wide-open expanse of the former department store lent plenty of room for creativity in design, but it was not without its challenges. The first matter of business was locating each element within the space. The restaurant is right up front, convenient to parking and easy to see from the road, and the loading dock is in back to accommodate delivery trucks. Rather than carting everything to the restaurant’s kitchen, Palm designed a large kitchen on the backside of the building which includes plenty of space for all the storage needed, from bulk food pantries to walk-in coolers and freezers. This kitchen is equipped to serve all the necessary catering functions for events, as well as serving as the prep kitchen for the restaurant. Flat carts, sheet pan racks, hot boxes and hot plate cabinets make it easy to transport the food to the front of the building.

One of the highlights of the restaurant is the beer tower, which has 32 taps. Specialty cocktails made from Tattersall Distillery’s spirits make up many of the 32 options in the tower. “Tattersall’s mixologist was instrumental in helping us get everything just right with the bars, including the system and the mix of CO2 and nitrogen,” Palm says.

Once the plan was laid out, the challenge came in where to run the lines to the beer tower and the other two bars in the building. “We had to have really long lines for all the cocktails, beer and soda, and with it being an open building, the only option was to run them along the ceiling,” says Keith Reardon, vice president of operations, Morrissey Hospitality. “Rick worked diligently to get everything in the location it needed to be, navigating the long runs and hiding them in the open ceiling.”

Kinley Hotel bar

Planning for Entertainment – Indoors and Out

Expanding the business model to include events was one of the priorities for the new location, and the outdoor amphitheater makes this venue unique to the area. From concerts to outdoor weddings, the amphitheater was sure to get a lot of traffic, and Palm designed the area with that in mind. The turf recommended by the design team at Boelter allows for easy maintenance year-round. Four separate bars created to serve both the amphitheater outdoors and the ballroom on the inside brings added convenience to the location.

“In many facilities such as this you’ll see portable bars to save money up front from not having to purchase and install so many permanent fixtures,” said Keith Reardon, Vice President of Operations, Morrissey Hospitality. “But Rick’s insight and experience helped the client see the benefit of designing each space with its own bar. Not only does it save labor, eliminating the need to set up with each event, it also showcases the fine spirits.”

The amphitheater isn’t the only place for outdoor fun. The restaurant includes outdoor seating with picnic tables sourced by Boelter and built in southern Minneapolis. Boelter’s turnkey solutions include sourcing furniture in addition to foodservice equipment. “Being a part of the concept and design from the beginning really helps us understand the client’s desires and tastes, giving us an advantage when sourcing furniture,” Palm says. For example, Palm recommended adding a diamond tuft to the booth seating in the restaurant for a classier look.

Boelter’s There Every Step of the Way

While all of the foodservice and event spaces deserve accolades for their beautiful aesthetic and functional design, the focus of the entire operation is the distillery. Just outside the restaurant, guests can sit at a long window and view the stills where the gin is made, seeing firsthand the process of making spirits. It’s not only a unique element in the world of foodservice design, it also posed its share of challenges. Thankfully, Palm’s perseverance and ability to remain flexible throughout the project helped conquer such hurdles as having to readjust and redesign the distillery, viewing area and tasting room to meet the demands of the fire marshall. The spirits are made in a process that’s highly flammable, so the increased risk of explosion meant the facility had to be designed around a firewall. The architect found a way to incorporate that brick wall into the design in an integral way, still allowing for a large window where guests can see the distillery at work.

Boelter’s turnkey service mindset also means that the team is on-site throughout the process, helping ensure the timelines are met with equipment procurement, and communicating with subcontrators to get things in place to make equipment installation run smoothly. “We met regularly with plumbers and electricians to make sure the mechanical aspects were done correctly. From the custom-built beer tower to the ‘building-within-a-building’ of the distillery, there were a lot of pieces of this particular project that needed oversight from the design aspect,” Palm says.

What started out as a dream by the team at Tattersall Distillery is now a reality, thanks in part to the creativity of the foodservice design and equipment procurement team at Boelter. “Boelter’s contributions were key to the success of the project when it came to populating the spaces, planning for labor savings and getting the foodservice aspect in place,” Reardon says.

For additional details on this project, check out our Foodservice Equipment & Supplies Magazine Design of the Month feature here.

Read more about Rick Palm and see some of his extensive project portfolio.

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