Editor's note: Last week, Jason Walker with Maple Grove Patch explored the food at in Maple Grove. This week, Jason chats with Dehn's Country Manor chef and co-owner Shawne McCarthy about his restaurant background and the establishment. Check back next week for a look at another Maple Grove restaurant.
Maple Grove Patch: How did you get into the restaurant business?
Shawne McCarthy: Back in 1982, I took a job as a dishwasher/bus person in Princeton, Minn., at a little place called Welcomers Garden Restaurant and Coffeehouse. I’ve been here at Dehn’s since 2001, just a little over 10 years now.
Maple Grove Patch: Have you been chef all that time?
Shawne McCarthy: I’ve been assistant chef, the chef that had been here the past 35 years is stepping down (Jim Johnson), he still works part-time about 20 hours a week. He’s kind of semi-retired. And then I’ve kind of taken over the full-time spot.
Maple Grove Patch: What do people like to eat at Dehn’s?
Shawne McCarthy: We’re really well-known for our prime rib, dinner fare, walleye, steaks, chicken, ribs - we’re really well-known for our ribs. About eight years ago I introduced breakfast on the weekends. We have a new slow cooker that we use and we have a special blend of herbs and seasonings that we season our prime rib with, and of course we try to buy the best beef. That is a good starting point, to have a top-grade prime rib. We herb crust it with garlic and onion powder and Italian seasonings and pepper, and we slow roast it in the oven for four hours.
Maple Grove Patch: It’s nice to blend breakfast and dinner, isn’t it, with dishes like your prime rib hash?
Shawne McCarthy: It’s kind of a neat component of this business. A lot of times we’ll have them walking out the door at night telling us they’re going to see us in the morning, because dinner is such a whole different venue than breakfast, we will, we’ll get them at night, and by golly gee, they’re here at 10 a.m. the next morning for breakfast. I’ve seen the nighttime business and the daytime business kind of scratch each other’s backs.
Maple Grove Patch: What does Dehn’s mean to the community of Maple Grove?
Shawne McCarthy: I would have to classify us as the social community hub of this area - 1958 is when this started, so that’s 53 years ago. What makes this place unique is its non-corporate feel, and there’s a real strong family feel to this restaurant, not only with us employees but with our customers. It’s a family-based business. You see younger kids coming in with grandparents and great-grandparents.
You see multi-generational gatherings here. Mike (Dehn, co-owner) has been doing these rhubarb crisps, doing some homemade desserts. You can smell that stuff. I’m big on that kind of thing. People walk in, they can smell those ribs in the oven. That means it’s homemade. Pancakes: I don’t get a pancake mix, I have flour in the back and use buttermilk. I’m like that.
Maple Grove Patch: Any plans for the future?
Shawne McCarthy: Just keep plugging away. There’s always something new coming up that needs to be resolved in a place that’s been around for 53 years, there’s always a fix-it problem, but that’s the restaurant business.