Photography provided by Bartmann Group

The name Kim Bartmann is inarguably one of the most recognizable in the Twin Cities food scene. The outspoken restaurateur with nine powerhouse dining establishments all across town recently talked shop with WCCO Radio’s Roshini Rajkumar. Here are 5 takeaways from her Real Leaders with Roshini episode.



Red Stag was the first LEED-certified eatery in Minnesota.

A sustainability advocate, Bartmann pioneered the LEED movement in the state of Minnesota with the opening of Red Stag. After she purchased the Northeast Minneapolis warehouse, LEED certification supported sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

If forced to pick one, Tiny Diner is Bartmann’s favorite of her restaurants.

Calling it her “happy face” restaurant, she loves the ambiance of Tiny Diner, especially the large patio surrounded by gardens. And with warm weather on its way, it’s hardly a surprise she picked this Whittier slice of paradise.

Employee happiness is the key to good service.

Ever had a dining experience where the stellar service nearly outshone the delicious fare? Bartmann believes that a happy staff is required to achieve excellence on all fronts, so she’s constantly researching new and innovative hospitality training methods. It’s no wonder that all of her eateries are considered neighborhood staples.

Culinary hopefuls should explore all aspects of the food industry.

Bartmann passionately encourages those hoping to enter the food industry to explore the vast array of opportunities available. Noting that apprenticeships in restaurants provide clarity and oftentimes leads, she believes in the power of learning and growth at all stages of one’s career.

Lastly, everyone loves a martini.

On the topic of crafting a great bar program, Rajkumar posed the question, “If you were a cocktail, what would you be?” To which Bartmann promptly responded, “Everyone loves a martini,” adding that it would be made with gin. No one can argue with that.