A new restaurant in New Brighton is redefining the traditional concept of a sports bar.
Owner Justin Christenson said this is his first restaurant venture.
“My other business represents restaurants, so I’ve understood the landscape of restaurant marketing for a while, and it’s always intrigued me,” he said.
Mustang Tavern, located in Main Street Village, opened its doors on Sept. 6.
“New Brighton has a small town feel right outside the big city,” Christenson said. “There’s a lot of community pride, and there’s an open market for a restaurant like the Mustang Tavern.”
He said the goal is to redefine what a sports restaurant is because many times people associate that kind of establishment with neon beer signs and a “flatscreen TV jungle.”
“What you get with us is a trendy, warm decor, food made from scratch and craft cocktails and craft beers,” Christenson said.
The menu features appetizers such as Memphis brown sugar barbecue shrimp, lemon pepper calamari with lemon aioli, and artichoke dip with focaccia. There are also soups, salads, sandwiches, flatbread pizzas and burgers.
A few of the entrees include barbecue ribs with “the family’s” secret sauce, mahi mahi tacos, salmon fish and chips, and cowboy steak.
Executive Chef Dave Robinson previously worked at Murray’s Restaurant, Kincaid’s Restaurant, and Sunsets on Wayzata Bay.
“We like to say our menu is where sports meet eater-tainment,” Christenson said. “We’re trying to cater to all palates and create a dining experience that’s normally associated with fine dining, at an affordable price.”
Regarding the restaurant’s name, Christenson said the word mustang means different things to different people — whether it’s in reference to Mounds View High School, a muscle car or a horse. Mustang Tavern has left that word association up to the customer’s imagination.
The restaurant will feature dynamic happy hours, and Christenson said Mustang Tavern is trying to cater to women by way of its specials and giveaways.
Trivia nights with cash prizes will take place, and a minute to win it competition will be introduced in October.
“Our goal is to really grow our exposure and presence in the social media world,” Christenson said.
If a customer likes Mustang Tavern on Facebook, they will receive a free drink. If a customer posts a photo to their newsfeed and Mustang Tavern’s newsfeed, they’ll receive half off an appetizer.
Asked what he’s most proud of regarding his first restaurant, Christenson said it’s the leadership team he’s been able to hire —Virgil Brown and Kat Jenkins — who have extensive experience managing the front of the house and expertise in opening new establishments.
The restaurant’s grand opening on Sept. 20 will include prizes and giveaways.
A patio is expected for next spring.
“I’m really excited to be part of the community,” Christenson said. “As a business owner, I thrive in the process, and I’m excited to be going live.”
Christenson’s other business is CoFission, a marketing company that provides an engagement solution for sales professionals through web TV programs. Behind that, is a proprietary technology that automates social media syndication, as well as email and newsletter delivery.
Part of the restaurant space will cater to the services that CoFission offers.
Mustang Tavern is at 500 5th Ave. NW in New Brighton. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 11-2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Info: 651-633-9440, mustangtavern.com or find them on Facebook.