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Twin Cities burger tavern Red Cow opens first location in Rochester

Rochester welcomes a new burger joint in town with Red Cow, which opened Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. The owner, Luke Shimp, hails from Lake City and sees the first Red Cow outside of the Twin Cities as a homecoming.

Red Cow
The 60/40 burger and sweet potato fries are pictured during the grand opening on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, at the Red Cow in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — Looking for a new place in town to sit down for a tasty burger and alcoholic drink? Red Cow might be that place for Rochester residents as the Twin Cities based company opened its doors on 14th Avenue Southwest, on the first floor of the Berkman Apartments building.

Three of the now five Red Cow locations are in Minneapolis, with a fourth in St. Paul and now a fifth in Rochester. One of Red Cow’s owners, Luke Shimp, is a native of Southeast Minnesota, having grown up in Lake City.

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“It’s like coming home. Having grown up and graduated from Lake City, I've been gone from that community for about 30 years, but I'm still in touch with folks there," Shimp said. "My mother still lives there and she works in Saint Marys (Hospital) across the street. It’s nice to be close to my hometown community and beyond that, touch some of those raving fans who come up to the Cities from Rochester and dine with us."

The proximity to Saint Marys Hospital is a positive to many who went into Red Cow during its opening on Wednesday, Aug. 10. Josh Fitzgerald, a Mayo Clinic employee, was eating there and spoke on the benefits of the restaurant's location.

“We work there and you don't even have to move your car. You just come across the street to grab a bite to eat. My friends have never been to a Cities location before, so I’m introducing them to it,” he said.


Lizzy Lehrkame, of Rochester, had dined at a Twin Cities Red Cow before visiting the new one on Wednesday. She brought with her friend Lucas Danckwart, a service industry worker, to try out the restaurant for the first time.

“Solidarity brought me in today,” Danckwart said. “It's always good to support local businesses as they come in and allow these people that work here that used to be coworkers of mine. It’s awesome.”

“We came for the cocktails," Lehrkame said. "It’s been about five or six years since I’ve been to a location, but it’s great to see here in Rochester."

Shimp commented on the benefits of the restaurant location.

Red Cow
Patrons sit at the bar during the Red Cow's grand opening Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

“With the Destination Medical Center, all that energy and emphasis that both the state and Mayo have put into growing and developing Rochester just seemed like a perfect fit and really great timing for us,” he said.

Not only are Shimp and his business partners hopeful to draw interest to their brand from Rochester residents who are unfamiliar with them, they are also hopeful to draw in out-of-towners who are in Rochester for medical care or other reasons.

Michael Giacomini, director of finance for Red Cow, spoke on how the brand hopes to increase its visibility around the state.

“Between Red Cow and Red Rabbit and our very distinct logos, coming to Rochester provides an opportunity to get more eyes on the brand. So when people do come in from the Twin Cities, or elsewhere, they'll recognize us. We have hope that as we expand even elsewhere. There's more familiarity in areas we plan to keep growing in,” Giacomini said.


And, Shimp said, he hopes customers will enjoy a good burger and a great dining experience.

“Gourmet burgers attract a large swath of people," he said. "So it's a very attractive concept. People are realizing we've won a lot of awards, both nationally and locally for our burgers. They'll be getting an award-winning experience right away off the bat."

Red Cow is located at the corner of 14th Avenue and Second Street Southwest. It is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and closed on Sundays.

Red Cow
Michael Giacomini, director of finance and owner during their grand opening on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, at the Red Cow in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Red Cow

217 14th Ave SW, Rochester, MN 55902


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Theodore Tollefson is a business reporter for the Post Bulletin. He is originally from Burnsville, Minn., and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a bachelor's degree in journalism in December 2020. Readers can reach Theodore at 507-281-7420 or ttollefson@postbulletin.com.
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