Craft beer battered fish sandwiches, cheese curds, hand cut fries, and maybe even beer infused casseroles!? Meet Pete Toft, Brett Drake, and your new favorite food truck: Brooks High.
Pete Toft and Brett Drake have always been a little bit audacious, a little bit enterprising. “When I was young, maybe around 8, I started a car detailing business. I did research into reasonable rates, and priced my services at $200, because that’s what my competitors were charging. I didn’t care that I was only 8 years old!”
Brett laughs, and Pete joins in, not to be outdone, “At around the same age, I had a lawn care business that I started with a couple of friends. We went from doing our parents’ houses to working most of the neighborhood.”
Their fates must have been sealed when they met as high school sophomores at the Tin Fish, flippin’ and fryin’, lockin’ down that Malt Shop milkshake money. Working 65 or more hours a week, they’d take advantage of rainy day downtime to dream up wild business ideas, and mess around in the kitchen. “We’d joke around about starting a hot air balloon business or something crazy like that… it wasn’t until after college that we realized we could actually do something with this… that's when we started looking into ideas that actually made sense.”
After college, both boys moved to New York in search of bigger opportunities and new adventures. Pete had graduated from the U with a degree in architecture, and Brett had gone to business school at George Washington University in D.C. The two quickly settled into creative, corporate careers, but they both truly felt something was missing.
While in New York, their business brainstorming and day-dreaming continued until they hit on something very real. “We both love craft beer, and we’d spent a huge amount of time frying fish when we were younger. We thought… why don’t we highlight beers that have really great, complex flavors, by making beer battered fish sandwiches?” For a couple of boys from the City of Lakes, it almost felt too obvious.
Knowing that they wanted to end up back in Minneapolis, Brett and Pete began reaching out to some of their favorite local breweries, and pitching their plan. They recently launched a Kickstarter to help fund a food truck, and announced they’d be partnering with Bauhaus Brew Labs, LynLake Brewery, and Tin Whiskers. Pete explains, "All of the breweries we're partnering with have qualities that we're really excited about…they're doing innovative things with their beer, or their brand, and they're really just dedicated to their craft."
"They're also just really great people." Brett chimes in. “They’re having a blast."
The Brooks High bros describe their offerings as "homages" to the beers and brewers that they've really come to admire. In order to honor them, the menu will include a variety of Midwestern mainstays, including both light and dark beer battered fish sandwiches, light and dark cheese curds, and a walleye sampler. The sampler will allow customers to experience, and explore the powerful differences in flavor of each beer batter.
In talking about their menu ideas, Pete dives more into their concept, explaining the potential construction of a stout-based sandwich: "We’d try to play up those complex, chocolate-y flavors by pairing it with a stone-ground mustard, malt vinegar slaw, and maybe a pretzel bun." They'll contrast dark beer battered sandwiches with lighter ones, using citrusy slaws that play up certain brews’ brighter notes.
Fried masterpieces. Homages, indeed.
If you're a fan of local, craft beer, and all things delicious, we'd like to suggest you check out the Brooks High Kickstarter—the campaign ends March 3rd at midnight. Contribute if you can, and help us welcome these South Minneapolis boys home.