Inside The Kitchen: The Bearded Dogg Lounge in Gaylord

“Opa! Makes a nice show.” Chef Chad Edwards isn’t talking about flaming saganaki. That’s actually the flame on the duck pasta at his restaurant in Gaylord—The Bearded Dogg Lounge

From a menu bursting in surprising flavors, to even the funky fresh dining room, this is the dog house you want to be in.

About five years ago Chef Chad conceived the idea.

“And so with that in mind I wanted to do something different. We wanted to be not like other restaurants, obviously, and stay away from what other people are doing.”

For him and his staff, that all starts in the kitchen, ergo duck pasta. 

“We’re using homemade noodles we make here,” Chef points to a bowl of tender fettuccine. 

As for the duck, it plants face down into the heated oil for a crispy outer layer.

A mix of crimini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms are sauteed in the duck fat with house-made oven-dried tomatoes.

“The mushrooms are going to absorb a lot of the fat.”

Meanwhile, blackberry whiskey hits the pan and we add heavy cream and mushroom demi.

I asked Chef about the berry booze. “So what’s the deal with the blackberry whiskey? Why not raspberry, strawberry, snozberry?”

The answer is all in the flavor balance.

“If you actually eat a fresh blackberry, they’re not overly sweet. You know they have a little bit of a bitter flavor to it. Because duck is primarily a sweeter meat, I’m just trying to balance.”

Finally the pasta swims into the cream, thickening the sauce with its own starch, and then we start stacking some duck.

After dinner, hold out for a sweet doggie treat— a bone-shaped bite size toffee. Take it a step further and your visit goes down in the flavor books with creme brulee. It starts with fresh vanilla bean straight from the pod and into heavy cream, whisked with vanilla-infused sugar.

At The Bearded Dogg they bake it in a water bath, low and slow.

“You’ve got to be very gentle and cook these with lots of love” Chef warned, “which in a commercial kitchen, can be hard to do sometimes.”

But then we turn up the heat with a little fire, a.k.a. brulee. Sugar is sprinkled over the cream and torched to a thin, crunchy caramelization. Within the first seconds of the torch, the kitchen smells like roasted marshmallows.

“And you can put berries on top of it, compotes, pudding…There’s so much flavor because of the vanilla and the vanilla sugar. I like to present that rather than covering it.”

And with a menu that pairs the classic with creative, you’ve got to make a name to match. Meet Sara, the bearded Dogg.

“My parents have a dog, and I looked at her and she kinda put her chin up, like she was trying to tell me something. It was amazing. And I’m like Bearded Dogg.”

When you choose to make your way to the doggy dog place, Chef Chad wants just one thing.

“What I would really like my customers to enjoy is themselves. They can see my cooks, they interact with them all the time. It’s just, it’s just a lot of fun.”