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By: Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl | Posted: 04/10/2013
Everywhere I go people keep asking, "How is it possible Travail could close?"
"Will it be the same? And what is up with the new locations? Sure, the coming pizza place, Pig Ate My Pizza, which will serve pizza topped with house-made pork products such as sausage and pepperoni makes intuitive sense, but they can’t really be opening a sandwich shop called The Rookery, can they?"
Okay, first, I nag. For everyone complaining that they didn’t get to try Travail, that they didn’t want to brave the lines and so missed the first incarnation: This was inevitable! Go to the restaurants you want to go to when they’re doing their great work, don’t wait for some mythical future time when life is going to be easy. People still tell me they miss: the New French Café, Auriga, D’Amico Cucina, the Stillwater incarnation of La Belle Vie, insert your favorite closed restaurant here. Restaurants are ephemeral. They define their time because they go away. End of rant.
And now, on to The Rookery! So, first off, yes there will be sandwiches at The Rookery, especially the pub fare that was popular at Travail in its early days, things such as the Italian paté melt and the organ grinder.
But more, The Rookery, Travail co-owner Mike Brown told me, will be showcasing the talents of two of its longtime teammates, namely Kale Thome and Adrian De los Rios, who will be running the thing, and about fun microplates and molecular crazy Travail-style cocktails.
“Most of the food [at The Rookery] is going to be $2 to $7 small plates,” Brown told me. “I’m envious of it, frankly. It’s so much fun to do small, tiny plates like that. We know it will probably start as the place people go when they can’t get into Travail, but we want to get to the point where people will want to go to The Rookery as its own thing, and sit down and have a bunch of small plates, and a cocktail. The cocktails will be [done similarly to] how we approach food, we’ll start with the basic cocktail, learn as much as we possibly can about all the different products, do all our own juice and syrups, of course, but then take it to the highest good level we can, maybe with liquid nitrogen, maybe there’s cedar-plank smoke trapped at the top of the glass, maybe it goes with a little duck egg chorizo dish or garnish—it just needs to be good and fun.”
Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl is a senior editor at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.See bio
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