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First Bite: Le Town Talk Diner
By: | Posted: 12/03/2012
Own a home east of I-35 in south Minneapolis? Pop some bubbly—your home value is going up. How do I know? Kim Bartmann is coming your way!
Yes, Kim Bartmann, the restaurateur behind The Bryant Lake Bowl, Café Barbette, the Red Stag, Pat’s Tap, Gigi’s Café, and Bread & Pickle is hard at work on a forthcoming project called The Tiny Diner, a project that is, for the first time in her illustrious career, situated east of Interstate 35 in south Minneapolis. (Out of towners: I-35 is the major artery that bisects south Minneapolis, and separates the prestigious western Lakes district from the eastern Affordable Housing district.)
“I joke this is as close as I’m going to get to a St. Paul restaurant,” Bartmann told me, on the phone from the site of her forthcoming spot. A forthcoming spot on 38th, a couple blocks east of Chicago Avenue.
Here are the details: Permaculture and solar power, eggs, wine in the sunshine. No really.
Permaculture and solar: Bartmann has long had an interest in green building (the Red Stag was the first LEED-CI certified restaurant in Minnesota, for instance), and this new spot is going to be affiliated with the Permaculture Research Institute. The nonprofit will help design the Tiny Diner’s gardens, and will eventually teach urban gardening and other classes at the site. The new diner will also have a massive solar array on top.
Eggs: The new spot will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and will be “kid friendly, a true neighborhood spot,” says Bartmann. Menu and chef TBD, but more Bryant Lake Bowl and Pat’s Tap everyday than Red Stag-everyday-plus-very-fancy. Eventually the restaurant will seat about 60 people.
Wine in the sunshine: Yes, this new diner will have beer (Bartmann was one of Minnesota’s great Belgian import pioneers) and wine (Café Barbette still gets my vote at home of the best sparkling wine list in the Cities). But it will also have some sort of solar panel topped extended space which will allow you to enjoy controlled-climate living, without energy-hog guilt.
Projected timeline? Construction in the spring, and open when the construction is done—hopefully before Mother’s Day. Ooh, and a little more Bartmann news to get you to spring: She tells me that she’s been going to neighborhood meetings to float the idea of beer and wine at Bread & Pickle, her concession at the Lake Harriet bandshell. “So far everyone’s said: Sweet, get on it! Wouldn’t that be excellent, to watch a bandshell concert with a glass of wine in your hand?” Yes, yes it would be. It would also bring peddle-boating to the next level.
And . . . Actually, that’s all I got. So put this good and sunshiny news somewhere where it will help as we head into the darkest three weeks of the year. 2013: Tiny Diner, permaculture gardens, Champagne on a peddle-boat?
Tiny Diner, 1024 E. 38th St., Mpls., Tiny Diner's Facebook page
Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl is a senior editor at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.See bio
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