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First Bite: District Fresh Kitchen + Bar
By: Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl | Posted: 10/15/2013
Remember a couple weeks ago? When all of Minneapolis was abuzz with the young Travail crew’s epic Kickstarter campaign, which was hoping to net $75,000 to help with funds for their new Travail in Robbinsdale, and then they blew past their goal in six hours, and then I reported that if they had enough money they’d make Umami, their north Minneapolis pop-up Asian spot, a permanent thing? Well guess whose Kickstarter topped off at $255,669, and guess who signed a year-lease for Umami?
Oh you guessed it!
But did you guess that they’d tweak Umami in a dim sum direction, and convince Geoff Hausmann to come lead it for them? Yes, Geoff Hausmann, the guy with all the Star Wars tattoos, the charcuterie master who helped the Travail guys open Victory 44, then Travail, and then went on to lead the Sample Room to greatness. He’s back.
“Brownie and Jimmy are getting the band back together!” Hausmann told me when I spoke to him on the phone to confirm the rumors. Dim sum? Really?
“Dim sum style,” Hausmann clarified. “I love it, it’s food I love to eat. But I don’t think I could pull off traditional dim sum—that’s something that takes a whole life to learn. It will be our style of dim sum, with dumplings, some charcuterie, but our style, in dim sum style.”
I also spoke to Mike Brown, co-founder, co-owner of Travail. He said, yes it was going to happen—and maybe in two weeks. A lot of the details are up in the air. They might continue with tickets, or some tickets, and some walk-ins. They might go with the traditional cards-and-stamps, or offer an all-you-can-eat option.
This much they’re sure of: The concept is Umami Dim Sum, the name may well be Umami Dim Sum, the guy leading it is Geoff Hausmann, he starts Oct. 29, and there will be all day Sunday service and steam carts. If you’ve got other wish list items, post them in the comments. Do you want an all you can eat option? Tickets? Do you demand walleye har gow? Are you seeing Surly smoke sesame balls? Is this whole story evolving too fast for you? Well, keep watching this space, or the internet generally, I’m guessing it’s going to go like this all year till Travail, the Rookery, Pig Ate My Pizza, and Umami Dim Sum get all open and cooking on all burners—or spawn one hundred new restaurants.
Umami by Travail, 904 W. Broadway, Mpls., umamibytravail.com
Travail (currently under construction)
Pig Ate My Pizza (Travail’s pizza spot), 4154 W. Broadway, Robbinsdale, 763-535-1131
Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl is a senior editor at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.See bio
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