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First Bite: Le Town Talk Diner
By: Stephanie March | Posted: 11/26/2013
Does your neck feel sore from the whip lash? It's a bummer to report this, but it looks like UMAMI, the West Broadway dim sum shop, will close by the end of the year.
The Asian concept from the Travail boys was originally created as a pop-up. It was supposed to be open for about a month to earn a little extra cash while the guys were working on building out their new Travail/Rookery digs. Initial ticket offerings sold out like hotcakes. Not soon after, the Travail Kickstarter Phenomenon dialed everyone into a state of frenzy and the boys decided to use a little of the cash to keep Umami open as a real shop, albeit with a twist to the concept focusing it on dim sum.
But things haven't been going as they had hoped or planned. "It just really doesn't have legs for us right now" Mike Brown told me. "The way it was set up was meant to be temporary and right now to make it work means more time and energy than we have at this time." In truth, Brown said, it has started to jeopardize the Travail project and they just can't allow that to happen. They've just spread themselves too thin.
BUT ... he also said Umami will rise again, maybe not as an Asian concept, and definitely not in the back of a strip mall, "our whole mission is to open restaurants in spaces that we can someday own outright". But they want to come back to the neighborhood with something they have time to work through and plan, having worked at the Broadway Farmers Market, they've connected with enough of the neighborhood to know that they can create something that will work in the area.
As for all the guys who were hired for Umami, including Geoff Hausmann who left the helm of Sample Room to return to the fold, they will be absorbed into the Travail/Rookery project which is hot under way to debut in the New Year.
Umami will be open through brunch on Dec. 22, after which it will go dark for good. Tickets for the last few weeks are on sale now. Get your dumpling on.
Here is the official presser from the gang. UMAMIbyTravail1126pressrelease
Stephanie March is Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s food and dining editor. See bio
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