There’s been much speculation about the old Bayers Hardware building on Upton and 43rd that’s being renovated in Linden Hills. At different times this year I’d heard Brit’s was going in with a rooftop bar, that Andrew Zimmern was opening his AZ Canteen there, that Vincent was opening a burger shop. None true.
The truth: Victory 44’s Erick Harcey told me that he’s taking the building for a three part project, to be named later (“Man, I hate naming things, so much pressure!”)
Part 1: The Restaurant
The front of the building on Upton will house an upscale casual restaurant. “It’s going to be an everyday eatery, we’ll do a brunch menu every day and then move into a dinner menu.” The space directly inside the entrance will have a beer and wine bar plus lounge seating with couches. Harcey plans a separate bar menu with six or so small things that are fun bites, “There will be a burger, not Victory’s Perfect Burger, but something unique to the location”. Giving off the good smells will be an Argentinian wood-fired grill and an open kitchen. Price points will remain neighborhood friendly, appetizers should range $6-$9 with entrées under $20. Where will this menu fit on the Parka-Victory 44 spectrum? “People think I’m all about pork, but I’m actually more of a flexitarian. This will be a wide-ranging menu that appeals to the neighborhood”.
Part 2: The Rotisserie Grab-n-Go
On the north side of the building, tucked back down the little sidewalk, there will be another entrance for a quick-stop shop (no seating) featuring rotisserie chicken and other meals. “The idea is that you can stop in and pick up a grilled whole bird or a half bird with a few healthy sides and feed your family of four for under $40.” The shop will also be open in the mornings for coffee and Patisserie 46 pastries, and there will be cases of prepared salads, sides, a daily sausage, house condiments, plus cookbooks and a bit of kitchen retail. “We’ll also have things like prepped mirepoix and a recipe of how to use the chicken carcass to make soup to help extend that meal.”
Part 3: The Kitchen Lab
The final part lives behind the shop in the back of the restaurant. It’s a separate demonstration kitchen with counter seating and a few tables. Harcey sees this as his playground. “We want to do something in there every day, like maybe host a free class, could be kid-focused or themed. The space is meant to be very interactive, we’ll do a lot of fun teaching things, but it’s not a school. It will be available for events and book clubs, and whatever the neighborhood wants.” But during the evening it will be a dining spot where four nights a week Harcey will be cooking his ass off. He plans to offer ticketed nights of interactive eating, likely around $85 for multiple courses of edgy and innovative food. “I hate the idea that people think fine dining is dying. I think you can make something that is an event and creative that is special for the eater, and that’s fine dining.”
The building is under construction as we speak, and Harcey is hoping for a February opening. Meanwhile, Victory 44 is currently closed until Thursday while it undergoes a little zhooshing (new seats, buffed out floors, a bit of paint, some refreshed wood), in case you want to go sit at that bar, eat some Devils on Horseback and needle him for more details.