Ryan Burnet, the restaurateur who owns Barrio, Bar La Grassa, Burch Steakhouse, the recently opened Eastside, and the healthy eating salad restaurant concept coming to Wayzata, is also opening a pizza place.
Station Pizzeria will open in an old gas station (the former Bennis Feed & Fuel, lastly Tonka Pets) in the historic Minnetonka Mills area, where there’s already a long-standing DQ, a People’s Organic, and the Minnehaha Creek rolling by on its way from Gray’s Bay to the falls. “We took out the gas tanks and are keeping the original 1939 structure of the station, “ Burnet told me. “I just fell in love with the building. It’s the right sized project right now, and I knew I wanted to do something out west. Growing up, I used to play baseball about a ½ mile from here.”
The full service joint will have 71 seats on the inside, with an additional 30 on the patio, and the design work will be done by Shea. Burnet has brought in David Ellis to be the chef. Ellis has a kitchen history that includes time at Eleven Madison Park in NYC, and locally at 112 Eatery and Bar La Grassa with Isaac Becker, before becoming chef de cuisine at Piccolo under Doug Flicker. So Ellis has some cooking chops, but don't expect this to be precious and fancy, the plan is for this to be a New York style pizzeria with some additional creative offerings along with beer and wine: not trendy wood-fired Punch-like, more big New Yorky pies and such. "We can't really commit to what's on the menu right now, but want to be serious about ingredients and really spend some time thinking about what comes out of the kitchen, mostly we want it to be a great fit for the neighborhood. We hope to sponsor softball teams and be the place to hang out, be a part of the community". The Big Willow fields (where someone plays her co-rec summer soccer league, ahem) is right down the road and just teeming with kids and adults looking for a little post game 'za and a beer, just sayin'.
The work on the space should begin in October with a hopeful opening this year.