It is the time of year when every Minnesotan is afraid that we will be left for someone, or something, in Miami. When chefs are not attached by an anchor-spouse, anchor-baby, or anchor ownership stake in their frozen northern restaurant, the fear is tripled. What if they just pack their knives, and up and leave town—as did, say, Kevin Kathmann who opened Minneapolis’ Restaurant Max and left for California’s Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing) and Josh Habiger the Porter & Frye and Auriga veteran who is now at Pinewood Social).
I mean, what if they leave us all alone when it’s so cold out?
Well, thank you Michael Kutscheid, part-owner of the Minneapolis restaurant Sanctuary best known as a showcase for chef Patrick Atanalian, because Kutscheid bought out the other two owners and offered Atanalian an ownership stake. Yes, we have finally, after many years, locked down that important Minneapolis chef, heretofore known for his long tenure at dear departed Loring Café and for cooking with gummi bears years before all those so-called-cutting-edge other chefs did.
What did Atanalian say, when Kutscheid proposed they make it permanent? “I said, 'Good, if you didn’t do that I was going to move to Miami,'” Atanalian recalls. “I’m getting sick and tired of this winter stuff. Why do we live here?”
Right? Anywho, are there plans to change anything about Sanctuary? I asked both Atanalian and Kutscheid and they both said no. They’re just going to make the ordinary incremental changes, replacing some chairs, re-doing the menu the way Atanalian always does (next new menu is February 7) and generally dealing with the massive construction all around them, as the new Vikings Stadium rises a block away, and all that other residential and commercial real estate springs up on the former Vikings tailgate and surface parking lots. Is Downtown East going to be the North Loop of 2016? Can we find a better name than Downtown East? Discuss.
As you do, be sure to send hearty congratulations to Sanctuary, and to one of Minneapolis’ favorite and most talented Frenchmen, Patrick Atanalian. We are glad you’re staying. If you want to raise a glass to Atanalian, maybe drop by for his Tiki menu with Tiki drink pairings on January 29—and someone get that guy a snow shovel, now that he’s sticking around, he’s going to need it.