Make any significant purchases last year? Because Alex Roberts, the James Beard Award winning chef behind Restaurant Alma and Brasa Rotisserie, sure did. Roberts bought the building that has long-housed Alma, and that fact may be the greatest thing to happen to eating on University since, well, Restaurant Alma.
Why? Because it will allow for the expansion of Alma’s kitchens, and the opening of a casual café in the space where the Dunn Bros. once was.
And, coffee folks, don’t freak! You’re not losing coffee in the location as Roberts tells me the Alma crew is planning to do a whole coffee program, but with coffee they roast themselves. I actually think that’s a first for Minnesota chefs as I can think of a handful of places that make their own tonic water or even make their own plates, but not a single solitary restaurant that roasts its own coffee. I mean, aside from Addisabbaba, the Ethiopian spot on Riverside, which roasts coffee at a table-side Ethiopian coffee ceremony, which is a fundamentally different thing altogether.
So, will we see a new era of chef-driven locavore coffee, with acorn squash syrups and miels made from local honey? Maybe!
Along with chef-roasted coffee, this new cafe Alma will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and likely both breakfast and lunch all day until 3 p.m.) every day. The world has never seen Alex Roberts pancakes, but they are coming! Also coming will be some of the greatest hits from Alma’s storied history, such as the smoked whitefish and the famed chicken liver crostini.
There will soon come a day when you can hop off your bike for a quick glass of wine and a storied chicken liver crostini, and it won’t even have to be your birthday and you won’t need a reservation. It may not be the most significant purchase you make in 2014, but it might mean a lot to your everyday lunch.
The new café will open at 530 University (next door to Alma) sometime this spring or summer.