Photo by Eliesa Johnson
Of course, one of the big stories here in foodland is Restaurant Alma’s expansion into the space next door, which will allow a full bar and all-day café.
If you’re wondering why it’s not here yet, the whole project is still winding its way through city and neighborhood approval. Chef and owner Alex Roberts would like to put a few rooms above the restaurant, turning the whole thing into a boutique inn, but this would require a change of zoning, and some are worried that if they let Roberts have different zoning they would have to let anyone else who wanted a zoning change on University get it, and if we start changing zoning willy nilly we’re on the slippery slope to strip clubs and, thus, strippers are preventing you from enjoying a butternut squash daiquiri.
What’s a butternut squash daiquiri? Believe it or not, it’s a real thing, says Nick Kosevich, co-owner of the bitters company and bar consultant company Bittercube and co-owner of Eat Street Social. It is made by cooking a butternut squash, pureeing it, straining it, and turning it into a syrup. Then you take some rum, and you achieve a Thanksgiving-appropriate daiquiri. Sound crazy? Well get ready, because Bittercube is doing the bar program for the upcoming Restaurant Alma Bar, and that’s just the sort of culinary crazy they’re going for.
Here’s the plan. Alma’s bar program will be scrupulously organized around the classics—a classic gimlet, a classic daiquiri, a classic martini, you get the idea. Then, as the seasons change, and in concert with Alma’s traditional, seasonal menu changes, each classic drink will have a seasonal, changing shadow—so the traditional daiquiri of lime, sugar, and rum will be accompanied perhaps by a lavender daiquiri in spring, a strawberry daiquiri in summer, and a sweet potato daiquiri in winter.
Will it have an Old Fashioned? Probably. Get this: Kosevich told me that in 2014 Eat Street Social sold right around 24,000 Old Fashioneds. That’s a quarter of a million bucks worth of Old Fashioneds! Kosevich recently put his head together with bartenders Pip Hanson of Marvel Bar and Jesse Held of Parlour and Coup D’Etat and all told the three of them guess that between just their respective bars they poured Minnesota some 70,000 Old Fashioneds last year. 70,000!
Why are we so Old Fashioned crazy? Kosevich guesses it’s because the brandy Old Fashioned—extra sweet, with lots of cherries and orange—never died out in Wisconsin supper clubs, and thus created a nice safe path and comfort zone for the dryer, fancier variations to stampede in.
528 University Ave. SE, Mpls., 612-379-4909, restaurantalma.com