Doug Flicker in his kitchen at Piccolo restaurant
Doug Flicker's coming restaurant, Esker Grove at The Walker Art Center, has formally added a few top names to their roster. They are true veterans and hospitalitarians that should round out his world quite nicely. I am getting more and more excited for this place to open nearish the end of the month.
Jon S. Olson will be the man running the bar. Olson was part of the final La Belle View bar crew and continues with co-hort Adam Gorski to be a part of the TRUEpenny cocktail pop-up party. He's been behind the bar at Norseman most recently. According to the presser, his cocktails will "highlight traditional recipes paired alongside contemporary interpretations of these cocktail mainstays. Inspired by boisterous Parisian cafés with a splash of New Orleans class, these cocktails connect visuals with flavors and education with imagination." So, a traditional Champagne cocktail sided by a newer Champagne cocktail with barrel-aged bitters and blossom water. More important than that, for me, is that I think Jon is one of the best in the biz when it comes to reading guests and offering that classic hospitality. He is all about the guest and I think his bar will be a great one at which to grab a seat.
Kim Tong will be the GM of the restaurant. She re-joins Flicker (she worked with him formerly at Piccolo) after recently leaving the Borough team and Jester concepts. If you don't know her name yet, you will. She is a fierce hospitalitarian with a leonine work ethic that creates a warm and welcoming space. She has a loyal following among those who work hard and live service, which should help them recruit and keep the best industry pros in the Twin Cities. When I think of all the big-wigs who will likely saunter through those doors, I say there are fewer than Kim Tong who could handle it all like a breeze.
TJ Rawitzer is on board as the Chef de Cuisine. Dude has been around town for along time, working kitchens from D'Amico's to Bartmann's, after an early stint in Flicker's Auriga. He's a strong partner to Flicker and he will run a tight kitchen. Also, I love his Instagram.