Photo by Caitlin Abrams
I’m not getting all the kerfuffle about the Diggity thing. What’s with the impending server apocalypse? What am I missing? This joint opens up in Coon Rapids today serving hot dogs, beef sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, chili, mac ‘n’ cheese, and few other pastas. The deal is that you walk in and order your food from a kiosk/iPad or “counter ambassador," and then pick it up and bring it back to your table: there are no servers. You could order ahead and pick it up to-go and track your order on your phone if you so choose.
Some writers in town have fluffed this to be a server apocalypse, the END of service! Machines doing the work of humans! One writer calls it a “futuristic system” and “Jetsons-esque” with “frightening implications about the future of food service." Hello. Has anyone been to Chipotle lately? How many servers do you see there? Did you know you can use the futuristic internet and order your food ahead of time and just pick it up? Have you been to Streetz? Or what about Panera, how many servers do you see at Panera? This is basically a fast-food restaurant, hot dogs and burgers, remember? The most expensive hot dog is $3.69 the most expensive burger is $5.79, so why on earth would you expect a server for this place—because they have booths?
As for the scary iPads taking over the human race, where was this call for panic when Concourse G opened at the airport with all the cheffy-backed restaurants using iPad ordering? Nothing can replace a great server, don’t get me wrong, but not all situations require a great server. If you want to get into the minimum wage discussion, we can do that, but with context and real information, please, not freaky hype about the end of the world as we know it. Go have a hot dog and calm down.
>> Café Zentral is the skyway breakfast and lunch spot now open above Brasserie Zentral. There’s oodles of pastries and coffee, panini and crepes, plus a special machine from Vienna that toasts your pretzel roll from the inside before you jam it with a sausage and kraut sauce. HOT TIP: Foreign Legion, the yet-to-be-opened dark and sexy cheese and booze bar across the hall, will be OPEN next week during Restaurant Week.
>> Bauhaus Brew Labs has joined the Nordeast brew set, and I’m a little taken by their almost-hidden space. Tucked in a back parking lot behind a building, the brick brewery has a huge wall that opens to an outside patio, covered way overhead by ironworks, with the trains running by and tasty German beers for the sipping. I likey.
>> Pleased and excited to be welcoming Kim Bartmann’s The Third Bird to Loring Park. Lucas Almendinger, please report to the wood-fired oven.
>> And Kaskaid has leaked the name of the new Stewart Woodman concept for the main level dining area of Union: The Workshop. They are teasing it as a chef-driven collaborative concept with a continually evolving menu to be open by this fall. There’s a pop-up preview next weekend where you can experience a Workshop dinner for two for $100. Sample menus look interesting with scallop squid-ink corn pudding, celery root veloute, “burger” and fries . . . Hmmm, I love me some air-quotes.
>> Bin Wine Bar has closed in Lowertown. There’s a note on the door blaming the landlords for damages and issues with construction of the neighboring Public Kitchen. There’s also mention that fans should visit their new space in Linden Hills. Apparently the shuttered Southwest Motors garage at 44th and Beard will become Latin Hills Kitchen and will have a Latin/Mexican flair. Latin Hills, Linden Hills, get it? Half of the space will be quick-serve tacos and burritos, with the other half focused on full-service dining with wine and beer.
>> Social House in Uptown has closed.
>> Still a chance for Bastille Day partying if you were all caught up in All-Star traffic last weekend. Join the real Frenchies at Alliance Française this Saturday in the North Loop for une petite celebration that includes petanque games, a vintage French car show, live music, beer/wine/food, and a Best Baguette competition.
>> I think I have to do this one. There’s a lost distillery Scotch tasting at The St. Paul Grill on Tuesday, July 22. Andrew Hogan is the guide through the Scottish whiskies that have been remade from closed or lost distilleries that no longer exist. Consider this a taste of history. Cost is $50; call for rezzies.
>> Sociable Cider Werks is busting next weekend open with a NE Brewer’s Block Party! Get down with all your favorite brewers, some food trucks, and live music.
>> Do you like ham? I like ham. Especially ham that has been cured and aired in the dulcet winds of Parma, Italy. Which is why I am psyched to be a judge at the Cured & Crafted event on Thursday, July 31. You should come along and snack on some prosciutto and sip some beer as you vote for your favorite cheffy bite. The winner, and potentially someone who would be serving you more ham for your vote, will win an ENTIRE leg of prosciutto.