Sit down, Minneapolis. And Robbinsdale, get smelling salts. We all know that Minnesota’s hottest restaurant, little molecular-gastronomy budget performance-arthouse Travail, has been trying to line up a bigger, snazzier home. Well, it’s aligned. And the old Travail is closing April 6. Yes, in two weeks! When it closes, it will go dark for a bit, and, as soon as a pizza oven can be installed it will reopen as: Pig Ate My Pizza, a charcuterie and pizza joint. Mike Brown, one of the merry band of chefs who own and run Travail, tells me that Pig Ate My Pizza will have mostly small plates to share, many of them charcuterie, and then a dozen pizzas, including specialty pizzas topped with their own purpose-made charcuterie. “We’re calling it a ‘pizza eatery’ right now,” Brown told me. “It’s pizza, but it’s other stuff to eat too.” Yes, other stuff is important—but can Minnesota function without Travail?
We’re gonna have to try. At least until September, when Brown hopes the new Travail will open. Some details: It will be two restaurants. First, an even smaller Travail than the one we know and wait six hours in line for, a new smaller Travail that will never have reservations (unless you’re ordering the high-ticket multi-course meal, or have a party of 10 or more.) Second, a cocktail and sandwich joint called The Rookery, which promises to do for cocktails what Travail has done for food. For those of you good at doing math in your heads, you will have quickly realized that downtown Robbinsdale is going to have three, count ‘em, three Travail restaurants next Christmas. So, should we rename it Travaildale?