Photos from Upton 43 Facebook
What is chef Erick Harcey up to NOW?
When we last left our hero, he was busy reforming the former Linden Hills hardware store into something spectacular.
Remember? There were going to be cutting-edge designs that included modular movable booths on casters, sexy vegetables and noodles made solely of egg, plus table-proofing bread dough among even more ambitious projects.
Well something happened on the way to the boundary pushing. Harcey's grandfather died.
"For two weeks I was kinda gone from all this, I was just hanging out with him for as long as I could while he was still here. We talked a lot about the food we used to eat together, all the Swedish dishes he and my grandmother made me when I was growing up. We used to talk about opening a restaurant together, but it just never happened. I also took him to the casino for one last time, that was great," Harcey says.
"When I came back, none of this really made sense, I wasn't feeling it anymore." So he dumped the design, he looked back at something Ferran Adrià had said and started again.
Upton 43 is still the name, but the concept is more about being a passion project than cutting any edges. It will be a modern Swedish restaurant, not like Noma in its revolutionary New Nordic style, but more in the vein of honoring the heritage of the core cuisine while giving it a bit of modern attention and technique. There will be meatballs and pea soup, smoked fish and sausage. There will be Lutefisk, people.
"I want to cook and eat food that I love, not just when I'm on vacation with my family. It's not going to be trendy Nordic cooking, but it will have a modern and progressive feel. There will Swedish pancakes just like my grandfather used to make me, but then a yellow pea soup that will surprise you. There will still be lots of vegetables, there won't be a burger, and we'll have fish, but it won't be hamachi or anything like that."
The chef's table in the restaurant will be a little more experimental and interactive with less boundaries. That's where Harcey plans to push limits on food, keeping the stage small and focused.
Dirty Bird is still a GO, nothing much has changed with the grab-n-go rotisserie chicken annex of the restaurant. But once that bird is up and flapping, Harcey plans to remodel the front room at Victory 44 to be a larger version of Dirty Bird with eat-in seats.
So as construction rolls, and barring any more life shifting events, Linden Hills will become a bit more Swedish near the end of October.
On a side note, Harcey is among the merry band of chefs who will be cooking a tasting dinner in the presence of Ferran Adrià when he comes to town in early October. Tickets for the meal are $150 and went on sale at 10 a.m. today. In other words: JUMP.