Tom Broder passed away over the weekend—very sad news. He left behind a family and a business that many of us have come to know throughout the years. All our prayers and thoughts go out to Molly and the rest of the Broder family as well as to all the employees and extended family of their store and restaurant.
What many people may not realize is that without Tom’s leadership the Twin Cities, the neighborhood restaurant scene would look very different than it does today—and not for the better. Tom was a key player in the expansion of laws allowing for smaller eateries to serve beer and wine, and he was a visionary when it came to serving true regional Italian food to throngs of Minnesota diners.
I hope everyone knows that my pal Seth Bixby Daugherty, retired restaurant über-chef (Damico Cucina, Cosmos, etc.) and former Food & Wine magazine 10 Best winner, finally has a website for his charitable efforts. Realfoodinitiatives.com is now live. Check it out!
Speaking of websites, there are dozens of whole hog chow sites emerging these days as popular destinations on the web. I like Nose To Tail At Home. How many of you are really eating this way?
Rowley Leigh brings up a great point about porchetta in one of his latest pieces online. He is speaking to a London audience, but the point he makes is a good one:
“I may not be well qualified to talk about street food: I haven’t been to a street market in Singapore or wandered around the barrios of Mexico City. I have, however, strolled around a few markets in Tuscany and Umbria and can say porchetta is the best street food I know. It beats hamburgers or hot dogs and I can’t imagine why some fast food entrepreneur does not pick up on the idea . . . ”
Porchetta is a whole suckling pig, boned out, and then filled with its own offal and seasonings, such as rosemary and fennel. It is roasted slowly for hours, sliced thin, and eaten on buns or pieces of wax paper or taken home and eaten in privacy where neatness counts. Now I have eaten in more street markets in Southeast Asia, Latin barrios, and African souks than most folks, and I can say unequivocally that Leigh is right. Porchetta is one of the kings of the takeaway food world, and it is in the category of foods that I think is ideally suited to Midwestern tastes.
Rotisserie snout-to-tail (see how I am spinning this all together?) cooking methods are popular all over the world, and yet here they are just beginning to catch on. I think Minnesotans should lead the charge. We love roasty, porky foods, and I think that rotisserie stands would be big hits at the State Fair (Schumacher’s has one for his pork racks!), on city streets in both towns, and at city and county fairs. It is odd that we don’t have more of them considering how popular the rotisserie chicken has become in local supermarkets.
I noticed some comments on this site re the empty Zander Café spot on Selby Avenue and the inviting home it might provide for talent such as Doug Flicker. The old Fhima’s space, which was vacant, is now spoken for by Pop!, which will be moving there in late summer. Where else could an entrepreneur find a great home for their restaurant? I still think someone could make a lot of noise on Grand Avenue in the Acropol Inn space next door to Grand Ole Creamery even though they are still open for business. That place seems dead as a doornail. Here’s a question, what’s the best available turnkey location for a new restaurant in the Twin Cities, and what’s the best space currently occupied that could become available any day now?