Okay, in an effort to make everyone happy, I am going to make sure that local news and notes come at the top of my blogs and all the national and international buzz come at the end. I hear you!!! I read the mail and tweets and I agree; it will work best that way! Thanks to you for helping make this blog better every time I turn my head.
This summer Vincent A Restaurant celebrates its 10-year anniversary. That’s a lifetime and a half in this business. The number of chef-owners who can last that long, stay relevant, and most importantly keep serving great food is miniscule on a national level, let alone in our Cities. Vincent arrived in Minneapolis prior to opening his eponymous restaurant and ran the kitchens at café 123 in the years following a merry-go-round of chefs who had come in after I had left the job. The restaurant was on fumes, customer counts were abysmal, and I will tell you that the hardest job in the world is taking over a restaurant that is dead but doesn’t know it yet. Vincent not only put that place back on the map but he relaunched it as a personal statement. After a few years he opened VAR and the rest is Twin Cities restaurant history. My family has celebrated birthdays and anniversaries and business deals and quiet date nights there over the years and we love it. And for a little restaurant insider perspective, his scallops in orange butter with melted leeks, duck pate, steak tartare, cassoulet, Something Strange, Three Creams, and many other signature dishes are all still on the menu years after opening. That’s incredible, most places struggle to find one signature!
He was the first in town to do the strange mystery special concept, first to do cheese in a big way, first to do the gourmet burger thing, and so on. That takes prescient thinking and it takes balls to see it through, from the first guests’ laugh to years later, when no one is laughing and people are driving across town for it. That takes patience and confidence and is the sign of a great chef and a great businessman. Oh, and by the way check out vincentarestaurant.com and you will see why he is a better human being than chef and restaurateur combined: On the front page of the site are his charitable efforts in bold face . . . menus and accolades are clickt hroughs. That speaks volumes about this guy. Congrats on 10 YEARS my friend.
Eater has launched a new design section on its site. I can’t wait to see what Jim Smart and David Shea will have to say about all this! It’s a great topic and one I hope everyone supports so that we can read compelling ideas about restaurant design for years to come.
I am off this week to Food and Wine Magazine ’s Best New Chef presentation in NYC. Expect full reports and tweets at @andrewzimmern and a roundup on this page next Monday. Should be fun.
Anyone got a message for Dana Cowin, Kate Krader, or Gail Simmons? I will happily pass it on. The May issue of the magazine looks to be the best ever; someone told me it’s a Travel issue that will be a real keeper for food geeks of all stripes. And btw, F&W ’s iPad app is my favorite of its type. Go here and you cannot only get the app but also a mobile download for the Aspen Food & Wine event. Yes, I will be there doing demos, seminars, and killing it at the best parties. Come out to Colorado and say hi.
And we got food last week from Cocina del Barrio in Edina, Mozza Mia, and Prairie Ale House in Eden Prairie and all three crushed it. Great tacos, guac, pizza, and burgers (in that order) from those three newer establishments. Nice job folks.
Crap, that should have been at the top, maybe I will get it by next week. I’m trying ova here!!! Fuhgeddaboutit. Djeeatyet?