If Stewart Woodman and Steven Brown open restaurants in their rumored locations before end of year, and you add into the mix the success that Flicker is having at Piccolo in South Minny, then toss in the Haute Dish-Victory 44-BLG at off-the-grid options, plus look where our current Beard Award winning chef trods (Alma in the U of M area) . . . well it's safe to say that it appears as though the absolute worst place on earth to open a restaurant is downtown. Two of the smartest guys I know (the fratelli D’amico) just opened in Bloomington and Parasole’s last downtown venture (Manny’s at the W) was front loaded with bonuses for opening at that location.
I think these recent trends say a lot about some ideas that many of us were talking about a few years ago . . . downtown restaurants have to offer depressed menu price for lunch and rarely can they bring in diners on a consistent basis at dinner. If you are Brits or The Local or Starbucks, well that’s a different story. I can’t wait to hear what restaurateurs say about the impact of the stadium on the bottom lines of real restaurants that are relying on food sales for its economic model. I would wager that Kieran’s, for example, is doing very well, and that restaurants such as Vincent or Masa are only seeing minimal positive impact.
What’s not downtown? The Sample Room, which recently undertook the most comprehensive menu 're-design' since opening eight years ago. Darren Ennis told me they are “really bringing us back to our roots of ‘Sample’ being the core concept.” Menu refinements include adding a Charcuterie component and continued expansion/support of local family farms and artisanal producers. Buzz is that this place is better than ever these days.
What is downtown? Street food, which is slowly but surely starting to happen. Here is an idea that would work wonders in the Twin Cities. (I think the Kevin Slush truck looks awesome!) Over the last few years, I have undertaken a rigorous study of street fare around the world, all thanks to my upcoming Carts in the Parc event at the NYC Wine and Food Fest. This year, I have dozens of famous food carts participating, so you can imagine my surprise when some chef friends of mine from Vegas turned me on something new and exciting: The MUV BOX! This thing opens in minute and turns into a restaurant. Watch the video and prepare to be amazed! Who is going to get one first? Will it be at the State Fair? This thing is unbelievable!
What’s not anywhere? A realistic listing of street food that’s available in the Twin Cities, along with contact info (twitter/FB) so that all the hungry eaters around this part of the country can find the food! More importantly, the summer is the busiest time of year for out-of-towners visiting our state . . . how about the CVB doing something? Or the carts themselves teaming up to establish a trade association similar to what’s being done elsewhere (think Austin, TX and Portland, OR).
I was poking around online and found this on one of my go-to sites. Read the posts. Clearly we can use a good resource if so many people all feel the same way . . . perhaps mspmag.com can handle this one!