Last Monday morning my Blackberry exploded with about twenty-five emails from readers, publicists, and preprogrammed alerts from local newspapers all detailing the sad news about Auriga closing (see Auriga’s press release below).
In light of all the chatter on this blog, here are my three cents. This is sad news because this town needs chefs who are artists and educators. Even if you never ate at Levain, Auriga, or Five, or if you think you had a bad meal there or didn’t like the drapes or are outraged over rumors about the chef’s temper . . . whatever . . . our food community is dramatically worse off without these chefs cooking in our city. They inspire, teach, expand our boundaries and ideas about food, and perform culinary acrobatics without nets. With these chefs (and the retired Seth Bixby Daugherty from Cosmos) gone from our burg, we have lost four of the best seven chefs in town in the blink of an eye. Diversity and choice make for a more competitive, service-oriented, economically accessible, and creative working environment (think airline hubs, telephone companies, and cable TV suppliers if you disagree!), so if you think for one second that because you never ate at these restaurants, or only ate there once a year ago, that their closing will not affect your food life . . . think again. Less, in this case, is definitely not more. I am officially back on the ledge.
Arrivederci and Au Revoir Auriga
Twin Cities fine dining establishment announces its closing
MINNEAPOLIS—Award-winning and celebrated by local, national, and international diners and “foodies” alike, Auriga announced today its plans to close the restaurant following a dinner service on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2007.
“We accomplished exactly what we set out to do when we opened,” said Doug Flicker, acclaimed chef and one of Auriga’s three owners. “We’re very proud of our work and appreciative of our staff and customers.”
Flicker’s upcoming plan includes an extended culinary working trip on the West coast, and owners Melinda Van Eeckhout and Jim Andrus plan time off to decide future endeavors.
“It’s simply time to move on . . . on a high note,” the Auriga owners agreed.
Those high notes include a variety of honors for Auriga ranging from being named City Pages’ “Best Restaurant Minneapolis” in 1999, 2000 and 2005, to being featured on the Food Network program Tasty Travels with Rachel Ray.
The culinary masterminds behind Auriga also received local and national praise, as Flicker was the first Twin Cities chef inducted into Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame and was also invited to cook at the James Beard House in June 2006.