Randy Stanley, owner of 6Smith (294 E. Grove Lane, Wayzata, 6smith.com), is also in expansion mode.
After making a success on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, Stanley is turning his attention to the parking lot at Rosedale shopping center. He plans to build Baldamar, a “modern American” steakhouse, placing it in a new building adjacent to the mall’s just-opened Von Maur department store.
Stanley said that the area’s demographics are a driving force behind his investment.
“It just seems so obvious to me,” he said. “The surrounding area has 57,000 households with people ages 30 to 50 with household incomes over $100,000. They travel, they watch the Food Network, they understand food and want authentic food experiences.”
The menu will feature prime-grade, aged-40-days steaks, along with a changes-daily seafood selection, salads, sandwiches and housemade desserts. The bar will concentrate on craft cocktails, microbrews and wines from small-scale, family-owned vineyards.
“It’s going to be polished, but approachable, and the menu is so flexible that you’ll be able to have all kinds of experiences,” he said.
“It’s going to be a place where people will feel comfortable celebrating life’s passages, while at the next table there could be six or seven friends sharing appetizers and small plates, and next to them could be someone having a burger and a beer. One could spend $18, another could spend $180.”
The 264-seat restaurant (“About 80 of those seats are private dining, and that’s another missing element in the eastern suburbs,” said Stanley) will also include a 40-seat patio.
Construction is set to begin in March (Shea Design of Minneapolis is handling the design work), with a fall 2019 opening.
Frango Diner, Richfield
Here’s the bright side of all that road construction on W. 66th Street in Richfield: It has paved the way for new restaurants. A branch of Dunkin’ Donuts is coming in for a landing on the northeast corner of 66th and Penn Av. S., and on that intersection’s southwest corner, the doors on a former Bruegger’s Bagels will soon reopen as Frango Diner (6600 Penn Av. S., Richfield, frangodiner.com).
“We’re going to give customers an old-style diner experience with modern food,” said co-owner Samee Kerim. “It’s going to be classic foods, redone in a slightly modern way.”
The counter-service setup will feature all-day breakfast, a number of burgers, a variety of grilled chicken options, “loaded” potatoes (baked potatoes that are split in half and piled high with toppings) and desserts that will range from pies and cakes to frozen custard and soft serve ice cream. No beer and wine.
“Not at this time,” said Kerim. “We’re looking for a hometown diner kind of feel, and Richfield was a good fit.”
Opening? “We don’t have a firm date, but hopefully it’s soon,” said Kerim. “It’s just a matter of getting things set up and finalizing inspections.”
As for the name, no, it’s not a nod to the mint chocolate candy made famous by Marshall Field’s and still available at its successor, Macy’s. “Frango” is Portuguese for “chicken.”
Facundo De Fraia, the dough wizard who created such a stir with his empanadas at chef Daniel del Prado’s four-star Martina (4312 Upton Av. S., Mpls., martinarestaurant.com), is striking out on his own.
“When Danny called and said, ‘I’m opening my first restaurant, would you be willing to move?’, I didn’t think twice,” said De Fraia.
“I went from San Diego to Minneapolis to open Martina and it was the greatest thing ever, because Danny is my hero, and I wanted to learn from him.”
He and business partner Teddy Kordonowy (a Lowry Hill Meats vet) are launching Boludo (3749 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., boludoempanadas.com). Naturally, the house specialty will be empanadas, along with pizza.
“I love making doughs,” he said.
No kidding. He’s been making empanadas for 20 years, following a recipe he learned from his 94-year-old grandmother. His pizza dough formula dates back to 2006, when he opened a pizzeria in Seattle.
The menu will feature five empanadas and as many pizzas, along with several salads, a chorizo sandwich and a few desserts, plus par-baked, grab-and-go empanadas. Those following gluten-free diets will be pleased to learn that De Fraia has gluten-free versions for both empanadas and pizzas.
“I hate going into a restaurant and discovering that you don’t have many options,” he said. “You don’t feel welcome, and it’s better if everyone feels welcome.”
They’ve taken over the former Birdie space and are making the most of its tight quarters, squeezing in a counter-service operation with 20 seats scattered over a communal table and a long counter. Libations will include beer, wine and a single cocktail: the Fernando (“When you go into a bar in Argentina, everyone orders a Fernando,” he said), an Argentine staple fashioned from fernet and Mexican Coca-Cola.
Oh, and shots of whiskey, tequila, mezcal and fernet.
“We don’t know how people are going to take that, but we only have space for the cashier, Teddy and me,” said De Fraia.
The restaurant, which debuts Nov. 20, will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
The Block, St. Louis Park
Members of the Craft & Crew Hospitality crew are at it again.
Two of the managers of Stanley’s Northeast Bar Room (2500 University Av. NE., Mpls., stanleysbarroom.com), the Howe Daily Kitchen & Bar (3675 Minnehaha Av. S., Mpls., howempls.com), Pub 819 (819 Mainstreet, Hopkins, pub819.com) and other properties — have just sealed the deal to expand into St. Louis Park.
In a building that is currently home to Park Vacuum (7008 Hwy. 7) — it’s located just northeast of the intersection of Hwy. 7 and Louisiana Avenue — Luke Derheim and David Benowitz plan to create the Block (7008 Hwy. 7).
“The concept will be very similar to our other neighborhood restaurants, and offer a full bar program,” said Derheim. “We are beyond excited to be a part of the community in this area, and bringing our food, drinks and most important, our dog menu to this area.”
Fun fact: Three years after introducing such items as “Turkey Muttloaf” and “K-9 Chicken,” the canine-friendly restaurants have just served their 20,000th dog meal. For humans, Craft & Crew kitchens turn out a long list of well-made, crowd-pleasing favorites: burgers, flatbreads, salads, sandwiches, grain bowls and brunch items.
An expansion of the modest building will yield a 112-seat dining room, and a 50-seat patio will be placed on the Walker Street side of the property. Also in the works is a rooftop patio, a Craft & Crew first. “We’re not certain if that’s going to happen in 2020, or 2021,” said Derheim.
Construction on the restaurant and bar is scheduled to begin in December, with an opening sometime in late May.
Four more openings:
In other Rosedale news, the mall’s Revolution Hall (revolutionfoodhall.com) is opening Nov. 19. The two-level food hall, located in a former Borders Book Shop, includes 11 different dining concepts — a bakery, tacos, a pizzeria, burgers, salads, sushi, a bourbon-centric bar, and more — and seating for up to 700 people.
Andrew Zimmern’s Lucky Cricket (1607 West End Blvd., St. Louis Park, luckycricket.net) opens — in the Shops at West End — on Nov. 19.
Hwy 10 BBQ (16777 Marketplace Dr., Big Lake, hwy10bbq.com) is expanding. Check out the new Prospect Park location (3020 University Av. SE., Mpls.), which is opening Thursday, Nov. 15.
The popular food truck Hibachi Daruma is opening a brick-and-mortar location (820 Marquette Av. S., Mpls.) on Nov. 19. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner daily.