Yep, it's official: Brut, the long-awaited collaboration between chefs Jamie Malone and Erik Anderson (pictured, above), finally has a home.
The couple's new venture is going into the former Sapor Cafe and Bar space at 428 Washington Av. N., in the North Loop neighborhood. Sapor closed in June after a distinguished 15-year run.
"Needless to say, we are extremely excited," said Malone. "This is the spot we have been looking at for nearly two years. We live a few blocks down the street and are happy to achieve our goal of living and working in one community."
The space is being overhauled by Shea, the Minneapolis design firm responsible for such projects as Brasserie Zentral and the soon-to-open Eastside. Earlier this year, the firm was nominated for a James Beard award for its work on Spoon and Stable. "We're planning on a complete overhaul of the interior," said Malone.
When it opens next spring, Brut will be the only Minneapolis restaurant to boast two chefs who have both been lauded as Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chefs: Anderson in 2012 (during his tenure at Catbird Seat in Nashville), Malone in 2013 (when she was at the helm of Sea Change).
When they announced their collaboration in June 2014, Malone said the plan was to concentrate on what she described as classical, French-style cookery. The Brut name is a reference to the dry-to-the-taste sparkling wine. Why that particular name?
“Because we both love drinking it,” Malone told me last year. “We think it goes well with a lot of the food that we want to cook. And there are lot of interesting sparkling wines from around the world, lots of things that aren’t super-accessible — at least right now — in a restaurant setting.”
The couple met in 2008 when they were both cooking at the then-new Porter & Frye — although Malone knew of Anderson when she was a student at the Cordon Bleu and he was an instructor — and they later worked together when Anderson was running Sea Change. When Anderson left for Nashville in 2011 to open Catbird Seat, she replaced him at Sea Change.
Anderson and Malone are also developing a menu for Scena Tavern, set to open in November in Uptown. The Italian restaurant is the work of busy restaurateur Paul Dzubnar (Green Mill, Crooked Pint Ale House, Town Hall Brewery). Dzubnar recently purchased 428 Washington Av. N. (pictured, above), known as the Free Spirit Building; Brut will occupy the 5th-and-Washington corner spot.