Change is coming to Corner Table. And how.
The restaurant, owned by spouses Nick and Chenny Rancone and chef Thomas Boemer, is moving is moving two blocks south to the former La Chaya Bistro (pictured, above).
Then Boemer and the Rancones are converting their 43rd-and-Nicollet restaurant (pictured, above) into a casual, affordable cafe specializing in fried chicken and other Southern fare. The Rancones purchased the restaurant from original chef/owner Scott Pampuch in 2012; Boemer is now a partner in the business.
First, the move. When I reviewed the restaurant last June, one of my (very few) complaints was the disconnect between Boemer’s exciting cooking and the generic and acoustically challenging surroundings.
“Well, we’ve solved that problem,” said Nick Rancone with a laugh.
Despite its roots as a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet (an irony, given the soon-to-come specialty of the house up the street), La Chaya, which closed in December, is a looker. It’s also a bit roomier than cramped Corner Table, and the square-footage increase benefits both the dining room and the kitchen.That extra space means Boemer is going to add a weekend brunch service, along with serving dinner Monday through Saturday.
The plan is to make the move in mid-March (“that’s a conservative estimate,” said Nick Rancone, pictured, above in a Star Tribune file photo, with spouse Chenny Rancone), following a slight rehab of the space. “We want to put our own touch on it,” said Nick Rancone. “It’s going to be clean and cool.”
Expect to see new custom wallpaper, light fixtures and woodwork. It helps that Boemer’s previous career was in cabinet making. “Not only can Thomas do the work – which can enable us to do things that we might not otherwise afford – but he also has a good aesthetic,” said Nick Rancone.
Once that project is up and running – the hope is that the Corner Table transition means that the restaurant will be closed for less than a week – the Rancones and Boemer can concentrate on their yet-unnamed second effort.
Along with fried chicken (Boemer, pictured above in a Star Tribune file photo, is also working on a gluten-free formula), the plan is to offer a short list of Southern comfort food classics at lunch and dinner, a reflection of Boemer’s North Carolina upbringing.
Expect to encounter a biscuit-dough chicken pot pie, hush puppies, a thin-patty burger, served on the premises and packaged to go. “We want to make it approachable, in terms of price, but keep the food to our standards,” said Nick Rancone.
The space is getting a makeover, although the details haven’t been worked out. “But it’ll be more than a coat of paint,” said Nick Rancone. Late May to early June is the target opening date.