Here’s a trend we can all embrace: Another young, well-mentored chef is stepping out on his own.
After five-plus years of cooking at Restaurant Alma (528 University Av. SE., Mpls., www.restaurantalma.com), Ben Rients is launching a casual, 70-seat bar-restaurant he’s calling Lyn 65 Kitchen & Bar.
As the name indicates, the project, nearly two years in the making, is at 65th St. and Lyndale Av. S., in a forgettable strip mall that’s now part of a rapidly gentrifying Richfield commercial corridor.
“Richfield is a really underserved market,” said Rients.
Yes, it is. As for the menu, “It’s going to be bar food, although I don’t want to pigeonhole it,” he said. “Classic, approachable American fare, but refined. It’s mine, and I’ll be making the rules. But it will always be a bar. A bar where you can get a bowl of really great steamed mussels.”
There will be a handful of constantly changing plates-for-two — fried chicken, a steak — with prices topping out at $15.
“We’re going to show people that we’re working hard to give them more, for less,” he said. “Alex [Roberts, chef/owner of Restaurant Alma] does that so well. I definitely want to run the business the way Alex runs his business.”
He’s also planning 10 seasonal, liberally topped, oblong-shaped sourdough flatbreads, an homage to La Pratolina, the influential Rome pizzeria, minus its wood-burning oven (“We couldn’t afford one,” Rients said). Dessert will be complimentary soft-serve ice cream.
“I want people to come in and have a good time. Instead of going to Applebee’s, we’ll get people to come to Lyn 65.”
A relatively open kitchen will anchor the long, skinny space. The bar will produce classic cocktails and feature reasonably priced beers and wines. Rients, a Lakeville native, is planning to serve a late-afternoon happy hour and dinner, and cooking to midnight weekdays and 1 a.m. weekends. A November opening is planned.
‘Pop’ goes Travail
While their new home is under construction in Robbinsdale, the cooking collective behind Travail Kitchen and Amusements is planning a short-lived dining experience that will run from Sept. 11 through at least mid-October; the schedule will depend upon the progress at the Travail construction site.
The location? Minneapolis’ restaurant-starved North Side, inside a recently rehabbed chain outlet near Broadway and Dupont. Av. N. The 45-seat operation will focus on Asian street food, “which really is the best food, ever,” said co-owner Mike Brown.
No name yet. Rather than accepting reservations, the plan is to sell tickets to seatings, via Tempotickets.com, an online ticket service.
“But we also want to connect with the neighborhood, so if someone wants to come in for takeout, we’ll do takeout,” said Brown.
Out of season
Chef Don Saunders closed his In Season (5416 Penn Av. S., Mpls.) on June 1, with plans to reopen in autumn under a different format. He’s changed his mind. “I have decided not to move forward with the reopening,” he wrote on the restaurant’s website. Saunders continues to cook at his other property, the Kenwood (2115 W. 21st St., Mpls., www.thekenwoodrestaurant.com).