Counter intelligence: Food news and nibbles

  • Updated: November 15, 2006 - 3:06 PM

It'll be a great day

It'll be a great day

When the Great Day Cafe (5410 Wayzata Blvd., Golden Valley) opens, probably in early December, it will be in a piece of Twin Cities restaurant history: It's the former home of My Pi and CocoLezzone, two powerhouse names created by brothers Rick and David Webb in the '70s and '80s. And it may recall another nearby memory.

"We want the Good Day Cafe to be a part of someone's life," said co-owner David Webb. "In a way, the Lincoln Del, which was across the road from here, was like that for a lot of us back in the '70s."

David Webb said the Good Day will combine many familiar dining elements -- a breakfast and lunch (and eventually dinner) restaurant, a bakery, a coffee bar and a to-go counter -- all under a single roof. Chef Jason Gibbons and pastry chef Paul Connors, the talents who drive Rick Webb's Ciao Bella, Zelo and Bacio, are spearheading the cooking and baking.

"We have a very strong feeling that this is where the market is," said David Webb. "People want this kind of food; they want to eat this way."

He's back

After a long absence, the Normandy Inn & City Place Suites (405 S. 8th St., Minneapolis) is getting back into the restaurant business. The restaurateur behind the Landmarc Grill is another name from the past, although not quite so distant: Michael Morse, former owner of the late, lamented cafe un deux trois.

"I'm never going to go away," said Morse with a laugh.

The restaurant -- about 60 seats, plus a small bar-- will be retrofitted into what diners with long memories will recall as the Normandy Kitchen. It will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

"First and foremost, it's going to be a place where hotel guests feel comfortable," said Morse. "But it's also going to be a comfortable spot for the neighborhood. I don't like the phrase 'comfort food,' but for lack of a better term that's what we're going to do. Good, unpretentious American food." Morse said that translates into a turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy, meatloaf, roast chicken, steak and french fries, apple crisp. And, of course, the Henry the 8th Burger and popovers, two fabled standards from the hotel's past.

"That's the first thing anyone asks," said Morse. " 'Are you bringing back the popovers? Are you bringing back the Henry the 8th Burger?' There is so much history to the Normandy. It's a landmark."

Morse and hotel owner Michael Noble aim for a mid-February opening.

Elbow room

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