Counter Intelligence | Pasta shop coming soon

  • Updated: April 4, 2007 - 4:29 PM

Pasta shop coming soon

After making a splash at 27th Avenue South and East Lake Street, several partners in the Town Talk Diner (2707 1/2 E. Lake St., Minneapolis) are turning their attention westward. A mile and half, to be precise, just past the Midtown Global Market to the corner of Lake and Chicago, where they plan to convert a former bank building (and, most recently, the home of taqueria Carne Asada) into a moderately priced fast-casual pasta shop.

"Fresh pastas, gnocchis, probably ravioli, tossed salads, gelato, ices, beer and wine," said partner Tim Niver, pictured. "You order at the counter and we run the food out to you, at lunch and dinner, probably six or seven days a week."

The partnership -- which also includes Aaron Johnson and chef Dan Ritter -- is bullish on East Lake Street. "It's turning itself around, and I think we've been a part of that," said Niver. "On a Saturday, over the course of brunch and dinner, we will get 450 people at the Town Talk, and many of them were probably never on East Lake before, so we've proven that if you give people the right environment they will be willing to go somewhere they probably haven't gone in a while."

No name yet. "At least not one I'm willing to guarantee," said Niver with a laugh. "But the words 'pasta shop' will be in the name." If all goes as planned, the restaurant should be open within three to four months.

Around town

A familiar name is returning to the Minneapolis Hilton and Towers (1001 Marquette Av. S.). Chef Julian Grainger, who ran the hotel's popular (and now closed) Carvers restaurant -- and was, most recently, executive chef at the St. James Hotel in Red Wing -- will be running the hotel's Skywater restaurant, starting later this month.

April 29 is the night when seven local chefs -- Steven Brown (formerly of Levain), Ken Goff (Cordon Bleu), Scott Pampuch (Corner Table), Mike Phillips (Craftsman), Alex Roberts (Restaurant Alma), Lenny Russo (Heartland) and Tanya Siebenaler (Sapor Cafe & Bar) -- will prepare a seven-course meal at Craftsman (4300 E. Lake St., Minneapolis) for a fundraiser benefiting Slow Food Minnesota, the local chapter of an international organization that supports agricultural biodiversity and great-tasting food. Reservations are $130 ($115 for Slow Food members); call 612-722-0175.

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