Chef Remy Pettus had long dreamed of owning his own restaurant, so when his tenure at Eastside ended abruptly after the downtown eatery opened, he figured it was as good a time as any.
He had the perfect location in mind: an E. Hennepin gem with intricate mason work and a spider-vaulted corridor, near where he had lived as a teenager.
There was just one problem: The owner of the on-site bistro, Rachel’s, wasn’t ready to sell it. At least right away.
Eventually, the thinking changed. Rachel’s closed in November after 10 years in business, and Pettus jumped at the opportunity, taking over the lease in January. He anticipates that Bardo, a modern American restaurant emphasizing seasonal menus and local ingredients, will debut later this summer.
“I had been keeping an eye on that location for 10 years,” Pettus said. “I’ve always thought it was one of the coolest neighborhoods in Minneapolis, but there really isn’t anything in this vein.”
Pettus helmed the kitchen at Eastside (eastsidempls.com) when the Ryan Burnet-owned restaurant opened in the fall of 2015, but just a few months after helping launch the project, he was fired.
“I wasn’t given much of a reason,” Pettus said.
Still, he believes that experience gave him the foundation for his next move.
“I was really proud of the food there, and I think I had a strong following from the community,” he said. “They had given me a lot of support. It just felt like the right time and then this opportunity came up and it kind of all made sense.”
Now he hopes to land on his feet with a project all his own. Though Pettus isn’t ready to discuss menu specifics, he said the 67-seat restaurant with a 30-plus-seat patio will have a healthful vibe and incorporate lots of herbs and spices.
“There will be richness in some areas but a lot of it will be heart-healthy,” he said. “I want people to leave and want to go dancing or to a show. I want it to be energizing.”