Meet Justin Timberlake, Twin Cities foodie.
The pop megastar was already in town this past weekend, a week out from his much-anticipated Super Bowl halftime show. And he was hungry.
On Saturday, Timberlake made his first stop at Manny’s Steakhouse, that downtown Minneapolis palace for oversized slabs of meat.
The singer was looking ultra casual in a dark stocking cap and sweatshirt. He came in during the early evening with a group of nine, said manager Alex Rudich (who wasn’t present but heard all the details from staff).
“He just came in, I don’t think he had a reservation,” Rudich said. “If he did have one, it was probably under a different name.”
Most customers in the dining room left Timberlake alone. “I heard he was really cool. He was really nice to a couple customers who were sitting around him,” Rudich said.
Here’s the grainiest photo ever by a radio guy who was at a nearby table.
What’d he eat? Steak, right? “I have no idea what he ate,” Rudich said. (C’mon man, we need to know these things!) “He was just really casual, ate, and then he and his crew left.”
Here's a slightly better photo provided by a friend of a Star Tribune staffer:
How did JT keep busy on Sunday? He checked out another big Twin Cities restaurant, this time all the way over in St. Paul(!).
In October, one of the Twin Cities’ most acclaimed chefs opened Octo Fishbar in Lowertown, specializing in sustainable seafood.
For this outing, Timberlake came with a group of six guys. They sat at a large booth near the kitchen. “They were looking for something out of the main area,” chef/owner Tim McKee said. “That way he could have his security keep people away.” (JT’s security guys sat at an adjacent table.)
“They seemed to eat a lot,” McKee heard from his staff (he wasn’t present either). “They tried a bunch of stuff.”
While Manny’s is a typical stop for many a celeb visiting the Twin Cities, Octo Fishbar is still fairly new.
“I would love to know how he heard about us,” McKee said.
Of course, McKee is no stranger to serving famous people. When he was cooking at D’Amico Cucina in the late 1990s, Prince was a regular. The biggest deal, though, was cooking for Paul McCartney after-hours in 1997 at that now-closed restaurant, McKee said.
Timberlake, obviously, is still a pretty big deal, too.
“He was really nice,” McKee said. “They didn’t want any pictures taken. I can understand that. Sometimes people just want to ‘be.’ ”