Counter intelligence: An impending vacancy at the Chambers

  • Article by: RICK NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 9, 2013 - 5:29 PM

Plus: Pasties coming soon

Le Meridien Chambers hotel is losing its restaurant. D'Amico Kitchen is closing on Sunday.

D'Amico & Partners, which has managed the hotel's food and beverage operations since mid-2009, is not renewing its lease, said company president Richard D'Amico in a statement.

"We've been in discussions with D'Amico and anticipating this transition for a while," said hotel general partner Ralph Burnet in a statement, adding that he expects to name a new food and beverage partner in the next few weeks, after details are finalized. "We plan to bring something fresh and exciting to the downtown restaurant mix. I think the Twin Cities dining community will be pleased."

D'Amico cited company expansion as a reason for the departure.

"We've opened three new restaurants in the past couple of years, and we're planning to open another new restaurant concept in 2013," he said.

The hospitality giant operates 20 restaurants in the Twin Cities and Florida, including Campiello in Eden Prairie, Parma 8200 in Bloomington and Cafe Lurcat and Bar Lurcat, Masa, Gather and Mezzanine, all in Minneapolis, along with the D'Amico & Sons quick-service chain.

D'Amico Kitchen, which emphasizes contemporary Italian fare, opened in July 2009. It replaced the hotel's original restaurant, Chambers Kitchen, which was operated by star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The 60-room hotel, at 9th Street and Hennepin Avenue S. in downtown Minneapolis, opened in 2004.

Coming soon: Pasties

Another food truck is setting up permanent shop. This time it's Potter's Pasties & Pies (www.potterspasties.com). Rather than a full-fledged restaurant, owners Fiona and Alec Duncan are converting a former pizza delivery kitchen into a drop-in pickup counter in the back of Joe's Market (1828 Como Av. SE., Mpls.).

"It will be like a pasty shop in England," wrote Alec Duncan in an e-mail. "No seats -- you just go around back to our main door, down the stairs and straight into the kitchen."

Expect to find both ready-to-eat and par-baked versions of the couple's exceptional savory pies, along with seasonal specials and smaller, less expensive renditions in puff pastry ("to appeal to the student price point," he added). Delivery, too, Monday through Saturday evenings. "The actual delivery area is to be announced, but I would like to extend it into St. Paul," he said.

The distinctive Union Jack-covered truck will continue to serve its downtown fans during the warm-weather months.

Expect a March 1 opening, although the Duncans will probably offer a preview by serving from the truck in the shop's parking lot.

In the North Loop

Borough (730 Washington Av. N., Mpls., www.boroughmpls.com) is now open, serving dinner (bison tartar, pork-belly-wrapped Scotch eggs, sturgeon with white beans and kale, a finely ground sirloin burger topped with Cheddar and more of that pork belly) and cocktails, to 2 a.m. daily.

Sad news

Our condolences to Brian McElrath and everyone at B.T. McElrath on the death of Christine Walthour, Brian's wife and the artisinal chocolate company's co-founder and vice president. Walthour, age 43, died last week.

RICK NELSON

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