Counter Intelligence: Seafood coming to Hennepin Avenue

  • Article by: RICK NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 22, 2013 - 1:11 PM
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The Union.

Photo: Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

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Fresh seafood headed to 8th and Hennepin

Big changes are coming to nine-month-old Union (731 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., www.unionmpls.com).

No, the fantastic rooftop isn’t going anywhere.

“That has been the driving force behind the Union brand, and we’re thrilled by its success,” said Kam Talebi, CEO of Kaskaid Hospitality, the restaurant’s parent company. “But the main level has never really taken on its own identity. More customers would rather dine upstairs. So we’re going to differentiate upstairs from downstairs.”

He’s doing that by re-christening the somewhat sleepy 84-seat restaurant and bar into Union Fish Market.

“We think that fresh seafood is currently underserved in the marketplace,” said Talebi. “Bringing seafood to the Hennepin Avenue corridor is something that we’re really excited about.”

Kaskaid corporate executive chef Bill King, a McCormick & Schmick’s vet, promises “a wonderful balance between a sense of tradition and a modernist approach to seafood.”

The restaurant — which will be overseen by Union chef Lucas Almendinger — will feature a changes-daily list of 15 to 18 fresh seafood options (based upon availability from both Atlantic and Pacific vendors), along with a set menu that will evolve seasonally.

Expect to see slight tweaks in the room’s decor, as well as in the bar menu. Union’s current iteration will remain open until its dinner-only replacement debuts on Sept. 17.

Meanwhile, it’s full steam ahead for the company’s casual, affordably priced Uptown venture.

Construction is set to begin in November on Boneyard, which is stepping into Old Chicago (2841 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.). King describes the menu as a “playful take on Southern comfort food, drawing from old-school traditions and contemporary twists.”

Look for everything from fried chicken and a survey of North Carolina-, Texas- and Memphis-style barbecue to snacks designed to complement a wide range of beers and cocktails.

“We’ll be making something that currently doesn’t exist in Uptown,” Talebi said.

The property features a rarity for the neighborhood — parking — and Talebi is promising an inside-and-out renovation. A February-March opening is planned.

Muse, Kaskaid’s events center in the former Trocaderos (107 3rd Av. N., Mpls.), is hosting its first shindig — a wedding — on Sept. 18.

 

Homage on a stick

Here’s how HauteDish (119 Washington Av. N., Mpls., www.haute-dish.com) is celebrating the Minnesota State Fair: On Aug. 27, 28 and 29, chef/co-owner Landon Schoenefeld and his crew are preparing a dim sum-inspired dinner and serving each under-$5 item on a stick.

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