Restaurant news: Erick Harcey, Travail, more

  • Article by: RICK NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 22, 2014 - 2:36 PM

Minneapolis remakes, north and southwest

Victory 44 (2203 44th Av. N., Mpls., victory-44.com) chef Erick Harcey is a busy guy, and he’s about to get busier.

He’s taking over the former In Season (5416 Penn Av. S., Mpls.) and opening Bent Arrow.

“It’s going to be a version of the early Victory 44,” said Harcey. The chalkboard menu’s basic format will feature eight to 10 rotating items in the $15-and-under range. Beer and wine, too.

Unlike Victory 44, the service staff will be separate from the cooking staff. Harcey plans to start with dinner service and eventually add brunch.

The plan is to open on or around April 1. At the same time, Harcey is introducing changes at Victory 44.

“We want to make it more neighborhood-centric and family-friendly,” said the father of four boys ages 8 and under. The strategy includes dropping the current tasting menu format in favor of focusing on more casual options, using the restaurant’s popular (and fantastic) burger — he doesn’t call it the “Perfect Burger” for nothing — as a foundation.

He’s also going to make a more conscious effort to cater to children. “Right now, it’s not the most accommodating restaurant when it comes to kids,” he said. “It’s a cliché, but I want to do comfort food, but do it in a playful way.”

While he’s doubling down at Victory 44 and Bent Arrow, Harcey is maintaining his partnership in Stock & Badge — his collaboration with Rustica and Dogwood Coffee Co. — continuing to develop menus for the company’s properties, but leaving the day-to-day operations to chefs under his tutelage, including Josh Wood at Parka (4021 E. Lake St., Mpls., www.parkampls.com) and longtime Harcey acolyte Jen Farni at Grain Stack, the partnership’s just-opened restaurant at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

“These young chefs are one of the reasons that I can step back, because they’re strong, and they can take the helm,” Harcey said. “It’s their time now, and it’s great to be able to make opportunities for them, to let them flourish while I do my own thing for a while. Maybe it’s also my own selfishness, because I want to cook, I want to get back on the line again. I’m not a very good meetings-and-office kind of guy.”

As for the Bent Arrow name, it’s a play on Lightning (think of a cartoon image of a lightning bolt that resembles, yes, a bent arrow), which was the name of a dearly departed Highland cow. The animal’s head will be mounted in the restaurant.

“Lightning is kind of a weird name for a restaurant,” said Harcey with a laugh. “So we went with Bent Arrow, and we’re paying tribute to a really tasty cow.”

Opening (very) soon

Fans of Travail Kitchen and Amusements, take note: The downtown Robbinsdale restaurant is opening its new home (4124 W. Broadway) to the public on Feb. 4.

Correction

In the Sunday Variety section, I highlighted the first-rate $7.95 Friday fish fry deal — served 4 to 8 p.m. — at the Ideal Cafe (1314 Central Av. NE., Mpls., 612-789-7630), but I screwed up one detail, big-time. The cod is an 8-oz. serving, not a 20-oz. My apologies.

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