Lindsay Pohlad was an East Coast investment banker when she married her husband Tom, a Minneapolis native.
“I knew we’d inevitably end up in the Midwest,” she said.
When they relocated to the Twin Cities, Pohlad refocused her career, directing food service sales for Talenti Gelato, attending culinary school and helping to kick-start the Good Acre, a non-profit food hub in Falcon Heights.
When the couple and their three young sons moved to the Wayzata area, Lindsay Pohlad looked around the lakeside city’s booming dining scene and sensed an opportunity.
“There was a gap in the marketplace, although I didn’t want to open a full-service restaurant,” she said. “There are a lot of exciting restaurants here, but there wasn’t much in the way of fast casual.”
Enter the Grocer’s Table (326 Broadway Av., Wayzata), Pohlad’s upcoming cafe-market-bar combination. The name is “a humble connotation of the chef’s table,” said Pohlad. “In the east, there’s a deli and market on every corner. Wayzata has such an established feel, and it needs something like this.”
She’s taking some cues from the former Lucia’s To Go in Uptown Minneapolis.
“Lucia [Watson] has been a big mentor of mine, and a friend,” she said. “And I can’t say enough great things about how we as a family loved going to Lucia’s To Go.”
A service counter will offer full breakfast, lunch and dinner items, and a bar will feature coffee (Chicago's Intelligentsia brand), beer and wine. “We’ll play around with some Champagne cocktails,” said Pohlad.
A grab-and-go deli case will be stocked with both staples (chicken salad, mac-and-cheese) and items that change weekly or bi-weekly.
“My approach to cooking is rustic, seasonal and approachable,” said Pohlad.
In the kitchen, a wood-fueled oven will get all kinds of use, from baking flatbreads and pizzas to blistering vegetables and roasting animal proteins.
Breakfast will include an array of sandwiches – some using English muffins baked in that wood-burning oven, others built with buttermilk biscuits or seven-grain bread – along with a daily quiche and a series of toasts, from an avocado version to one topped with goat cheese, honey and figs.
Lunch and dinner will feature sandwiches, salads, soups and build-your-own meals (roasted salmon with a grain salad, for example), all available to dine in or take out. Diners will also be able to drop in for a wide array of meat and cheese boards.
The market will be stocked with items that Pohlad will produce on the premises, as well as products that she’s encountered elsewhere and will import to Minnesota; potato chips from St. Louis-based Billy Goat Chip Co., for example.
The bakery won’t be replicating the work of neighboring Bellecour.
“Nothing remotely close,” Pohlad said with a laugh. “None of their beautiful laminated doughs, none of their pretty pastries. I just want to stay true to the things I love. I’ve been tinkering with family recipes: cookies, Nutella brownies and other bars. We’ll try and do some fun extras on the weekends. Sticky buns, or caramel rolls, or other items that are available until they’re sold out.”
The project – both the Beltz Building (pictured, above, in a provided photo) and the restaurant’s interior – is the work of Shea Design of Minneapolis.
“I worked really hard with David [Shea] to make it look as if it’s not new and shiny and trendy, but established, and authentic, and timeless,” said Pohlad. “It’s going to be cozy in the winter but light and airy in the summer.”
The 60-seat cafe will include a long communal table (“My physical representation of the grocer’s table,” said Pohlad) plus an eight-seat counter. A 30-seat patio will front the building.
Because of the site’s proximity to Wayzata’s public dock, Pohlad also plans to cater to the boating community, creating picnic basket-style options.
The project has had a long gestation period. Pohlad began work in 2014.
“And then it took forever for it to come to fruition,” she said.
Most of the lag was due to the building’s construction – the Grocer’s Table will occupy 4,300 square feet on the ground floor of the three-story structure -- which is now underway and should finally wrap up by the end of the year.
“In a way, the delay has been a blessing,” said Pohlad. “It’s frustrating, because I’m an impatient person, but it has also given me the luxury of time. Still, nothing significant has changed about the concept in the past four years, and that feels really good.”
Look for a late-March/early-April 2020 opening.