Riebel exits Butcher & the Boar

Chef Jack Riebel has left the Butcher & the Boar (1121 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-238-8888, www.butcherandtheboar.com).

“It’s time to do something new,” he said. “Butcher & the Boar was great for me, and I feel so fortunate to have had that experience. It was my first opportunity to do my own thing, and it was really rewarding. But I’m ready for the next episode.”

Don’t expect to encounter a lot of changes at meat-centric Butcher & the Boar. Riebel’s gifted colleague Peter Botcher will be running the kitchen.

“And obviously the whole crew that I hired and trained is still there,” Riebel said.

Riebel, one of the hardest-working chefs in the business, said the long-term plan is to open his own place, in partnership with his wife.

“It’ll take me a year to put it together,” he said. “But, hey, it’s January 2nd. Who knows what the next phone call will bring?”

Four-star Butcher & the Boar opened in March 2012. It went on to be named the Star Tribune’s 2012 Restaurant of the Year, and was a James Beard Foundation’s Best New Restaurant semifinalist. Riebel was also a 2013 James Beard nominee for Best Chef: Midwest.

Riebel has sold his ownership interest back to his Butcher & the Boar partners. In the meantime, Riebel is consulting with Butcher & the Boar partner Tim Rooney and Joe Kaplan of the former Joe’s Garage on a casual restaurant and bar project, slated to open this year in the former Joe’s space on Loring Park (1610 Harmon Place, Mpls.).

No name yet (“We were originally calling it Triton, but now we’re just calling it the Joe’s Garage Project,” he said with a laugh) but Riebel did say that they’re aiming for a June 1 opening and that they hope to have a chef on board by March or April.


Openings, closings

Relevé Champagne Lounge has opened in Cosmos at the Graves 601 Hotel (601 1st Av. N., Mpls., 612-312-1168, www.relevelounge.com), uncorking a selection of sparkling wines by the glass as well as 187-, 375- and 750-milliliter and 1.5- and 3-liter bottles, along with a half-dozen cocktails. The snacks-focused menu includes oysters, flatbreads, walleye sliders and deviled eggs topped with Lake Superior roe.

Say goodbye to Napa Valley Grille. The Mall of America restaurant closed Monday, after a 20-year run.

Trotter tribute

A salute to the late Charlie Trotter continues through Sunday at La Belle Vie (510 Groveland Av., Mpls., 612-874-6440, www.labellevie.us), featuring recipes from Trotter’s cookbooks in the restaurant’s four-, five- and eight-course tasting menus.

From the moment it opened in 1987 until the day it closed in 2012, Trotter’s eponymous Chicago restaurant was a standard-bearer, and Trotter, who died in November at age 54, was also a prolific cookbook author, with 14 titles to his credit.

“Twenty years ago, those cookbooks were the Bible,” said La Belle Vie chef/owner Tim McKee. “They were so amazing and informative, and they put a meaningful and long-lasting mark on a lot of chefs. They certainly played a formative role in my development as a chef.”

Dishes include sea urchin and Osetra caviar, lobster with potato gnocchi and saffron-infused mussel emulsion and salmon and seared foie gras with truffled artichokes.

“It’s hard to overestimate Trotter’s influence,” LBV chef de cuisine Michael DeCamp said in a prepared statement. “He had a huge impact on Tim and I. One of the reasons that I moved to Chicago back in 2002 was because that’s where Charlie Trotter’s was. He was his own food movement.”

Another connection: Former longtime Charlie Trotter’s pastry chef (and co-author of “Charlie Trotter’s Desserts”) Michelle Gayer, now owner of the Salty Tart (920 E. Lake St., Mpls., 612-874-9206, www.saltytart.com), is planning the tribute’s dessert menus in conjunction with LBV pastry chef Diane Yang.


In the house

Gather (1750 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-253-3410, www.gatherbydamico.com) at the Walker Art Center has announced its guest chefs-in-residence for the first four months of 2014.

Chris Dmochowski of Campiello (6411 City West Pkwy., Eden Prairie, 952-941-6868, www.campiello.damico.com) is in the kitchen on Jan. 9. On Feb. 6, it’s Mike Rakun of Mill Valley Kitchen (3906 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-358-2000, www.millvalleykitchen.com) and Marin Restaurant & Bar (901 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-252-7000, www.marinrestaurant.com). Amy Thielen, host of the Food Network’s “Heartland Table” and author of “The New Midwestern Table” (and Taste writer) is scheduled for March 6, and Tyler Shipton of Borough (730 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-354-3135, www.boroughmpls.com) is on the calendar for April 3.

The monthly event (5 to 9 p.m.) is held in conjunction with the museum’s Target Free Thursday Nights programming and features complimentary menu items created by the guest chef (which are featured for the rest of the month on the restaurant’s menu), as well as the restaurant’s small-plates menu and opportunities to meet and greet with some of the Twin Cities’ top culinary professionals. Reservations recommended.


Burger deal

Here’s a twist on those familiar with the half-price wine night: Bar Abilene (1300 Lagoon Av., Mpls., 612-825-2525, www.barabilene.com) is devoting Monday evenings to half-price burger night, slashing the price on the menu’s seven burgers by 50 percent.