No, not the North Loop. It's going into the Twin Cities’ other white-hot restaurant address: downtown Wayzata.
With the days of the Original Pancake House and Sunsets in the rear-view mirror, Rakun (pictured, above, in a Star Tribune file photo) sees an opening in that lakeside city's daytime market.
“My wife has family there, and when we get together, we all start talking about restaurants, because everyone talks about restaurants, because everyone is interested in restaurants,” he said. “And the conversation invariably goes to, ‘Downtown Wayzata needs a breakfast place.’ I like breakfast, so let’s do it.”
He’s noting that the neighborhood doesn’t lack for a certain kind of a.m. competition. There’s the just-opened Bellecour, which operates a bakery, and the soon-to-open Rustica Bakery & Cafe. Still, Rakun’s not worried.
“They’re both great morning spots – I hope to buy all of my breads from Rustica -- but they’re not full service,” he said. “We’ll be bringing something different to downtown Wayzata, and I think that there’s a demand for that.”
The space (designed by Shea Inc. of Minneapolis) will feature an open kitchen and a large bar, a takeoff on the classic diner layout. There's a name, but Rakun's not releasing it just yet. And while he hasn’t sat down and formally composed a menu, he’s got ideas.
“People want simple and approachable at breakfast,” he said. “Pancakes, French toast, a skillet or two, a few eggs Benedict options,” he said. “Really good bacon and sausage and hash browns.”
Timeline? “Mid- to late-summer,” he said. “I’d like it earlier, but we’ll see where the construction puts us.”
Rakun's cafe is the latest tenant to sign a lease into the Promenade of Wayzata, a mixed-use project that includes housing, retail, restaurants (including District Fresh Kitchen + Bar) and the soon-to-open Hotel Landing.
“I love the location,” said Rakun. “It’s right on Lake Street, so there’s good visibility, and plenty of parking.”
It’s a neighborhood popping with restaurant openings and closings. Spoon and Stable chef/owner Gavin Kaysen debuted his Bellecour last week, moving into the space formerly occupied by the Blue Point. A few doors down, restaurateur Ryan Burnet’s Crisp & Green opened its doors late last year, taking over a former Wuollet Bakery outlet.
Also as previously mentioned, Rustica Bakery & Cafe is launching a Wayzata outpost in the Promenade, although there’s a slight change in plans; it’s not taking over the former Lunds & Byerly’s space (the store and cafe closed Jan. 22) but is moving into a different spot in the Promenade (target opening date: mid- to late-August). And when it opens in early summer, the Hotel Landing will have a restaurant, ninetwentyfive, led by former Lucia's Restaurant chef Ryan Lund.
Oh, and across the street, Sushi Fix chef/owner Billy Tserenbat is opening his Baja Haus on March 29.
Phew. That’s a lot of culinary action for a lakeside town with a population measuring in the four thousands.
As for Mercy, Rakun's ongoing remake of Marin Restaurant & Bar in the Chambers Le Meridien hotel in downtown Minneapolis, “It’s on track,” he said. “We’re looking to open April 1st.”