To restaurant watchers, the news isn’t a huge surprise, but here goes: Lorin Zinter is leaving Heyday.
When Zinter, one of the Twin Cities' top front-of-the-house faces, announced last month that he was joining the team behind the reincarnation of two legacy Twin Cities restaurants -- the Forum Cafeteria (re-christened Il Foro, to reflect the modern Italian menu) in downtown Minneapolis, and the Lexington in St. Paul – the new equation left a lingering something’s-gotta-give scent.
“We basically decided that I wasn’t going to spread myself too thin with other projects,” said Zinter. “I talked with my partners [chef Jim Christiansen and business partner Mike Prickett] and we all felt it was in the best interest for me to move on and have someone else step in. It’s all very amicable, there’s no ill will, it was a group decision.”
Details of their partnership agreement haven’t been finalized, but his much has: Stepping into Zinter’s general manager shoes will be Dani Megears, who has been Heyday’s astute wine buyer since the doors opened in April.
“Jim and I have both known Dani for years,” said Zinter. "Jim worked with her at Solera, I worked with her at La Belle Vie, and we both think the world of her.”
Zinter (pictured above, right, with Christiansen on the left, in a Star Tribune file photo) will remain at four-star Heyday through the end of the year.
“I’m sorry to see Lorin go,” said Christiansen. “We have a great relationship and he brings so much to the table. But I’m excited for him.”
In his next role, Zinter will be steering the front-of-the-house operations at the Lex and Il Foro, a potent partnership that also includes Smack Shack partners Josh Thoma and Kevin Fitzgerald, along with former Butcher & the Boar chef Jack Riebel.
Both historic properties will debut “sometime in 2015, and let’s leave it at that,” said Zinter with a laugh, refusing to be nailed down to anything more specific, calendar-wise. “We want to be realistic. You know how these restaurant openings go.”