The North Loop space that was home to Be’wiched Deli has been sitting empty for nearly a year. That’s going to change, soon.
Isaac Becker and Nancy St. Pierre, the couple behind 112 Eatery, Burch Restaurant and Bar La Grassa, just signed a lease on the space (in the mammoth TractorWorks Building) and plan to turn it into Snack Bar.
“It’s going to be kind of wine bar-ey and lounge-ey,” said Becker. “And it’s also going to have pizza, and pizza by the slice.”
Inspiration came during a recent visit to New York City, when the couple spontaneously dropped into a slice shop.
“It was a random place, and the pizza was fine,” said Becker. “But that cracker crust that you get when you reheat in deck ovens? It’s really great. So we thought, ‘Let’s do this, with decent ingredients, and decent sauce.’”
In other words, a different style from the wood-fired pizzas that make their Burch such a destination. At Snack Bar, pizza will be sold at a counter, and Becker is projecting that most of the sales in the heavily residential neighborhood will be takeout. But there will also be a communal table, as well as space for stand-up eating and drinking.
As for the 90-seat lounge side of the operation, “You’ll be able to go in and get something small, with a glass of wine, but there will also be things on the menu so you can have a full meal,” said Becker, who is the James Beard Foundation’s 2011 winner of its Best Chef: Midwest award. “This side is Nancy’s baby, she’s been driving the design, and the concept.” (That's Becker and St. Pierre, above, in a Star Tribune file photo taken at 112 Eatery shortly after Becker's James Beard win).
The plan is to open at 4 p.m., and serve to midnight; on Sunday, closing hour will be 10 p.m. The bar will have a full liquor license.
The space, which shares a lobby with 10-year-old Bar La Grassa, will be extensively renovated.
“You won’t recognize it,” said Becker. “The kitchen is going to stay where it is. There’s no point in moving it. That would cost a million dollars. Otherwise, it’s going look completely different.”
Becker said that Snack Bar should debut by late summer.