The pandemic has ended another Twin Cities four-star restaurant.
Burch, the dynamic steakhouse and pizzeria owned by spouses Isaac Becker and Nancy St. Pierre, will not reopen. The boisterous, two-level restaurant has been shuttered since mid-March 2020, when Gov. Tim Walz temporarily closed the state's dining rooms in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
"All of our restaurants are incurring a lot of debt right now," said Becker. "The issue with Burch is that it was always expensive to operate — it's a beast of a restaurant — and it was not very profitable, even as big and as busy as it was. The pandemic just exacerbated that, and the debt that we would have had to take on to reopen was more than we could ever pay down."
Becker and St. Pierre also own top-rated 112 Eatery in downtown Minneapolis and Bar La Grassa and Snack Bar in the North Loop. All have remained temporarily closed since March, but Becker said that he's confident that they will return.
"They're all going to have debt once we reopen, but it seems like it's going to be debt that we can chip away as we go," he said. "This is all that Nancy and I know how to do, it's not like we're going to hang up our aprons and do something else."
When the three restaurants will reopen is unclear.
"Nancy and I are hoping for early summer, but we can't say for sure," said Becker. "We never dreamed we'd be closed this long. I can't wait for social interaction, and for the buzz of a restaurant."
Burch, located at Hennepin Av. and Franklin Av. in Minneapolis' Lowry Hill neighborhood, was the Star Tribune's 2013 Restaurant of the Year.
When it opened in 2013, it boasted a dazzling kitchen crew that included Becker (a James Beard award winner), chef Daniel del Prado (now the force behind Martina, Colita and Rosalia and just-announced Josefina and Pizza Fina in Wayzata) and pastry chef Shawn McKenzie, who now owns Café Cerés with del Prado.
"Burch was a great restaurant with great memories that Nancy I were always very proud of," reads a statement that the couple sent to Burch employees on Wednesday. "When we opened Burch we had always envisioned it becoming a Minneapolis institution that would be around for decades. It breaks our heart to have to make this decision."
Rick Nelson • @RickNelsonStrib