Xavi, the well-run charmer that drew admirers to 56th and Chicago in south Minneapolis, has closed.
“It’s been hard, but we have come to the conclusion of Xavi restaurant,” is the message that co-owners Michael Agan and James Elm posted on social media on Sunday evening. (That's Elm, left, and Agan, above, in a Star Tribune file photo).
“The last 2½ years have been filled with joy, pain, a tremendous amount of growth, some amazing food, the best, best people. The people in the neighborhood, the foodies that sought us out, the incredible staff, have made this journey worthwhile. Closing up shop is hard, and we didn’t make this decision lightly. But in the end, we couldn’t make it work for everyone.”
The closing is a loss for the local dining scene.
When it opened in 2016, the restaurant took over the space that had been the longtime home of First Course. Agan, the restaurant’s chef, delivered an agility and level of creativity to his cooking that was a cut above the standard-issue neighborhood restaurant.
(His scallop crudo landed on my 2016 list of top 10 dishes. Here’s what I wrote: “Mention chef Michael Agan’s gem of a neighborhood restaurant, and my knee-jerk response is invariably 'lamb ribs.' Because, well, they’re that good. But digging a little deeper into my dining journal, and the heavily underlined words 'scallop crudo' [$11] pop off the page. And why not? The scallops, so firm and succulent and teasingly sweet, pair elegantly against the tart acidic bite of grapefruit and the salty, bright-green bite of sea beans. Perfect.”)
Elm was the friendly face behind the host stand and the bar. Between the efforts of these two longtime pals -- and Twin Cities restaurant veterans -- the small-ish (60-seat) place just clicked.
“We’ve always wanted to have a little restaurant,” Agan told the Star Tribune in 2016, shortly before Xavi opened. Here’s hoping that their talents surface in other Twin Cities establishments, and soon.