When James Beard Award-winning chef Tim McKee, the La Belle Vie trailblazer, announced in August his intentions to open a Spanish restaurant in Minneapolis' North Loop in 2023, details were hazy.
Now, the picture is becoming clearer, with news of a new hotel opening in Minneapolis next year.
And there's more: In addition to a Basque-inspired restaurant featuring pintxos and other dishes cooked over charcoal, McKee will spearhead an Eastern Mediterranean-inspired bakery that will utilize a wood-fired oven. McKee is also overseeing the hotel's events and in-room dining.
Also on the West Hotel's roster are a lobby fireside lounge, a stone cellar cocktail bar, a rooftop bar with city views, an outdoor dining patio and flexible event spaces.
The 123-room property, developed by Commutator and designed by Neri&Hu and Snow Kreilich Architects, will utilize two existing buildings — the Roe Wolfe building at 121 N. 1st St. and the Foundry building at 125 N. 1st St. — with new construction in between. The Roe Wolfe building's historically significant façade will be maintained.
(Commutator's John Gross is a partner in several Minneapolis restaurants, including North Loop neighbors Kado no Mise, Kaiseki Furukawa, Gori Gori Peku and Sanjusan.)
The West Hotel's lobby, which includes a bar, will be located inside the former brass foundry on a corner that is about to see new culinary life next year.
Just a few doors down, in the former Alliance Française headquarters, Josh Thoma and Kevin Fitzgerald will open a tequila-focused restaurant, with chef Nick O'Leary helming the kitchen. Kitty-corner to the new hotel, Daniel del Prado and Ryan Burnet will bring the former Bachelor Farmer space back to life with a new concept that has an Argentinean-Patagonian influence, and a cocktail bar in the old Marvel Bar space. And chef David Fhima is behind a restaurant and speakeasy project inside the old Ribnick Furs building.
"We're eager to expand into this vibrant city and collaborate with these amazing and talented partners," David Bowd, CEO of Salt Hotels, said in a statement. "I fell in love with Minneapolis the first time I visited. ... We're excited to be expanding here during a time when such transformational developments are taking place."