The bar at Subo. Photo by Tom Wallace.
Bad news for fans of Filipino food: Subo in downtown Minneapolis has closed. Good news for fans of food in general: The acclaimed team behind the Strip Club Meat & Fish is taking over the space.
Tim Niver and Aaron Johnson, who also brought the Town Talk Diner to life a few years ago, are the new operators. Subo’s owner, businessman Jim Hays, will stay on. Subo opened late last year to a good buzz in the foodie scene. Even so, the Filipino-styled restaurant never seemed to catch on, eventually parting ways with its original head chef in April.
The new name will be The Inn, Niver said, indicating that the restaurant/bar will be all about comfort. His team is hitting the ground running. “The flip is starting in about 20 minutes,” he said Monday. They will continue to operate the Strip Club as well.
Niver and Johnson are in the midst of hiring a new executive chef and hope to reopen the Subo spot by mid-November. Niver said the menu will be comfort food with a Euro-colonial twist (he called it: “comfort food swagger.”). The Strip Club’s co-owner and chef, JD Fratzke, will serve as a consultant. Expect entrée price points between $17 and $23. Also: Look for a variety of small plates and a grill menu.
While some cosmetic changes will be made, Niver said he already liked Subo’s rustic elements and “cool grit.” The stacked crates behind the bar will remain.
While you’ll find classic cocktails on the menu (a Niver/Johnson staple), the beverage menu will play up the comfort factor. Niver envisions pitchers of craft beer and big-handled mugs. “It’s not ground breaking,” he said. “It’s not meant to be.”
Niver said he always enjoyed Subo and hopes to rehire some of its staff. “I completely respect the work that’s gone on there,” he said.
Niver and Johnson opened the Strip Club in St. Paul’s Dayton’s Bluff area in 2008 and sold their part in the Town Talk Diner shortly afterward. Both restaurants are located in neighborhoods that would have scared away most other restaurateurs.
“This is going to be the best location I’ve ever had,” Niver said.