Minnesota Monthly’s Best Restaurant issue hit the stands this week, and once again, we are pleased to see so many of our client’s concepts honored. Considering the economy, this year’s focus by Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl was on “True Values,” and the Twin Cities spots that offer the most bang for your dining dollar.
In the list, Dara included our latest design, Barrio Tequila Bar, as “Best for Drinking and Dining.” In her full review of Barrio on page 100, she describes the space as “all dark red and gothic black, accented with quirky pieces: a candelabra with wax spilling candles, video screens showing spaghetti Westerns, and, on the walls, retro bullfight posters, cumbia and Latin hip-hop tumble from overhead speakers.” She quips, “If you’ve ever wondered where in Minneapolis indie filmmaker John Waters would take ‘40s cult-film star Lupe Velez and Google co-founder Sergey Brin for dinner, now you know.” She is enamored with James Beard nominated chef, Tim McKee, and his 13 dishes priced at $7.50. We are too. If you haven’t been to the hottest spot in town, you’ve gotta get over there for scallop ceviche, fresh guacamole, red-chile enchiladas and a Macho Camacho (a margarita with smoked chili peppers and cava.)
La Belle Vie, Tim McKee’s flagship location, also made the list as “Best for a Sensible Splurge.” Dara touts the $40 four-course tasting menu in the lounge as “something of a cult sensation.” We just checked our records here at Shea and discovered that we moved La Belle Vie from their digs in Stillwater to their downtown location three years ago this month. Time flies when you’re eating well!
Speaking of James Beard-nominated clients, Alex Roberts’ one-year-old eatery, Brasa Rotisserie, made the list as “Best for Locavores.” Dara believes that after one year, the concept has only gotten better. For us, Brasa exemplifies the new way people are thinking about dining: locally sourced products, fine-dining quality in a relaxed atmosphere and price points that encourage frequent visits. We predict that we will be seeing lots of other operators following Brasa’s lead.
Minnesota Monthly’s rival, Mpls St. Paul magazine, also hit the stands this week, and it also features many of our client’s concepts in the issue. Barrio is the talk of the town right now, so we were not surprised to see it prominently featured in the “Dining Out” section. Apparently, Adam Platt has to visit a few more times for us to receive a full review, but his first impressions are favorable. He says the food is “authentic,” and “carefully conceived,” and about the space, he says, “the ambience is buzzy, with rich Day of the Dead hues (by Shea, to my surprise)….” I’ll have to call and ask him what he means by that.
On page 240, Beth Dooley gives this month’s full restaurant review for Flame, a concept we developed from scratch this year with Hemisphere Restaurant Partners. In her assessment of the Rosedale location she states, “A few whimsical appointments defy mall restaurant style: A brick wall is stacked to the ceiling with split wood; bathroom sinks (long, stainless steel troughs) are loaded with Mexican river stone as a cooling counterpoint.” She also mentions that “Flame was designed to beget other locations.” We definitely worked with Hemisphere with this goal in mind. We’re pleased that Dooley seems to find the “midpriced, family-friendly straightforward concept for suburban locations” to be a hit.
We at Shea want to congratulate our clients on receiving this much-deserved praise. The Minnesota Monthly and Mpls St. Paul magazine issues mentioned are available on newsstands now.
-Andy McDermott, Communications Director for Shea