Today's Star Tribune features the seventh annual Taste 50, featuring "50 inspiring, trend-setting tastemakers." This year, our very own David Shea made the list along with some other great friends, clients and industry pioneers. Check out a few here and click on the links for the full 50!
Sketch artistArchitect David Shea’s first restaurant client was the late Leeann Chin. It was 1978, and, taking his cues from the Asian collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, he transformed a Minnetonka shopping center into a serene, elegant environment — no gaudy red and gold, no clichéd paper lanterns — that shifted the Asian restaurant design paradigm. Chin’s business took off (“It’s always fun to help clients realize their dreams,” he said), and so did Shea’s. Skip ahead 34 years and more than 300 restaurant projects later, and Shea’s 40-member firm boasts a client roster that includes Rick Bayless, Cat Cora, Paul Kahan and Marcus Samuelsson; locally, Shea’s blueprint is all over Barrio, Brasa and Butcher & the Boar, to name just a few standouts. One secret to his success? A well worn frequent-flier account. “You find inspirations everywhere,” said Shea, who logged 170,000 miles on Delta last year. “Being an observer out in the world gives you the opportunity to taste, and touch, and smell, and feel. You can’t get that looking in a magazine or going online.”
Entrepreneurial all-starsAll hail this bumper crop of passionate, risk-taking restaurateurs —all newcomers to the business — who have recently infused the Twin Cities dining scene with a much appreciated jolt of originality: (From left to right) David Weinstein of Rye Deli, Conrad Leifur and Ann Kim of Pizzeria Lola, Craig Bentdahl of Mill Valley Kitchen, Dean Engelmann of Wise Acre Eatery, Andrew Dayton and Eric Dayton of the Bachelor Farmer and the Wise Acre Eatery’s Scott Endres. Collectively, their rookie efforts boast levels of expertise that often elude more well seasoned practitioners.
Natural-born restaurateurWhen Patti Soskin was growing up in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood and all of her friends were playing house, “I was playing restaurant,” she said. Something obviously stuck. Yum! Kitchen and Bakery, Soskin’s mob-scene restaurant, specializes in fresh, wholesome fare that’s served with a side of the philosophies that define Soskin’s life: Choose happy (“That’s one of the lines that my husband uses at home,” she said. “And we do.”). Work hard and be nice to people (“That’s from a poster that my kids got for me,” she said). “The restaurant allows me to do really nice things for people, and I love that,” said Soskin. “Food creates bonds. It heals the soul.”
Check out the entire photo gallery by Tom Wallace HERE.