The restaurant that was once the heart of downtown Minneapolis fine dining has languished since the last tenant closed the doors in 2011. The space is breathtaking with art deco details that reflect the extensive history of the space that might be best known to modern diners at Goodfellows or The Forum.
Today Stephanie March at Mpls/St. Paul Magazine reports that a dazzling line-up of chefs and restaurateurs have signed on to revitalize the space. Kevin Fitzgerald, Josh Thoma and Jack Riebel are already hard at work restoring the St. Paul landmark restaurant The Lexington (which is slated for a spring opening as major renovations plod ahead.) Because they are committed to that project as well as this new endeavor, they knew they needed another partner. Enter Lorin Zinter, co-owner and front-of-house hospitalitarian at Restaurant of the Year, Heyday.
All other projects will continue as planned, Zinter will continue to help guide the smoothly running Heyday and Riebel will remain in place as the executive chef at The Lexington. Riebel, who fondly remembers his days as the up-and-coming chef inside the kitchen at this address when it went by the name of Goodfellows, has brought on Troy Unruh to serve as executive chef. Unruh worked in the Goodfellows kitchen with Riebel. For the last three years he has been working behind the burners at Del Posto.
The restaurant will fill the gaping hole of great Italian eateries in downtown Minneapolis and will operate as Il Foro.
The restaurant kitchen is ready to run and the dining room retains much of its stately glory (although the acoustics could use some work.) The newly formed company, known as the Four Sevens, will work with ESG Architects who also worked with Fitzgerald and Thoma on Smack Shack. The space is protected by the Historical Preservation Society, so any design work will be light-handed.
The team tells March they will ideally open Il Foro first and The Lexington will follow some time in the spring of 2015.