Jon Oulman is at it again. After a highly successful opening of Como Dockside on the shores of Como Lake with his son Jarret and business partner Josh Mandelman, the team has turned its attention to the revamping of the space where the iconic Modern Café once resided. The new restaurant will have a decidedly classic, Midwest bistro vibe, focusing on hearty dishes like beer can chicken, steak and fish, along with a variety of other perennial favorites like an Iron Range porketta sandwich and baked mac and cheese. The Sheridan Room will be open all day, including an American diner-style breakfast with traditional dishes like hash browns, pancakes and chicken hash. "There’ll be a lot of chicken in the house," Oulman smiled during a recent tour of the restaurant. The bar will have a full cocktail program, canned beers and batch cocktails.
The ever-ambitious Oulman plans on eventually adding a take-out program with some prepared dishes like chicken salad and bottled cocktails. The bar area already includes a spot for such service.
The room itself has undergone a broad transformation, but the original neighborhood brasserie aesthetic remains. Timeless, gleaming subway tiles line the walls, anchored by a white honeycomb tile floor and a stunning chocolate hued tin ceiling. Seating is varied to welcome any sized party, from cozy booths to numerous two-tops that can be pushed together to accommodate a large gathering. The room is divided by a long banquette that barricades the dining area from the bar, another strategic move meant to allow families to dine away from the bar, yet allotting plenty of comfortable seating on both sides. Oulman is particularly proud of what he describes as a "connoisseurs dream of vintage hi-fi" sound system, which includes McIntosh valve electronics and a Thorens turntable. This is a laid-back neighborhood scene meant to please every type of diner and summon many return visits.
The Sheridan Room should be ready for its close-up soon after Thanksgiving.