Anyone who remembers the heady early days of UMAMI remember the palpable thrill of the pop up. No one executes the art of a temporary restaurant in the Twin Cities like the powerhouse chef team behind Travail Kitchen and Amusements.
It is a day that ends in "y," so it's safe to assume that chef/owners Bob Gerken, James Winberg and Mike Brown are up to something. What makes today different is that the team is ready to share details of the next step in their empire building.
As mentioned in our One Year In conversation with the chefs The Rookery, as led by Kale Thome is undergoing some changes. That includes both on the menu and the physical space. The refined bar food is under development and the hammers are swinging inside the space.
As a part of the remodel, a new dining area is taking shape, near the back. There will be two tables with a total of 12 seats exclusively dedicated to an ever-changing pop up. The menu and concept will continually evolve as the chefs continue to push their creative boundaries and redefine the dining experience. No small feat, but these guys seldom play it nice and easy.
The idea fueling this creative surge is one of the past pop ups, Intus that was held inside Pig Ate My Pizza. While most of the restaurant was filled with guests feasting on ham tots and pizza, a select group of diners were experiencing a 20 course meal. It's the energy of that meal that is fueling this new idea.
Here are the basics: tickets will be available for either individual purchase, in pairs or the entire table (six seats.) Each evening, there will be only one service. Guests will arrive around 6 p.m. and dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. The meal will last somewhere in the three hour neighborhood. Tickets will be sold through Tempo will cost $200 (with 18% gratuity and a nominal fee for the service) along with an optional beverage pairing for $75. The beverage pairing can be bought ahead of time or at the restaurant and will include cocktails, wine, juices and probably something chilled with liquid nitrogen or the frozen tears of garden gnomes. You never know with these guys.
Now, about the name: they are still working on it. The first service will take place before the end of May as they continue to hammer out details and the giant nails holding those new tables together. There will be a cohesive theme and concept that will drive the meal experience that will never be static. It's an evolutionary experience that will continue the tradition of the people who once built us a foie gras giving tree.
As the refreshed Rookery and the unnamed pop up are finalized, it's our loss that the brunch menu will be taking a temporary hiatus. However, this is Travail. Who knows what could be coming out of that kitchen next?
The first pop up concept, ticket sales and dinner dates will be announced this week via Facebook.