Despite rave reviews, the cornerstone of Russell and Desta Klein's ambitious Soo Line Building project will serve its final dinner next Saturday. Brasserie Zentral first opened in the spring of 2014 at the corner of 5th Street and Marquette Avenue in downtown Minneapolis as a part of an extensive revitalization of the historic building. Brasserie Zentral was just one part of a planned project by the Kleins. They also opened a skyway cafe, the wine and cheese forward Foreign Legion and a wine shop.
The skyway cafe was sold to a longtime employee late last year. Shifting plans for the wine store were eventually abandoned and the space was added to Foreign Legion.
Critics from near and far raved about the restaurant from the outset. When Eater's national critic Bill Addison first swung through the Twin Cities he described the food as, "the kind engineered to sustain souls through lengthy stretches of cold, gray days." He declared the restaurant as, "A boon for downtown workers and for chill-shocked visitors in need of thawing nourishment."
Sadly, that food will not sustain us through this cold January. The final dinner service will be Saturday evening, January 16.
Explaining the closure in a statement, Russell Klein said in part, "These past few years have been some of the most competitive and difficult our industry has ever faced. To win multiple restaurant of the year awards in that environment was no small thing, and it is a tribute to the many great people who made Zentral work every day. Unfortunately the restaurants never achieved the financial success necessary to continue operating."
Foreign Legion will continue to operate as will the Kleins other beloved restaurant, downtown St. Paul's Meritage.