If you just felt the ground tremble, it was because another culinary giant has come crashing to the ground. In a Facebook post today, chef and co-owner Sameh Wadi announced that after ten delicious years in downtown Minneapolis’ Warehouse District, he will close his beloved first restaurant, Saffron on December 3.
When Saffron first opened, there were white tablecloths and a bit more formality, but the restaurant has always had a heart and soul steeped in Mediterranean spices. Actually, the chef even developed his own spice line that was available for sale in the store in addition to a cookbook that came out last year, "The New Mediterranean Table."
In the years since making this dream come to life, Wadi has competed against Morimoto on Iron Chef, dazzled critics, weathered a devastating recession, watched the city grow up around the restaurant, opened a food truck and a fast-casual World Street Kitchen restaurant and most-recently unleashed the zeitgeist-capturing ice cream shop Milkjam upon us.
Through it all, he has done this with family by his side and his brother and business partner Saed at the front of the house. It's Saed's warmth that greets guests. He is the man the young chef grew up idolizing and was instrumental in building the business. On any given night, he would float from table to table, ensuring each guest was cared for and happy, while effortlessly dousing whatever inevitable fires arose.
Requests for comment were not immediately returned, but we know that no matter what the Wadi brothers do in the future, it's somewhere we want to be.