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Transplanted Chef Warren Seta Lands at Kings Wine Bar, Looks to Open His Own Place

After elevating Kings' brunch with dim sum, Seta is ready to move on to his first Minneapolis restaurant.

From Las Vegas to Minneapolis
From Las Vegas to Minneapolis
Photo courtesy Warren Seta

Honolulu-born chef Warren Seta, known for his restaurants Malibu Chan’s and Mizuno's Japanese Steakhouse in Las Vegas and for his work as executive chef at Lanai City Grille in Hawaii and Yama At The Galleria in Seattle, is looking to open his own place in the Twin Cities. He’s cooked private dinners for the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates and renowned chef, Thomas Keller, and we were wondering how (and why) someone who has spent so much of his life on the lush islands of Hawaii and in the over-the-top desert city of Las Vegas has ended up in the mild mannered Midwest?

Two years ago, Seta and his fiancé, Jessie Kelley, moved from Maui to Minneapolis to be closer to Kelley’s family. After floating out his resume and having two solid offers in his pocket, Seta received an email – from Michael and Nu Zosel. They had recently purchased Kings Wine Bar and were looking to Seta for help in breathing new life into the neighborhood spot. That was eight months ago and Kings is coming into its own with inspired pan-Asian small plates, a dim sum style brunch, and an abundance of new customers.

Now, Seta and Kelley are hoping to branch out and open their own restaurant. Seta run the kitchen and Kelley, who has years of experience in food and beverage management at luxury hotels and fine dining restaurants, will manage the front of house. However, the concept has yet to be determined. "It [the restaurant] will be based on the location and demographic of the community," said Seta, "Could be anything from fast casual to a gastropub to full service – depending on the needs of the area." But for them, it’s the most important thing that their restaurant is employee-centric and serves the community well.

They’ve been scouting locations around Minneapolis, from Dinkytown to Uptown, West Bank to Tangletown, but nothing has been determined yet.