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Russell Klein Exits Minneapolis With Foreign Legion Closure

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The final piece of the ambitious Soo Line building development will shutter April 16.

The tour is almost over for Foreign Legion.
The tour is almost over for Foreign Legion.
Joy Summers

The final piece of Russell and Desta Klein's restaurant complex inside the revamped Soo Line building on the corner of 5th Street and Marquette Avenue in downtown Minneapolis will close later this month.

The concept began as a combination of eateries ranging from the casual skyway level cafe to the Eastern European jewel Brasserie Zentral to a wine shop that never materialized and Foreign Legion. Inside the low-lit bar and restaurant there is a dazzling array of wines, cheese, pizzas and sandwiches.

The demise has come slowly, with the cafe being sold to a long-time employee in September of last year. Brasserie Zentral, a place Eater's roving critic Bill Addison loved, closed in January.

Last call for Foreign Legion will come April 16.

In Minneapolis, top to bottom, it’s very clear nobody gives a shit.

Russell Klein spoke with Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl of Mpls./St. Paul Magazine and did not mince words when it came to the city of Minneapolis. Noting that Downtown Minneapolis has the highest beverage sales taxes in the country. He told her in part, “When news of Zentral closing broke, I got a nice text from Chris Coleman [mayor of St. Paul] expressing condolences. I didn’t hear from Betsy Hodges, [mayor of Minneapolis], not from my councilperson, not from the councilperson who represents the district starting across the street, nothing. My only contact from the city of Minneapolis was an email from a license inspector saying: If you’re going to shrink premises you need to file a new permit application and pay a fee. Nothing about the 42 people who were laid off, nothing about the loss of tax base, just nothing. That’s the difference between Minneapolis and St. Paul now. In St. Paul, top to bottom, the government acts like they want you to be there. In Minneapolis, top to bottom, it’s very clear nobody gives a shit."

Foreign Legion

105 South 5th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 612 333 0505 Visit Website