Eric Austin, otherwise known by many as Big E, launched a GoFundMe campaign on December 26th designed to bring his signature soul food back to Minneapolis, but this time on the northern side of the city in the former Victory 44 location.
Big E had a small restaurant of the same name on Eat Street that brought classic Southern dishes to Nicollet Avenue and flourished for nine years before closing in 2009 despite Austin selling it in 2005. Since then Big E has tried his hand at a couple of other soul food spots and a Brazilian restaurant, all of which quickly expired or never got off the ground.
This time, though, Austin is aiming to bring more than delicious bites to his endeavor. “Big E’s was more than just another soul food joint,” he explains on the campaign’s website. “It acted as a beacon to show that thriving African American ventures were possible in a Minneapolis depleted of such endeavors.” He plans to bring “the same vibe of community, food and family” to the Victory neighborhood in the form of a 40-60 seat full-service restaurant complete with a patio by Spring 2018.