Willard’s, the highly anticipated restaurant from Minneapolis’ lauded chef Erick Harcey opens today in downtown Cambridge’s 100-year-old Leader department store. Harcey garnered nationally acclaim for his restaurants Upton 43 and Victory 44 before closing both. Throughout his time operating those two restaurants, the chef maintained his home in his hometown of Cambridge, Minnesota just over an hour’s drive from the metro area. The long commutes were difficult and after spending some much-need family time at home, the self-described country kid chef found his next logical project. Partnering with Grant Johnson, whose family owns the historic store, the two have launched this ground-level eatery that will serve brunch and dinner, Tuesday through Sunday until 8 pm.
The dinner menu includes Minnesota dishes lefse with potato sausage, a beet salad and pork chops done with just a little city-familiar flare.
The interior is rough-hewn wood, white and blue. The restaurant is named for Harcey’s inspiration, his grandfather.