After confirming the long-denied news, Tim Niver is finally ready to talk about his new restaurant, and the failure of his last one. It’s been a humbling journey for the well-known restauranteur. He will open a new Mucci’s, a sister restaurant to the Saint Paul original very soon. We peppered him with questions and he thoughtfully shared a few details about the new Italian restaurant that could open as soon as next week.
The new restaurant comes with a new official name, but, “The sign outside says Mucci’s. You can just call it Mucci’s,” said Niver.
Unlike its predecessor, this restaurant will include full service. The homey and attentive style of caring for diners is part of what Mucci’s Saint Paul is known for and that same soul is moving to the new restaurant. In addition to Tim Niver being in the house, Heather Mady has moved from Saint Paul to oversee the front of house at Minneapolis. “We’re going to focus on being who we are, and part of Mucci’s is the service.”
It can’t be easy to translate the vibe of a small, black painted, red accented room to a wide open airy space surrounded by windows, but they’re going to try. “We’ve put in red booths and painted,” said Niver.
It’s almost done. The restaurant has slyly been moving along and will be invited friends and family in within the next couple of days to put the new staff through the paces. Depending on how that goes, it could be tiramisu time before the 4th of July.
“There’s what we share in the public, and the king-making that happens in the press, but the reality is what we share in the mirror every morning,” said Niver. “You can’t run. You can’t hide. The shame and guilt is a part of that work.” He said he wouldn’t have been able to make it through this process of closing and opening these two very different restaurants without the support of his friends, family, and wife Christy, who is another familiar face to Mucci’s diners.
For as much critical acclaim as Niver has earned, not every project has been success. His 2006 version of the Town Talk Diner is often held up as the beginning of the craft cocktail movement in the Twin Cities, but that incarnation of the restaurant lasted only a couple of years. Next was the critically beloved Strip Club Meat & Fish, which remained popular throughout its run, until it closed in the summer of 2017. There was also The Inn, a restaurant that had critics swooning, but was closed after only a matter of months in 2011. Saint Dinette opened in the summer of 2015, which was another immediate, and sustaining hit.
“Every restaurant... it’s never the same,” he said. “But, it’s vital we do what we know.”