Ann Kim’s new restaurant inside the former Lucia’s space has a name, and a broad stroke of defined cuisine. In a New York Times article scheduled to run in tomorrow’s print section, the Young Joni chef shared the new name of her hotly anticipated eatery under construction on 31st Street, just off of Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis is Sooki & Mimi. Much like her award winning Northeast eatery, the restaurant is named for two women she admires and refuses to allow it to be pinned down to just one cuisine.
The new venture was first inspired by a heritage corn tortilla she sampled in Valle de Guadalupe that was so incredible, it caused Kim to tear up. In an effort to get that texture and pliablity just right, she has been working to learn how to hand-grind nixtamalized corn. However, the restaurant won’t just be about tortillas, and it most certainly will not be a taqueria. Instead, expect the Kim collaboration of mixing flavors, a little Norwegian here — maybe in the form of a lefse with gravlax — a little Spanish churros, and maybe a little dash of Korean flavors.
The restaurant name is for her maternal grandmother Sook Young Kim and her adopted grandmother Thelma Lange, the mother of her Minnesota-born, caucasian uncle who sponsored her family’s move from Korea to the states in 1977.
Like Young Joni, there will also be a basement bar overseen by beverage director Adam Gorski. Unlike Young Joni, it will actually be located in the basement, as opposed to in the back, but with an unnerving subterranean feel for a first floor location.
Overseeing the kitchen at Sooki & Mimi will be executive chef Ian Heieie, who up until now has been overseeing Young Joni.
Kim opened her first Minneapolis restaurant, Pizzeria Lola along with her partner Conrad Leifur in 2010, fast becoming a lines-out-the-door sensation. A New York style slice shop Hello Pizza followed in 2013, and Young Joni followed with a blend of pizza and other cuisines in 2016. That restaurant would be recognized as one of Eater’s Best New Restaurants. Kim went on to win the Beard Award this year, delivering a powerful acceptance speech about her journey from immigrant, to Apple Valley kid, to stage actress, to small business owner with the hashtagable urging to “fuck fear,” and follow the big dreams.
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