Chef Jason Hansen and Peter Sebastian are opening a new restaurant inspired by a Southern European backpacking tour inside the former Bottle Rocket location. Hansen said after years of looking for the right opportunity, he cannot wait to share the flavors of Spain, Italy, and Portugal, the same ones he’s been obsessed with since he first tasted them as a twenty-something hiking through those countries. The new restaurant will be called Estelle and is expected to open, possibly, as soon as October of this year.
Happy hour will mean pintxos and snacky bites in the bar alongside Spanish wines, a beer selection, and cocktails. Then, the dining room will open up for dinner with salads, fresh pastas, piri piri chicken, tortilla española, and more. For dessert there will be Portuguese custard tarts or pasteis de nata. Opening hours will be 4 pm for happy hour, 5 pm for dinner, with a possible weekend brunch being added later.
Hansen is a familiar chef in some of the most upstanding kitchens in Minneapolis including Tilia, St. Genevieve, 112 Eatery, plus Stewart’s, and Pazzaluna in Saint Paul. He knows Sebastian through a family friend, and knew his reputation in hospitality working with Gray Duck and Public in Saint Paul.
The restaurant has an interesting layout, where the bar, the kitchen, and the dining room are three distinct spaces, with the walled-off kitchen in the middle. The prior tenant had painted the bar walls dark. The Estelle crew are cleaning it up and bringing in some much-needed light to the room.
Estelle’s name comes from a misheard song lyric. “I was listening to Astair by Matt Costa and thought he was saying ‘Estelle.’ It popped into my head, that’s a great name: cute, feminine. My family are huge critics and everyone seemed to love Estelle.”
Here’s hoping everyone will love the little restaurant, as well. Hiring begins next week.