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St. Anthony Starbucks Is Latest Minnesota Location to Join Unionization Wave

Plus Shawn McKenzie steps into executive chef role at Rustica Bakery, and more restaurant stories

The circular white and green Starbucks logo of a mermaid suspended in a window.
Workers at a St. Anthony Starbucks have announced their intent to unionize.
Kena Betancur/VIEWpress via Getty Images
Justine Jones is the editor of Eater Twin Cities.

Workers at a third Minnesota Starbucks location have signaled their intent to unionize, according to the Minnesota Reformer. They follow two other locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and join a national wave that’s gathering momentum in the early months of 2022.

On March 21, five workers from a St. Anthony, Minnesota Starbucks submitted a letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announcing their filing for union recognition. “We believe that unionizing veritably equalizes us at the table when we come together to create practical, sustainable, and fair solutions to the challenges we face every day in our store. The ideas and reform we want to bring to the table are born out of living through, and facing down, on the daily, these challenges,” the letter reads.

The Reformer reports that an “overwhelming majority” of workers at the St. Anthony location signed union authorization cards with Workers United, a labor union that’s affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Because Starbucks hasn’t voluntarily recognized unions at its stores, workers will vote in an official election in April — results will be announced toward the end of the month.

Update: On March 29, the Minnesota Reformer reported that a workers at a fourth Starbucks location, situated at 54th Street and Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis, have also declared their intent to unionize.

Shawn McKenzie steps in as Rustica’s new executive chef

The Star Tribune reports that Shawn McKenzie, co-owner of Café Cerés and one of the Twin Cities’ most lauded pastry chefs, will join Rustica Bakery as executive chef.

McKenzie is a Portland transplant who got her start leading the pastry program at three of Isaac Becker’s restaurants: Burch Steak and Pizza, 112 Eatery, and Bar La Grasa. From there, she ran Penny’s, a small chain of cafés and coffee shops, and then opened Café Cerés in partnership with chef Danny del Prado (of trio Martina, Colita, and Rosalia). Café Cerés’ menu is influenced by McKenzie’s culinary travels through the Middle East: she’s known for her babka and tahini carrot cake, among other things.

Rustica’s bakery has been in flux during the pandemic: after a brief partnership with Bread Lab, owner Greg Hoyt closed down wholesale production. McKenzie’s presence in Rustica’s bakery means increased capacity for Café Cerés — and look for more of her flair among Rustica’s classic croissants and muffins.

Seven Sushi and Steakhouse and Midori’s Floating World Café make a spring return

Seven Steakhouse and Sushi reopened on Friday, March 25, in a wildly unexpected comeback from its recent closure. On January 31, Seven abruptly shuttered its Hennepin Avenue location, citing low interest in downtown nightlife, vaccine and mask mandates, and crime, the Star Tribune reported. Co-owners Erick Patterson and Ken Sherman have so far been cagey about their reasons for the reopen — Racket has the breakdown of what’s really going on downtown.

Midori’s Floating World Café, which suffered heavy damage during the social uprisings of 2020, has announced it will reopen at its new Lake Street location on April 1. The Japanese restaurant has been serving a carry out menu out of the Seward Cafe since early 2021; their return has been long-awaited in the Longfellow neighborhood, where a number of restaurants damaged during the uprisings have not reopened.

Local legend Camdi’s closes after 35 years in Dinkytown

March 26, chef Camdi Phan ended her 35-year stay in Dinkytown, which she opened after emigrating from Vietnam to Minnesota in 1978. Family-owned and family-run, Camdi’s was beloved for its home-style Vietnamese and Chinese fare — its cozy brick building was a mainstay in Dinkytown, an area that has changed rapidly in recent years as high-rises have proliferated. For her part, Phan says she’s excited about retirement. The Star Tribune has the full story.