Biz buzz: Harriet Brasserie opens in Linden Hills

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May 18, 2012 by Sarah M

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// By Drew Kerr //

LINDEN HILLS — Fernando Silva has helped develop a host of local menus, including those at Eat Street Social and a new pork-heavy food truck, the Bacon Trolley.

Now, though, the native Brazilian has a kitchen to call his own, at Linden Hills’ newest restaurant, The Harriet Brasserie, which opened on May 1.

“It’s almost like I’ve been in training, but this is my baby, I guess,” Silva said during a breakfast-time interview shortly after the doors opened at the 2724 W. 43rd St. restaurant, where he will serve as executive chef.

Formerly home to Café Twenty Eight, Silva said he was intrigued by the space when he saw it last year, and jumped at the opportunity when it became available.

“I’ve been looking for my own restaurant for a long time, and I actually dreamed of this space while it was still Café Twenty Eight,” he said. “It seems the universe was conspiring in our favor.”

The space is about more than one person, though.

Silva will be joined by Dustin Thompson, a fellow veteran of the French Meadow Bakery, who will serve as chef de cuisine. His wife, Brie Roland, will serve as the restaurant’s bar and operations manager. Alain Lenne, of La Belle Crepe, will work as general manager, and several of the staff members are also friends from past restaurant jobs.

“We’ve all worked together before, so this was a way to bring the family back together,” Silva said.

The farm-driven menu will draw inspiration from the eclectic group and include Latin and Brazilian flavors, as well as classic dishes built on French techniques, a nod to Lenne’s French heritage.

The brunch menu includes dishes such as chocolate chip pancakes, Belgian waffles and crawfish and grits, which features housemade andouille sausage, a soft poached egg and heirloom cheddar grits.

When dinner service begins — owners hope to begin by June, after obtaining their beer and liquor license — the menu will fluctuate based on what is seasonally available.

Thompson and Roland tend their own farm in Lakeville, and plan to use much of their produce in the dishes they prepare.

The name, logo (a rooster), and the minimalist space lend themselves to the farm aesthetic, too. The building — formerly used as a firehouse — has retained much of its historic charm, but has been renovated to have more of a classic barnhouse feel.

“We stripped it down to the floor and built it back up,” Roland said.

Silva and his peers say they hope the result will become a cozy neighborhood fixture that strengthens Linden Hills’ reputation as a dining destination. “Bring the best, make the best, that’s the idea,” Silva said.

Linden Hills Farmer’s Market vendors announced

LINDEN HILLS — A group of nearly two dozen vendors will be at the new Linden Hills Farmers Market, organizers announced.

The group includes upstart operations like Scott’s Family Farm and Seed to Seed, as well as some well-known purveyors such as Callister Farms, a sixth-generation operation known for its chicken, turkey and eggs, and Gardens of Eagan.

Finished food vendors include Foxy Falafel, Gai Gai Thai, Patisserie 46, La Belle Crepe, Red Wagon Pizza and Great Harvest.

Non-food vendors include BAA Crafts, Body Bliss and Sassy Knitwear.

The first-year market opens its inaugural season on Sunday, June 3. It will continue every Sunday, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., in the parking lot of Settergen’s Linden Hills Ace Hardware.

Market organizers also announced that a portion of the farmer’s markets proceeds will go to Project Homeless Connect.

HOURCAR Comes to Linden Hills

LINDEN HILLS — Linden Hills residents have a new transportation option: an HOURCAR.

The HOURCAR, a 2012 plug-in Toyota Prius, is located in the parking lot at Settergren Ace Hardware.

Residents can use the vehicle by becoming an HOURCAR member then reserving the car online at hourcar.org or by phone. Members who pay $5 a month can use the car for $8 an hour, and members who pay $15 a month can use the car for $8 an hour. Users also pay 25 cents per mile to use the vehicle.

The Linden Hills Neighborhood Council spent $25,000 in Neighborhood Revitalization Program funds to bring the HOURCAR to the community.

The money is used to purchase the vehicle, and guarantees that it will be in the neighborhood for at least three years.

This is the 36th HOURCAR in the Twin Cities, and the first in Linden Hills. Other nearby locations include Calhoun Square, the Uptown YWCA, and The Wedge Co-Op.

Christopher Bineham, HOURCAR’s program manager, said there were no specific plans to continue expanding in southwest Minneapolis, but that more locations in the city were likely to emerge.

HOURCAR’s were first introduced in the Twin Cities in 2005.

Jacks serves its last meal, becomes office space

EAST HARRIET — Jerry Nelson is getting out of the restaurant business.

His restaurant, Jack’s, closed on April 27, and the space will now be leased to a software development company that has been located upstairs.

The move came 15 months after Nelson, who took over the 818 W. 46th St. property 12 years ago, expanded the coffee shop into a full service restaurant.

The space went through a series of reincarnations during the 15-month period, most recently with the addition of chef Kevin Kathman. Brought on in early 2012 to revamp the menu, Kathman left in March.

Nelson said described it as “an interesting 15 months in the restaurant business,” marked by the “highest highs and lowest lows.” In the end, he said he had simply lost his enthusiasm for the business and sought more financial stability.

“It’s difficult not to be open, but it was a clear decision,” he said. “There were no ifs, ands or buts about it.”

Nelson owns the building, and will lease it to David Hussman, the owner of Dev Jam, which has been in the upstairs space for the last six years. Chef Shack, the food truck, will lease the kitchen space, he said.

Hussman, who describes his company as a “little slice of Google in Minneapolis,” said he is planning an open house, and may even serve coffee as a way to introduce his business to the community.

Nelson said he expects the space to remain largely unchanged, so there is a possibility it may be a restaurant or coffee shop again in the future. The basement area will remain available for groups, he added.

Calhoun Square Hosting Shopping Expo

UPTOWN — The first ever Calhoun Crawl Shopping Expo will be held on Saturday, May 19.

The event will feature special promotions and discounts from stores and restaurants in Calhoun Square, a silent auction benefiting the Aegis Foundation, giveaways and music from the Iroots Reggae Bande.

Activities run from noon to 6 p.m.

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