The Fryer: New Fair Foods, Fish Markets, and Feeding Royalty

As always, there’s a lot going on in the food world out there and this week brought up a few particularly interesting stories. We got the announcement of some fun new foods, new food spaces, and some pretty big achievements. All in all, it’s been a pretty good week, so here’s the rundown.

Double Dose of Pork Belly
Photo Courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair.

Lingering a bit back toward the end of last week, we got the latest round of new foods that’ll be introduced at this year’s Minnesota State Fair. We’ve already got an article, video, and photo gallery that features all of that, which you can check out here, but again, the keyword this year is “bacon”.

Tim McKee, Lenny Russo, and St. Paul Mayor, Chris Coleman

The biggest news of the week comes courtesy of Twin Cities chef, Tim McKee, who announced that he’ll be opening a brand new food-hall-esque venture over in St. Paul’s old Heartland space. At a small press gathering, McKee, former Heartland chef, Lenny Russo, and St. Paul mayor, Chris Coleman, gave the rundown of what the future space would look like. The rennovated space will include a restaurant, an onsite fish market, a bakery, and a butcher shop. This new mega-food-plex sits right across the street from the St. Paul Farmer’s Market and according to McKee, he envisions to this to be more of a year-round, indoor extension of the market.

McKee famously announced a while back that he had taken a step out of the restaurant world to team up with local fish distributors, The Fish Guy’s. Fish Guy’s owner, Mike Higgins, will, in fact, be partnering with McKee on this new venture, however, it’ll be an entirely separate business entity.

This is some pretty incredible news and they’ve got some big plans for the space. In regard to the restaurant, expect casual with a focus on high-quality eats. They’ll be expanding the bar and converting it into a full wraparound which will seat between 26-28 guests. McKee wants the restaurant to be as much of a learning space as he does an eatery so they’ll be making things that are available in the restaurant also available at the side markets for people to purchase and bring home, in particular, a lot of the seafood. Furthermore, if a guest finds something of particular interest in the market that maybe they’re unfamiliar with, they can purchase it and bring it on over to the restaurant and they’ll go ahead and make you something with it on the fly (for a small upcharge of course).

No matter how you slice it, we’re pretty excited for this whole thing to go down, but for now, there’s no real timeframe on when they plan to open, so don’t start holding your breath just yet.

The Dalai Lama

So, who gets to feed the Dalai Lama when he comes to town? Well, Chef Gavin Kaysen and crew of course. Chef Kaysen, of Spoon & Stable and Bellecour fame, and his team were given the extreme honor of cooking for the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet as he was in town for a speaking engagement. The Star Tribune reports that the menu consisted of three courses including a vegan chilled carrot soup with puffed amaranth, herb crusted halibut with vegetables, and of course, pastry chef Diane Yang’s infamous crepe cake rounded out the meal.

We’d say that it’s quite the honor and congratulations to everyone involved! It’s hard to think of a better group right now to represent team Minnesota on the international food front then Team Kaysen.

Chef Don Saunders
Chef Don Saunders

Lastly, this weekend will see the reopening of an old favorite under new ownership. Chef Don Saunders of the Kenwood will launch his brand new 510 Lounge in the old 510 Groveland building in Minneapolis and former home to the renowned, La Belle Vie.

The restaurant quietly opened their doors yesterday at 5:30 pm and will be open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of this weekend and will then open for good on Thursday, July 6th. From that point onward, they’ll be open seven days a week focusing on top shelf cocktails, wines, and delicious French-inspired cuisine.

Best of luck to Chef Saunders on this new venture and we’re super excited to take it for a test drive!

Until next week, as always, adieu!

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