Big changes in downtown Minneapolis: Chef Jim Kyndberg has left the Crave empire. (Crave-pire? Craveocracy? Cravenation? If you live here you have to know what a big thing it is, right?). But oh yes, Kyndberg, former chef-owner of the famed and lamented Bayport Cookery, and recent chef-in-residence at the locally spawned, now national powerhouse, Crave, where he masterminded the awfully good, and best-happy-hour-with-a-view Urban Eatery, is gone. Gone! Gone to the downtown Minneapolis Radisson, to replace famed locavore Paul Lynch, former titleholder for best locavore chef-made Thanksgiving in the metro.
Where’s Lynch going? To the new Radisson Blu restaurant currently under construction at the Mall of America. Kyndberg was recruited to the downtown Radisson to help steer the restaurant as the hotel undergoes a massive $30 million remodel, at the end of which will transform it into an upscale Blu Radisson.
To this critic, this looks like great news for Minneapolis. Jim Kyndberg, whose legendary ingredient-themed dinners—like the dozen-course morel-fest, or seriously non-gimmicky cult favorite chocolate-fest—deserves a name-on-the-door showcase. And of course, this move cements some serious chef-talent in the heart of downtown, now that Kyndberg will be right around the corner from the Union, the new Crave crown jewel headed by Jim Christiansen.
“The hardest part was leaving right before the Union opened,” Kyndberg told me. “I had been working with Jim [Christiansen] for the past three months on getting the Union open. I went in and told him, ‘You better sit down for this one.’ The timing wasn’t ideal, but they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.” Like what? Like carte blanche to do his own menu. Including his famous barbecue? “Oh yeah,” Kyndberg said. “They’ve got a huge smoker in there. We’ll be doing barbecue for sure.” Barbecue, that is, in the spring, after Kyndberg gets his sea legs, and they get through important FireLake traditions, like Thanksgiving.
So, in the short term, Minneapolis: The Bayport Cookery’s famed Jim Kyndberg will cook your Thanksgiving! In the long term, Minneapolis: Jim Kyndberg of the Bayport Cookery, downtown! And for the gossip-minded, Minneapolis: Jim Kyndberg left Crave on good terms. “Sure, I’ll be over there, to borrow a cup of sugar, a dozen eggs,” laughed Kyndberg. “But seriously. It was important to me to leave on good terms, and I think I accomplished that. Lot of great, really great people at Crave, and the Union is going to be fantastic.” And if it isn’t, looks like people will have an alternative, right around the corner.
Fire Lake Restaurant, 31 South 7th St., Mpls., 612-216-3473, firelakerestaurant.com