But recently Shea Architects took over the building and announced plans to move their headquarters there … along with a restaurant. Their building plans include space for a restaurant that will feature a rooftop unlike any other in the city. Constructed with a retractable wall system, it will be wide open during good weather times and closed and protected during the bad. The restaurant will also occupy most of the main floor of the space on 8th and Hennepin, with an elevator leading to rooftop dining.
But since Shea isn’t in the operating business, they’ve enlisted the help of Kam Talebi of Kaskaid Hospitality (the Crave guys) to partner up and create the restaurant. Talebi has hired Jim Christiansen to be the chef of the project. Christiansen was lastly in charge of the kitchen at Il Gatto, where his food earned rave reviews. After the restaurant closed, he traveled for a bit, I heard he did a stage at the famed Noma in Copenhagen, and has been untethered ever since.
It sounds like the plan is to create a chef-driven space that isn’t Crave, which seems wise as its latest local outpost sits a few blocks to the North. This space and concept should be a departure for the Crave team, who has been looking to local chefs like J.P. Samuelson and Jim Kyndberg to bolster the food culture, in that this is food forward and cutting edge from the get-go. I can only imagine that Shea will pull out all the stops and make this an amazing space.
UPDATE: Welcome UNION to the block!
The name of the new restaurant will be Union, and there will be a seperate basement lounge called Marquee Lounge, that will focus on cocktails. But not just any cocktails mind you, Johnny Michaels cocktails.
The menu will focus on seasonal, eclectic American cooking, and by Christiansen’s account it will be high-quality, driven by technique, but be very accessible to eaters. Not so much of the precious and fussy.
The year-round rooftop will have a separate menu from the other dining room, and both lunch and dinner will be served.
Wowza. Look for a November opening.