Who: Ralph Burnet, restaurateurs, metrosexuals, media types, and some Vikes
What: The W Minneapolis-The Foshay Grand Opening
When: September 18
Where: The W Minneapolis-The Foshay
Why: To celebrate the opening of the grand, new hotel, The W Minneapolis-The Foshay
The W Minneapolis has been open for weeks, but nobody at the opening party notices. The timing tonight is perfect actually, in that Black Monday afterparty sort of way. The original Foshay opened a month before the 1929 stock market crash, and now Ralph Burnet’s hot pink redesign is “opening” in the midst of a $200 billion Fed bailout. Waiter, bring me another can of Sofia Coppola’s champagne!
It is definitely a scene. There’s a purple carpet on Marquette, and the Strib‘s CJ and MnSpeak‘s Max Sparber and Tiffany from B96 are all in position to snap photos of the promised celebs. Starting with Ralph Burnet himself and his lovely, diamond-encrusted wife. Big night for RB.
Inside, the lobby bar is already packed. Two skinny little models with gigantic eyelashes and Zelda ‘dos jump on top of the bar and start doing what looks to be the Charleston. Manny’s is doing the apps (I nearly knock over Parasole’s Phil Roberts on the way in), and my girl Val brings around a plate of stuffed mushrooms. There’s chicken satay too (of course) and scallops and kobe sliders (not of course), but it doesn’t get really exciting until they bring around a tray with a gigantic bone-in ribeye with cubes of speared meat. The DJ is spinning “Juicy” by Notorious BIG. Nice.
I don’t know anybody until I see my boy Rick Kupchella and his lovely wife. Then I run into my boss Brian Anderson and his lovely wife. Then Jason DeRusha and his lovely wife. Everybody has a lovely wife. Why not? Free drinks.
I’m talking to Joel Hoekstra of Minnesota Monthly about what it’s like to work with Dara, when my girl Val drops by to tell me Molly Sims is hiding in the kitchen. “She’s really pretty,” Val says. Word. (I saw Molly do a shower scene once with Rob Schneider on the set of the PG-rated Benchwarmers.) The bar is packed with slick old men who remind me a little bit of The Colonel from Boogie Nights. I don’t blame Molly for hiding in the kitchen.
You know who else loves free drinks? My colleagues in the media. There’s Bennett Gordon of Utne Reader hanging on a banquette with Rachel Hutton, the food critic for City Pages. Closer into the bar are Laurie Storm and Andrew Rice from Twin Cities Luxury and Fashion.
Oh, here’s somebody that works for a living: Thom Pham, sans black eye, looking smooth in velvet. He says he has big news about a new restaurant: “I’ll call you in a couple of weeks.” There’s a room off the lobby with a weird mix of people–metrosexuals, homosexuals, retrosexuals–all playing fake blackjack, complete with fake dealers wearing fake green visors. Out in the lobby proper, there’s a huge wooden box filled with more of the flapper models. It’s never been my thing, I guess, but they probably liked the girl-in-box phenomenon in the ’20s, too.
At 8:30 p.m., they finally open up the elevators to the upstairs club, Prohibition. I take the first cattle car up and step out of the elevator to find Mpls.St.Paul‘s own Jayne Haugen Olson at the bar with Elizabeth Dehn of MinnMo. Vita.mn‘s Simon Peter Groebner is chilling with his date on that vinyl bed in the little nook off to the side of the bar. They just got down from the observation deck, where the hotel’s trademark W was being flashed all over downtown, just like, as Simon Peter says, “the Bat Signal.”
On my way up to the deck, I bump into Erin Henderson of the Minnesota Vikings. Even though the rookie linebacker hasn’t played in the first two games, I’m polite enough not to mistake him for his should’ve-been-a-pro-bowler brother, E.J. Henderson. Hiding around the corner is La Belle Vie’s Josh Thoma–he just got out of work at Barrio and wanted to see what the W-signal was about, evidently.
Nothing to do on the observation deck but observe. And I forgot a lighter. Time to leave. Oooh look, a cigarette girl! Same Zelda ‘do, same flapper dress with cute little stockings. But what’s this? Tootsie rolls? Bubble gum cigars? Candy cigarettes? Where the real cigarettes at? Man, this 1920s theme is starting to feel eerily authentic.