Fig + Farro aims to open in time for the Super Bowl at Calhoun Square, and advises future patrons to “Eat your veggies. …Because the Paris Climate Accord said so.”
“Global vegetarian comfort foods. For some people, it might seem like an oxymoron,” said Thomas Dambrine, a “Franco-Minnesotan” who grew up in the Lorraine region of France and previously worked at Appetite For Change and the family-focused Bean Sprouts Café.
Dambrine said staff want to make vegetarian and vegan foods comfortable for all guests, and dishes would be approachable in terms of price as well as taste. Menu ideas include mashed potatoes with a gravy flight and Turkish moussaka with roasted eggplant, potatoes, zucchini and béchamel. A full bar will offer wine and kombucha on tap, local beers and cocktails.
Staff members are designing a “jungle gym” for kids, surrounded by plants.
When asked about the so-called curse at the former Figlio’s space, where three restaurants have since come and gone (Parella, Primebar and Il Gatto), Dambrine noted that Figlio operated for 25 years and many wish it had never closed.
“We know that this is a really great location. It always helps when something for you is not just a business,” he said.
He said the restaurant would operate under a “triple bottom line” that focuses not only on profit but good stewardship of the planet and a good partnership with employees.
The restaurant is paying $15 per hour, offering its employees benefits, profit-sharing and an open view of the books. To make the wage level work, employees will be trained in all areas of the business.
A new nonprofit called the Fig Foundation would support child and adult education around plant-based eating and climate change.
Restaurant founder Michelle Courtright previously co-founded MADE, a company dedicated to creative products and non-traditional marketing (like the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s 150-foot ice dragon sculpture near Bde Maka Ska in 2015) and she helped open FLOCK in Whittier, a co-working space for creative professionals.