The La Belle Vie vets behind Heyday on Lyndale want the restaurant to embody Minneapolis.
That’s why Terrence Payne’s artwork covers the walls (founder of Rosalux Gallery in Northeast), food comes from local farmers, and the restaurant is named after a song by The Replacements.
“We want people to think Minneapolis,” said co-owner Lorin Zinter.
The restaurateurs renovated the former Sunnyside Up Cafe and laundromat, restoring a building more than 100 years old. At one point during construction, a contractor yelled at the owners to move, because they were standing over a rotten floor. Beams from the basement are reused in the large bar, along with reclaimed wood from a Wisconsin barn.
Much of the design scheme comes from Mike Prickett, a “food, wine and dining fanatic” who co-owns the software company MCG Energy Solutions and met fellow owners Zinter and Jim Christiansen at La Belle Vie. Zinter has managed restaurants including La Belle Vie, Sea Change and Blue Point, recently serving as food and beverage director at the Minneapolis Club. Christiansen helped open restaurants including Solera, La Belle Vie, Sea Change, Il Gatto and Union.
Heyday’s bar covers the width of the restaurant, but the owners wondered whether it was large enough.
“We’re sitting at bars a lot when we eat,” Zinter said. “We didn’t want people to feel like they had to wear a suit and tie to go to Heyday.”
Zinter said they priced the spot to appeal to repeat customers. Their plans may have worked — in the first four days of business, some customers had already visited three times.
The most popular dish coming out of the kitchen is lamb tartare ($12), served with crispy artichokes.
“People are blown away by the simplicity,” Zinter said. “Jim is not trying to incorporate too many flavors to the point that it’s a confusing dish. There are three main components to most dishes.”
A popular dessert is the banana-yuzu sundae ($6), with olive oil and toasted maple meringue.
One item on the menu getting mixed reviews is the chilled mussels ($8) — people love them or shy away from them, Zinter said.
To the owners’ surprise, The Beetnik is proving to be a popular drink choice, perhaps for the novelty of a cocktail made with beets.
“People actually love it, though they order it with a little bit of suspicion,” Zinter said.