Coalition Restaurant coming to 50th & France district

Coalition Restaurant will occupy the old 50th Street Cafe building when it opens this spring. Photo by Nate Gotlieb

An Excelsior-based American restaurant will be opening this spring in the 50th & France district.

Chef Eli Wollenzien and business partner Deacon Eells will open their second Coalition Restaurant at 3808 W. 50th St., the site of the now-closed 50th Street Cafe. Wollenzien said he expects to start remodeling the site within the next week and hopes to be open by May 1. He said the restaurant could be open around mid-April.

Wollenzien said the 50th & France location will initially have the same menu as Excelsior location, which serves a variety of starters, vegetables and greens as well as entrees such as steaks, seafood, pasta and burgers. The new location will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and will seat up to 98 patrons.

The menu is eclectic with a lot of different flavors, Wollenzien said, but doesn’t necessarily have one signature dish. He said the restaurant focuses on the local sourcing of products such as meats, dairies and vegetables.

He said the restaurant will be going for a full liquor license. The plan is to have a small selection of local beers on tap, a full wine selection and craft cocktails.

“We want people to be able to come in their jeans and T-shirts and get a beer,” he said, adding that he wants it to be a place where people can “come in suit and tie and get steak and wine.”

“It is a more sophisticated atmosphere,” he said, “but that doesn’t mean it can’t be casual.”

He said the restaurant will start hiring in mid March.

Wollenzien was the founding chef at Crave at the Galleria in Edina and spent six years as Crave’s corporate chef. He was the corporate chef for the Blue Plate Restaurant Company for two years before opening Coalition in June 2014.

Wollenzien and Eells will be fully remodeling the Edina site, adding windows to the east-facing wall, repositioning the entrance and remodeling the exterior. There won’t be a patio, but Wollenzien said they will install in a “four-season porch type area.”

Rachel Thelemann, executive director of the 50th & France Business and Professional Association, said she’s excited about Coalition’s entrance into the district.

“We know it has a great reputation,” she said. “I think we’re such a foodie community that it enhances our district for sure.”

Fulton Neighborhood Association President Jane Kohnen said her organization will be looking at getting a uniform policy to address parking issues. The association will be having a meeting to address parking on Monday night. She said she’s happy to have the prospect of more restaurants in the neighborhood.

Visit to see the restaurant’s menu.