Cheap is the New Hot

Got Champagne tastes and a Grain Belt budget? Welcome to the Minneapolis of your dreams.

And what of Stewart Woodman, the Food & Wine magazine best young chef in America who was so ignominiously booted from his restaurant, Five Restaurant and Street Lounge, before it closed? Despite rumors and news reports saying he and his wife Heidi were poised to take over the Pane Vino Dolce restaurant space, as of this writing the deal wasn't looking too done. "The project's in limbo," Woodman told me. "We may or may not be taking over that restaurant space, and even if we do, we might do something else in the interim." Something else like what? Woodman wouldn't say. Later he emailed me with a clarification: "It is because humanity has never known where it was going that it has been able to find its way." Well, I guess humanity hasn't known where it was going to cook, either.

Finally, what's up with Steven Brown, the homegrown genius of Levain? "Amazingly, I've got some people who say they will give me money, and I'm looking to buy a building," Brown said. "But even if I found a space tomorrow, it would be six months to a year till I opened. In the meantime, I'm on the extended tour of the unemployed chef—I defy you to find a charity event I'm not cooking at. And I take pride in the fact that so many of my line cooks are now chefs." Brown told me about a few places he was looking at, finally concluding, "But I really want a bar." A bar? A bar with family-oriented takeout? No.

Then I guess that must be the trend after next.

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