While she's confirmed a January opening date for her Sassy Spoon restaurant (she's retiring her food truck by the same name), Tamara Brown says she's not pigeon-holing herself with "broth bar," "gluten free," or "Paleo" for her Nokomis fast-casual eatery, though those will be some of the menu options.
"It's more clean food, scratch-made food that you could have probably made at home, but you don't have to do anything -- including the dishes."
She says that gluten is the only thing she eschews in her kitchen, so it's not necessarily Paleo [which avoids dairy, sugar, and legumes among other things], and while she's inspired by the New York City broth bar Brodo, her restaurant isn't a broth bar, though she will be serving broth.
"That place just serves them in a sippable cup, but my preference would be to put it in a bowl with a spoon, and then have optional additions like gluten-free dumplings."
Brown is a former nutritionist and has tapped a former Seward Co-op chef for the new venture, but is holding off on announcing her name until after her start date in December.
"We have really similar thoughts about food, and I need a second brain for the restaurant. I've done things on the truck that I don't feel like I need to do in the restaurant, so I need to step away a little bit so that it can be its own thing."
Two truck favorites that will remain are miso-braised pork with garlic-ginger slaw and sweet potato hash. She says both the items eventually fell off the truck menu because of their labor intensiveness, but now there will be the time and space to attend to them.
The restaurant will have a fast-casual format with gluten-free beer and wine, and she's definitely going to focus on her "desserty things," all of which are grain-free, such as a raw cookie dough with a glass of milk and, probably, a grain-free pecan bar.
The interior is being painted pink with spoon murals on two walls. "It's going to be awesome," she says, mentioning that she's attracted to the food and spaces that follow formats like Brasa, the Birchwood, and Common Roots.
Brown, who also happens to have the sweetest, most innocent and enthusiastic disposition of any chef in the Twin Cities, concluded thusly:
"Well, I always see the word 'fuck' get worked into these stories, so I thought, 'Ohh! I want to say that in mine!'"
Sassy Spoon will be located in the former 3 Tiers space at 5011 34th Ave. S. in Minneapolis.
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