Chef shuffle in south Minneapolis: Jamie Malone in at Grand Cafe, Schoenefeld to leave Minneapolis

Chef Jamie Malone showing off her amazing tattoo (yes, it's real). She's now cooking at Grand Cafe.

Chef Jamie Malone showing off her amazing tattoo (yes, it's real). She's now cooking at Grand Cafe. Tom Wallace/ Star Tribune

Et tu, Brut?

The highly anticipated Brut, a collaboration between rockstar chefs Jamie Malone and Erik Anderson, suddenly seems a bit further out of reach.

The backstory: Jamie Malone received Best New Chef 2013 status from Food & Wine magazine for her work at Sea Change in Minneapolis. She quickly became a media darling, along with her partner chef Erik Anderson, also an alum of Sea Change.

The duo announced in 2014 that they would open up a restaurant together. It would be called Brut, and prominently feature lots of bubbly wine and playful, inventive cooking. It would showcase their respective talents with not just seafood, but also Anderson’s acclaimed work with small plates, a skill he honed while cooking at the highly respected Catbird Seat in Nashville. The Twin Cities dining scene licked its chops in anticipation.

And then, nothing.

Initially, it seemed that they had a spot secured in the former Sapor space on Washington Avenue, but that evidently collapsed. Now that space will become Crisp and Green, a fresh salad chain by local restaurateur Ryan Burnet (of Barrio, Bar La Grassa, and Burch fame).

Then there was news from Minnesota Monthly that Anderson had been working with Landon Schoenefeld at south Minneapolis stunner Birdie. Schoenefeld will leave Birdie, Nighthawks, and Haute Dish at the end of the year to take a mental health break. He reported to Dara Moskowitz that he would probably be leaving town. 

Now comes this update from Grand Cafe, a neighborhood bistro that thrums away quietly, beautifully, in the Kingfield neighborhood of south Minneapolis: Jamie Malone will take over for departing chef Andrew Kraft. 

Grand Cafe owners Dan and Mary Hunter are professional restaurateurs who run the place with all of their heart and soul. It’s the place that, if you lived around the corner, you’d be in three times a week, minimum. They’ve got the best brunch, they’ve got bubbles, they’ve got affogatos, they’ve got pizza night! And they’ve enjoyed the talents of a few excellent chefs, including the late John Radle, Ben Pichler (now sous chef at Burch), and most recently, Kraft.

No word on whether Malone will make major changes at the restaurant, which tends to adhere to a relatively formulaic bistro style menu of classics, allowing chefs to put their personal stamp on the more nuanced aspects of the menu. 

Change. It’s inevitable, and it seems to be upon us. Happy chef chasing! 

Grand Cafe
3804 Grand Ave. S., Minneapolis