It seems just yesterday, or a couple of weeks ago, that I was lamenting the fact that the former Goodfellows space has been sitting empty for so many years. And now, I hear the good news that the historic dining room is coming back to life as Forum.
Rick Nelson got the scoop from first-time restaurateur Jim Ringo (the guy behind the new restaurant, Ringo's, in the works in St. Louis Park). Ringo partnered with Shea design to breathe new life into the art deco space known for its glass chandeliers, etched mirrors, and walnut woodwork.
The Ringos are making changes, and they sound like improvements, from adding booths and a lively main-floor bar to installing balcony seating to maximize the stupendous views. Beige fabric panels -- used during the Goodfellow's era to mitigate noise and preserve the green Vitrolite panels behind them -- will be removed, dialing the room's giddy quotient even higher. A kitchen table -- a popular Goodfellow's feature -- will return, and a sidewalk patio will carry the room's colors and patterns outside to City Center's dreary, blink-and-you'll-miss-it exterior.
The new chef will be Christian Ticarro, of the former Canyon Grille in Coon Rapids, who will be cooking American food.
Mirroring Ringo's rotating emphasis on global flavors, a third of Forum's menu will celebrate a different regional cuisine each month -- starting with New Orleans -- a third will honor timeless, all-American comfort foods (Cincinnati-style chili, Southern fried chicken) and a third will focus on classic American grill items, including dry-aged steaks and lamb chops.
The more casual approach is actually a return to the space's original history. Here's a little more about the original Forum Cafeteria and the space's evolution over the years from a Shea press release:
The Forum Cafeteria was originally built in 1930 as a remodel of the Saxe Moving Picture Theater. It had a successful run for more than 40 years and in 1976, closed and reopened as a nightclub, Scottie's on Seventh. In the early 1980s, the building was demolished to make way for City Center, and the stylized art deco interior was carefully removed. In 1983, it was reinstalled in Scottie's which had relocated to a new City Center spot at 40 S. 7th Street. Over the next several years the space changed hands a few times and was home to Paramount Café, Mick's and finally Goodfellows, which closed in 2005.
Expect an April opening...