Like all people everywhere, Prince hung out in the kitchen.
At the west side of the skylit atrium, the central focus of Paisley Park, the artist’s personal home and workplace, stands “Little Kitchen.”
It's a sliver of a space, one part restaurant with two diner-style booths, one part continental kitchen with an espresso machine, French Press, and microwave, and one part living room with a couch, coffee table, and TV.
Like all people everywhere, he took most of his dinners on that couch in front of that TV.
And, like all people everywhere, the rest of the world came to a grinding halt when his favorite TV show was on.
“If he was in town and New Girl was on, he was watching New Girl. If he had a guest, they were watching New Girl, too,” says Juell Roberts, one half of the culinary team that cooked almost exclusively for Prince when he was in town. (He loved the show so much that he requested to be a guest, which he was of course granted, going on to actually write much of the episode in which he appeared.)
The remainder of Paisley Park is much of what you’d expect: expansive, clean, whimsical, and great-smelling. But you can’t deny the charms of Little Kitchen, the TV and the couch, as human and down-to-earth as anything.
As we previously reported, Prince had very specific eating habits, which Juell and Ray Roberts happily accommodated during their three-year tenure with the superstar. And now, as Paisley Park operates in full swing as a Graceland-like museum, fans can not only see where he ate, but eat what he ate, too.
Paisley Park is now open permanently for public tours, an hour-or-so glance into the late musician’s life and work. The tour itself is at once beautiful, strange, and bittersweet. Tissue boxes are thoughtfully placed throughout, and you might find that you need them.
Not surprisingly, you exit through the gift shop. There, fans can choose to stay for a snack (they’re working on a fixed menu for VIP ticket holders).
The menu is made up mostly of dishes the man himself requested most, including the oat, coconut and double-chocolate Cowgirl Mini cookies. He liked them so much, he Tweeted about them. The chefs say he ate some of these at his final Paisley Park party.
Tour-goers can also have coconut curry with black rice and chickpeas, or minestrone soup, two of his other faves. Like the entirety of the menu, both dishes are vegetarian, though not necessarily vegan. Prince was not vegan, as continues to be widely reported.
And yes, pancakes are in full effect on the menu, along with a story about his middle-of-the-night proclivity for them.
There are lots of sweets, paying homage to his notorious sweet tooth, and a couple of wild cards including a Minnesota Grilled Cheese. When asked if he’d eat such a thing, Juell confesses, “No way.” He did like honey and apples, though, which are pressed inside of the bread along with cheddar and Gouda.
He did love pizza, also on the menu, but it had to be thin crust. “He didn’t like thick bread or thick crust. He wouldn’t touch it.” (Which is how you keep a 112-pound figure, people).
Juell says it was more about grace. He didn’t like ungraceful eating, and he really didn’t like eating in front of other people, either, taking most of his meals alone. Still, he personally chose the dinner and flatware that he and his guests would dine with.
“He had a say over everything,” Juell remembers, rigorously polishing the silverware that had to be spotless at all times.
“I used to hate this silverware, and now I love it,” she says, tearing up, while she polishes and polishes.
And, just because he made some of the world’s most important music, don’t think he didn’t know how to make an egg. Prince would sometimes scramble up a couple in Little Kitchen, alone in the mornings, before anyone else was around.
Discover more about the man, the legend, and his appetites at Paisley Park, now open for tour dates through December 2016. Menu items range from $2 to $12.50.
7801 Audubon Rd., Chanhassen