Isaac Becker and partners to open new steak house


Celebrated chef Isaac Becker of 112 Eatery and Bar La Grassa fame and two partners--his wife, Nancy St. Pierre, and real estate developer/restaurateur Ryan Burnet (Barrio and Bar La Grassa)--have announced they are opening a new restaurant in south Minneapolis. The new venture will be a steak house they are planning to call Burch, though Becker says it will be a bit different from what people generally think of as a steak house.

Becker gave us details this morning on their plans for the new place, which they are hoping to have ready by November.

The site of the new restaurant is in the old Burch Pharmacy building on the corner of Franklin Street and Hennepin Avenue in south Minneapolis. "We're calling it a steak house," Becker says, but the concept will be much broader--a "European-influenced" place where "people who don't like steak" or even vegetarians will be comfortable.

"You won't find any Latino food or Asian food, but otherwise there could be anything there," he says. For example, Becker is already working on a selection of eastern European dumplings. "I'm hoping to have five or six varieties of dumplings," he says, and a vegetable section that highlights "each vegetable in its own way, not just a big plate of asparagus to go with your steak."

Becker says the specific idea for the new place came together fairly quickly. "Nancy and I and Ryan were kind of batting around restaurant ideas for a while," he says, but then "kind of cooled off on it for a while." But when a real estate agent showed them the Burch location, "we loved it," he says. The three of them went across the street to Sebastian Joe's ice cream parlor to talk about the possibilities, and Burnet suggested a steak house.

"One of the things Ryan says is that when his friends eat at La Grassa , one of the things they comment on is how good the steak is," Becker says. "To me it sounded like a good idea."

Becker says they have two investors to back the project. Though he and his partners have had tremendous success so far in a difficult business, Becker, who won a prestigious James Beard Award last year as Best Chef: Midwest, is taking nothing for granted. "It's an enormous risk we're taking," he says, "and one that we didn't need to take. 112 and La Grassa are doing just fine."

"I'm never confident," he says, when asked about predicting the restaurant's success. "I'm hoping for the best. My philosophy is you've just got to do it and grind it out till things start working."

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