We in the Twin Cities pride ourselves on the diversity of our food scene. Chefs like Jack Riebel, Jamie Malone, Isaac Becker, and Tim McKee have all helped to put us on the map, fine-dining wise. But we can also tout things like camel burgers and yak momo, plus the fact that there are few places outside of Laos to get better curry noodles and egg rolls than at Hmongtown Marketplace in St. Paul.
In an effort to help us keep up our cred and add more vegan, vegetarian-friendly, and gluten-free options in the process, a Ghanaian-born German-transplanted chef has launched a campaign to bring whole, healthy, authentic West African cuisine to Minneapolis with a permanent storefront.
The proposed restaurant will be a revival of chef Petrina Walter's previous restaurant Asase Yaa (pronounced "ah-sah-see-yah"), named after the fertility goddess of the Ashanti people of Ghana. Fans may recognize Walter and her food from her early days cruising Twin Cities outdoor festivals in her food truck long before food trucks were a thing.
The inspiration behind the menu is global with a focus on dishes and flavors from her native Ghana. Some sample items include bean stew with plantains, Mother Earth's Queen of 7 Greens spinach stew, and gye nyame veggie tofu. For diners wanting something a little meatier, Walter serves free-range Ghanaian-spiced chicken and Asase Yaa barbecue ribs. Fresh-made fruit juices and smoothies will also be available.
Right now she is seeking $15,000 for start-up costs and to try to secure a space for the restaurant. Backers who pledge the top dollar amount of $1,000 or more get free Asase Yaa meals for life, something to seriously consider if you're a jerk enthusiast.