Speaking of New York

Just call us Soho on the Prairie, because another New York restaurant is also coming—to Loring Park, no less. Ever hear of Nick and Eddies? It was before my time, but reportedly was a hotspot in Soho in the '80s and '90s. (I found an old article about Julia Roberts being hounded by paparazzi there because of the frenzy surrounding Pretty Woman.) Anyhoo, some of the original Nick and Eddies folks went on to open another famous New York restaurant called Blue Ribbon, and one of the head waiters returned to Minneapolis to continue being Doug Anderson, brainy, talky lover of European aesthetic philosophers and vintage psychobilly records.

Eventually, Anderson opened the first incarnation of Bakery on Grand, with amazing baked goods by his wife, the former Lucia's pastry genius Jessica Anderson. Then came Au Rebours and BoG went on to lead life with other owners and bakers. But Au Rebours, the St. Paul bistro, continued, and so did the relationship with the original Nick and Eddies owners. "When my son was born in '91 they sent over so much food, it lasted for four days," remembers Doug Anderson. Now the Andersons are partnering with one of those Nick and Eddies originals, Phillip Hoffman, as well as longtime Loring Bar manager Tony Richards, to open a restaurant and bar called Nick and Eddies, on Loring Park, in the old Loring Grill and Exile clothing store spaces. Projected opening? November, if all goes well.

Expect a plain, likable burger and roast chicken sort of restaurant and a 2:00 a.m. closing time for a bar with whiffs of the old, lost, lamented Loring: "The landlord called me up," Doug Anderson told me, "And he said, whatever happened between me and Jason [McLean, the unwillingly evicted Loring owner], all the funk has disappeared from this neighborhood, and I want it to come back in a bad, bad way. What will it take to get you in here?" Oh, the folly of man. Remember when the Loring was getting booted? It seems like just yesterday...well, no matter.

"I'd like to see something that's specifically of this city," Anderson told me. "I'd like to get people like Scott Seekins back, the old New French Bar crew, and all those people. Maybe it's me trying to recapture my youth, but I feel like the people who made Minneapolis interesting in my generation have nowhere to go now. I'm seeing it as the music is T-Rex, Sticky Fingers-era Stones, and Curtis Mayfield, and the 'concept' is accommodation and saying yes to every request. There's an area for a bakery, and Jessica does all the pastries, we do the bread for Au Rebours again. We do things that take advantage of the park, and let you really enjoy this city. Like you call up and order a picnic, we bring out a basket and a blanket for you and set it up, you have a beautiful picnic and then we clean it all up, you drive off. Wouldn't you like that?"

Yes, yes I would!

"On the weekends, we do Jewish dim sum brunch, with little plates of potato pancakes with schmaltz [chicken fat], and blintzes."

Okay, Doug, now you lost me.

"But there won't be anything with arbitrary innovation, just real food that people want, in real Minneapolis style. And we're going to have the old truck alley—not the Loring's old alley, the Lurcat alley, our alley." If you're talking alleys, I know we must be talking Minneapolis, but it sure is beginning to seem like New York out here, in a major major way.

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