We've seen restaurants. We've done bars. But the time has come in Twin Cities drinking and dining culture for the buvette.
Eat and drink and cook and dine enough, whether as vocation or extreme avocation and what's on the plate can become almost besides the point. The main questions can become: Does this place make me feel good? Do I want to return to it again and again and again? Does this place offer heart, soul and true hospitality?
All of these questions could probably be answered in the affirmative if one were confronted with a buvette. A French term, loosely translated it means "a little drinking place" or "a refreshment stand" or even sometimes "soda fountain" or "little snacking place." It's safe to say chef Steven Brown (Tilia) will not be making a soda fountain, but instead the beverages are very champagne-forward, with little snacks to go with it.
When I spoke to Emilie Cellai, Marseille native and proprietor of Le Town Talk Diner, she talked wistfully of the buvette, where you meet a friend for a drink and wind up staying all day — having a little snack when the champagne begins to demand that you do so, and then another champagne, and then another, and then maybe another snack, and in between all the chatting, suddenly you don't know where the hours have gone and you just don't care! You know, the good life. Like they do it in France.
And the really interesting part is that we might not be getting just one buvette, but also another, right acres the street. David Hahne, formerly of the long loved and long lost Pane Vino Dolce (probably as close as we ever had to a buvette back in the day) is trying to get Polpo up and running, on the very same intersection, 50th and Bryant, where Brown's buvette will be situated.
Polpo will be more Italian than French, with the hot item known as crudo as the menu anchor. But Polpo will also be a drinking and snacking place wherein coming together with your friends is the first order of business. Happy hour starts at 1:30 p.m.
So, 1:30 p.m. happy hours and champagne that flows like water and little snacky sandwiches and French beers and crudo are all coming to 50th and France. If that doesn't sound like the most continental and sophisticated thing to happen to dining around here in awhile, well, then I don't know what is.
Steven Brown has announced on the St. Genevive Facebook page that the place will be open before the end of the year. What better place to raise a toast to the new year and new refinement in local food and drink, than here?
Opening before the end of the year
5003 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis