"Little” is the key word at The Original on 42nd.
It’s a little mom and pop sandwich shop in south Minneapolis in the very little original Colossal Cafe space. It will have a little menu delivering simple pleasures.
Chef Andy Lilja is coming off a stint working at the large and capricious Ox Cart Ale House, so he seems pleased that this “is not a big huge giant monster.” If anything, its size is what attracted him to the project, along with his girlfriend and business partner, chef Stephanie Kochlin. She’s the mom to his pop, and they’re very excited to be working together. “It’s really close quarters, so it’s important that everyone like each other,” says Kochlin.
Of course, the Colossal Cafe started as an ironic name for the 15-seat diner. The business was then sold by the original owner and is now a small chain of Colossal Cafes scattered around the metro. Wanting to maintain the original space (hence the new name), the team turned to Lilja and Kochlin who snapped up the opportunity.
They look forward to giving the people what the people have been wanting: a very good sandwich.
“Why can’t I get a good roast beef sandwich?” Lilja inquires of me. It’s a question worth asking. He’s got the answer, in sandwich form, arriving around the end of this month.
“And we’re not going to do anything crazy with it,” he says. “It will probably be Swiss cheese and horseradish.” Bread will be baked daily by Colossal Cafe.
Because of the small space, he won’t be able to make any of the charcuterie that he’s known for, but of course he’ll use the highest quality product that the “reasonable” price points will allow for. Also watch for a smoked trout sandwich with capers, cucumber and radish instead of tuna, and something with lamb, which will be the fanciest thing you can expect out of the place.
Salads, soups, and snacks will round out the menu, and that’s all they’re willing to say, since they’re still in the planning phase. When Lilja passes the phone to Kochlin, I ask what menu items she’s most excited about.
“Let me ask Andy if I can tell you,” she says. (Andy says no.)
Playing mom against pop doesn’t work at this particular little spot.
A new paint job, a patio, and a new logo are a few other changes to expect. Watch for The Original on 42nd by the end of May.
The Original on 42nd
1839 E. 42nd St., Minneapolis