On the heels of Stewart Woodman's departure as culinary director of Kaskaid, the company's downtown restaurant Union has announced that it will be morphing into a sports bar concept. No word on whether those plans had any bearing on Woodman's departure, but it's difficult to imagine the chef known for dishes like "beet interpretation #7" whipping up club sandwiches and nachos. The restaurant has had an identity crisis almost since the beginning, with four concept changes in as many years, difficulties retaining staff, and at times, sitting utterly empty on otherwise busy downtown evenings.
According to the Mpls/St. Paul Business Journal, Kaskaid's marketing director, Zach Sussman, explained the change this way:
"Consumers overwhelmingly said that they wanted it to be something more casual."
But with multiple casual bars in easy walking distance — Bulldog, Pizza Hut Sports Bar, Mackenzies, Lyons Pub, and the the Depot among many others, it's a head-scratcher to think that what downtown consumers need right now is for Kaskaid to build a sports bar, and then they will come.
Do we see a fifth Union concept in the foreseeable future? Time will tell.
731 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis