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Uptown institution Lucia's is getting a new chef

For nearly 30 years, the menu at Lucia’s Restaurant has changed weekly. “And that’s not going to change,” said new co-owner Jason Jenny.

For nearly 30 years, the menu at Lucia’s Restaurant has changed weekly. “And that’s not going to change,” said new co-owner Jason Jenny. Special to the Star Tribune file photo

In 2014, Lucia Watson, a pioneer in the local food movement, sold her namesake restaurant in Uptown, after almost 30 years of serving menus that changed weekly.

Her exit brought with it questions of the restaurant’s future. Would it stay faithful to its reputation for fine local fare, quality bakery and grab-and-go items, and wine bar elegance? Fans' anxious curiosity peaked when Ryan Lund, who helmed the kitchen for nine years, left Lucia’s earlier this month.

Those questions will be answered in time, but what we know now is the Uptown institution has named its new executive chef: Parasole vet Matt Ellison.

Ellison spent four years at Muffuletta in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood in St. Paul, where his cooking focused on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. His career also includes time at Campiello, Mexican restaurant Masa, W.A. Frost, Happy Gnome, Salut, and North Shore landmark Naniboujou Lodge.

Ellison says the move to Lucia’s is a chance to continue his commitment to local food. “I look forward to being a part of a long-standing and rich history.” You’ll find Ellison in the kitchen at Lucia’s starting Tuesday.

Lucia's 
1428 W 31st St.
612-825-9800
lucias.com