When I moved to the Twin Cities 20 years ago, I can’t believe it’s been that long, one of the first places I felt at home was Uptown. From the diversity of food to its eclectic people, I felt the vibe. But, like some love affairs, over the years, passion cooled and we grew apart. The new and welcoming coup d’état could very well change that.
Even before you take a bite of the French- and Mediterranean-inspired food, there is something satisfying about this fresh addition to the Minneapolis restaurant and bar scene. The place is gorgeous. Tall ceilings with spectacular sparkling chandeliers, herringbone wood floors, and a giant 25′-wide chalkboard menu spread high above the open kitchen are jaw-dropping. Think upscale French café but not too fussy.
“We wanted this to be approachable but different,” co-owner Jacob Toledo tells me. “When someone says, ‘Oh my god, that bone marrow is amazing,’ I know we have hit it. We wanted to mix comfort foods with small special things that everyone can share.”
Being at the corner of Girard and Lagoon Avenues is kind of a déjà vu experience for Toledo and his business partner, Brent Frederick. They were managing partners of Cowboy Slim’s which stood on the same site. (Campiello before Slim’s.) That experience helped them cut their teeth for their next acclaimed ventures, the upscale Borough and Parlour in the North Loop. Many of the same people who helped them make that a success have traveled to Uptown, clearly hoping the magic follows them.
“We are keeping the same high quality of food and ingredients and attention to detail as Borough, but delivering it in a fun and relaxed atmosphere,” Chef Nick O’Leary explained. “We want everyone to feel comfortable coming in to relax over great food and drinks no matter if you are casual in shorts and a t-shirt or dressed up for the evening.” O’Leary is part of the kitchen triumvirate which also includes Twin Cities culinary stars Joe Rolle and Tyler Shipton.
Cocktail maestro Jesse Held has also made the move. “We’re not as booze-forward over here,” he said while stirring up “Not As Cool Hand Luke,” a reinterpreted whiskey sour. “Our easy drinking menu is more seasonal, and we’ll offer aperitif and wines along with cocktails. But you can still get an Old Fashioned here,” referring to a Parlour favorite.
When spring finally arrives, you’ll be able to sip those cocktails outside. There’s outdoor seating on two levels, all the better to take in the changing Uptown scene. Now can you understand why I think this love affair just might be rekindled after all?
Good To Know:
Seating up to 300.
Coming soon: A walk-up window for takeaway food.
Have a larger group? Check out the very cool corner space that will make you feel like you’re in a French country estate. The fireplace and candle-filled wall are the backdrop for two long tables that can accommodate about 40.
2923 Girard Ave S.
4 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.