Each time I’ve stepped out of the Orpheum lately, I’ve wondered what’s been going on at the former D’Amico Kitchen space in Le Méridien Chambers on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis. We knew it was to be another health-conscious restaurant by Craig Bentdahl, who also owns Mill Valley Kitchen in St. Louis Park, and its executive chef, Michael Rakun, but how they would transform the corner had yet to be seen…until last week. Opening to the public today, June 23, Marin Restaurant & Bar will give us healthy, California-inspired fare that is sourced locally (when possible) and organic (when possible). In addition to the food, the beverage are set to impress (always possible), with three bars and an extensive wine cellar for the discerning drinkers.
Mostly behind obscured windows, great renovation has taken place in what was formerly a bright white space. Now, it’s warm and distinguished, using smart floor plans to create three distinct restaurants in one, thanks to Shea, Inc.: a main level dining room and bar, an outdoor patio with bar, and a lower level level library and bar that also includes three private dining rooms and two chefs tables in the kitchen. Visually appealing, the design elements bring a substantial presence to the corner. It feels permanent, like it’s set roots.
Taking in the preview night, I can only speak to an army of very helpful and friendly staff and delicious small bites that were aimed to delight, and did so with aplomb. I look forward to getting to know Marin and its menu better.
Here’s my short photo tour of this new Hennepin Avenue gem: