Edit ModuleShow Tags

JP’s American Bistro Closed. Tragic.



Published:

I’m heartbroken: JP’s American Bistro closed Sunday night. JP’s has long been one of my all-time favorite Minneapolis restaurants. It was my husband’s and my go-to place when we wanted to celebrate but didn’t want a hulaballoo. It was my favorite bar to meet friends at during happy hour. In fact, we had a piece scheduled for the November issue of the magazine that included this passage:

“Every discussion I’ve had about restaurants in the last six months seems to lead folks to bring up one point: ‘You know what’s really good, but no one talks about? JP’s.’ It’s true: JP American Bistro, the LynLake restaurant by J. P. Samuelson, a one time saucier at Bouley in New York City, is the best, least-buzzed about restaurant in town. It’s great because Samuelson has a particular mastery over balancing points of sour, salty, and sweet in every dish, and manages to embellish local products with exotic ingredients—like oak smoked paprika or pickled lemon rind—in a way that is almost undetectable to the untrained. You eat his food and you just think: This is something simple that is very good and I don’t know why. And it’s only after quizzing Samuelson that learn the nuances he has brought to the table….”

Looks like all that not-talking about and not-buzzing seems to have added up. Worse, Samuelson isn’t just a great talent: He’s a really nice guy.

What happened? I called him up to find out. “It’s really sad,” he told me. “The construction [endless, at Lake and Lyndale] finally got to us. With the economy, the construction, Minneapolis property taxes—after our first year, because the property had been redone, our taxes went up by three-thousand dollars a month. Nobody had budgeted for that. The construction was supposed to happen in one year, but they came back and started on Lake Street, and at some point you have to cut your losses.”

It’s so sad!

“Yeah, it is,” J.P. told me. “Numerous people came by, like Mike Ryan from ‘Bewiched. He used to work here, and Mike said: ‘This doesn’t bode well for independent restaurants.’ I don’t want to be a pessimist, but I have to agree. I don’t think we’ll be the last one [closing]. With the economy the way it is, even if they approve a bailout, I think the next six months are going to be brutal, and given the life-spans of most restaurants, it’s hard to see everyone making it. This holiday season coming up; I don’t wish it on anyone. It’s unfortunate, but fine dining is just one of those things people can eliminate from their budgets.”

Well, that’s it. I’m sort of stunned. Heartbroken, stunned, afraid. If you loved J.P.’s food as much as I did, you can hire him for private events or attend his cooking classes; he’s going to keep his website up so people can contact him through that.

“Pass on my condolences to Cheryl,” I told J.P.

“I will. It is kind of like a death in the family,” J.P. told me.

Yes, it is. It’s a sad, sad day in Minneapolis.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

How Restaurant Alma Got Its Signature Flavor Profile

Unlocking the building blocks to Restaurant Alma's subtle, delicious cuisine

Fanning the Flames: Bananas Foster Recipe

A flick of a flame brings it all together—warm, buttery sweet sauce melted over healthy bananas and refreshing ice cream.

What Do You Know About Portuguese Wine?

You probably know nothing, which is why Twin Cities Wine Geek Week is for you
Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

How Restaurant Alma Got Its Signature Flavor Profile

Unlocking the building blocks to Restaurant Alma's subtle, delicious cuisine

Fanning the Flames: Bananas Foster Recipe

A flick of a flame brings it all together—warm, buttery sweet sauce melted over healthy bananas and refreshing ice cream.

What Do You Know About Portuguese Wine?

You probably know nothing, which is why Twin Cities Wine Geek Week is for you

Grilled Coffee-Molasses Brined Pork Chops with a Coffee Rub Recipe

Get juicy pork from brining while adding a mysterious flavor with sweet savory seasoning and a rub

Haute Dish, Victory 44, Rustica at MOA—all closed. Why?

The summer—and this past weekend especially—has been tough on Twin Cities restaurants. Is it (future) minimum wage hike or location?

Spilling the Beans: What I Learned From 5 Minneapolis Coffee Shops In 3 Hours

These are the best drinks from cafe favs on the Twin Cities Caffeine Crawl this year—plus sophisticated brewing methods and tidbits of coffee trivia
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Dream Job Alert

Not all berries are created equal. Each year, a few lucky berry lovers get to participate in Driscoll’s flavor tests.

Greek Wheat Berry Salad with Oregano Chicken and Halloumi Cheese Recipe

A medley of flavors and textures keep salad season interesting

Driscoll's Fun Facts

In the 100+ years of growing perfect berries, Driscoll’s has learned just about everything there is to know about how to get perfect into that little basket.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags