It’s the restaurant in the suburbs that people literally line up outside to get in. Travail Kitchen & Amusements has been a giant success since it opened in downtown Robbinsdale, and there were rumors that the chefs were looking to move.
Now comes some confirmation of their plans, not from James Winberg, Mike Brown or Bob Gerken, but instead from the minutes of a Robbinsdale Economic Development Authority. (Hey, I’m a newsman—I love public documents!)
Oh, and calm down, if the deal goes through, they’re just moving up the street to 4122 -28 West Broadway… it’s a fairly non-descript building holding a tax prep company and a vacant restaurant site along with some other offices. According to the city, Travail has a purchase agreement to buy the building. The city’s redevelopment agency will contribute almost all the money toward the purchase ($275,000), plus $25,000 for the demolition.
The city’s setting up a TIF, where they hope to recapture the property tax money from the higher value of the restaurant property. They consider it an advance on the money Travail will pay in property tax. The new building has to have a minimum value of $720,000.
OK, you don’t really care about that—you care about what the restaurant’s going to be like. Well, I asked the guys, gave them a month to respond, and they didn’t—so we only have what the redevelopment authority documents say:
One common kitchen: two separate restaurants. One side will be Travail (similar set-up with 48 seats) and the other side will be a new restaurant/bar area with about the same number of seats.
There was quite a bit of discussion at the city level about a Whiz Bang poster, currently on the building. Travail has agreed to re-hang it on the new building, or move it to another building downtown. Gotta love it.
This is exciting for some young chefs who are clearly having a ton of fun at work (I went to Travail last week with some friends, had the 15-course tasting for two for $125, and had a great time. It’s a fun vibe. I’ll write in more detail about that some other time.).
It’s also exciting for Robbinsdale and suburban dining in general. An adventurous restaurant can succeed in the suburbs. Let’s hope more chefs give it a shot.
UPDATE FROM MARCIA GLICK – Executive Director of REDA
“The city piece is in place to assist in acquiring the site provided that there is private financing for construction of the new building. Until the private financing is in place, Travail’s owners have expressed a desire to move to a new and bigger location in Robbinsdale, but it’s not a done deal.”