Update (9/11/20): Following protests at Keg & Case Market and a petition, the restaurant will no longer be known as Elotés Woodfired Cantina, and will be just Woodfired Cantina. The concern of the protestors relates to the sacred role of elotés (corn) in Mexican culture, and the lack of Mexican ownership for the restaurant.
Here is a statement from Ingram on the change: “We believe everything good starts with a meal. Our mission is and will continue to be bringing people together over quality food while serving others and giving back to the community. We have listened to concerns from members of our community over the name of our restaurant and have taken quick action to change the name to Woodfired Cantina. Our goal is to make food that brings people together. We are here to listen and learn. Please join us for a meal and make our community a better place.”
Just a week after In Bloom announced its exit from Keg & Case Market in St. Paul, a new tenant is on its way in. Elotés Woodfired Cantina is set to take over the anchor restaurant position and its enormous oven in the food hall located next to the old Schmidt Brewery on West Seventh.
According to to a press release, Brian & Sarah Ingram (Hope Breakfast Bar, the Gnome) plan to open the restaurant by late summer. Brian Ingram will incorporate influences from his time working in Southern California and making trips to Mexico for a menu will featuring “wood-fired meats, fish & vegetables and include wet tacos, lava rock bowls, tin-can nachos, and fresh ceviche.”
In an interview with The Growler, Brian Ingram spoke to the question of culinary appropriation. “This is our interpretation of some of our favorite Southern California and coast of Baja taco shops,” he said. “In no way are we claiming to be an authentic Mexican taco stand.” He noted that for this project he’s employing on two of his favorite chefs, “a couple named Marcia and Guermo [Castillo] from Mexico City.”
“We are going to step out and do everything in our power to be purposeful in the jobs we create and our giveback to the community,” he said in a Facebook post. “Purpose driven restaurants will be our goal and we Hope to deliver on that everyday.”