The only reason I wandered into Manny’s new location was because the door was open. And then the second door was open, which I didn’t expect. And so I found myself just standing in the new W hotel, inside the Foshay tower—uninvited, unannounced, no doubt illegally.
There was a lot to see. The new bar and lounge at the base of the hotel, Prohibition, was beautiful: all royal purple, gray, and black, with oozy, bubble-like glass light/sculpture doohickeys, low couches, and a general air of Prince meets Barbarella in Milan circa 2014. It was also blindingly bright outside, but inside it felt like cocktail midnight. Good stuff. They plan to open really, truly, next week, August 13.
I also peeked into Manny’s. With its dark banquettes and mute ivory walls, it’s very elegant, almost spa-like. Well, except for the giant Jeroboam wine bottles sticking up from banquettes like the fins of very rich sharks. The original Manny’s shuts its doors on August 9th, so if you long to see the old stained drop-ceiling tiles, just one more time, rush on over.
But you know what’s weird? For whatever reason, it never occurred to me that when Manny’s made the move, they’d have to serve other day-parts, like lunch. My first reaction to lunch at Manny’s was: What, you’ll get half a steak and twelve asparagus spears instead of the usual pile? But, you know, eventually I wrapped my head around the idea. Lunch at Manny’s. Then my mind was really blown: Wait, breakfast. So you get a quarter of a steak and four asparagus spears?
Evidently Manny’s can’t even get its head around serving breakfast. Parasole spokesperson Kip Clayton explained to me that it won’t be Manny’s serving breakfast. It’ll be a separately “branded” entity called Early. What does this mean? I talked to Clayton for fifteen minutes as he stood in the Denver airport but never made heads or tails of it: It’s managed by the same people as Manny’s, it uses the same kitchen as Manny’s, it’s served in the same dining room as Manny’s, and the people who want to work at the real Manny’s will start at Early and work their way up. But it’s not Manny’s. Later, Clayton sent me a press release to, presumably, clarify:
“Early. It’s Steak Central at lunch and dinner, but from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. every day, Manny’s dining room puts on a whole different face as Early, serving up scratch-cooked breakfasts in a setting as fresh as a Minnesota morning. From Lobster Benedict and Kobe short rib hash to Greek yogurt and a world-class Continental Breakfast, Early will be the last word in Twin Cities’ power breakfasts.”
I’ll let you all mock “fresh as a Minnesota morning” on your own time, but the basic idea I got was that Manny’s is serving breakfast here because that’s the only way they could get into the W. No breakfast, no W. Also, no room service, no W, so they’re doing that too. And banquets. And all the stuff that hotels do. So, the new ne plus ultra of power moves: Buying bludgeons of beef for 300 people for your daughter’s wedding.
For me, what I’m most excited about is the part of the W I didn’t break into: The 27th floor bar and lounge (with snack foods, from Manny’s.) Should be an amazing view. I can’t wait.
Finally, a little gossip tidbit for those enduring enough to get to the end of this story: Word on the street is that a Jean Georges restaurant was originally slated to go into this W, but an invitation was ultimately extended to Manny’s because Minneapolis as a whole has been so non-enthused about Mr. Vongerichten’s restaurant at the Chambers. Well, yeah. You wouldn’t get this critic up on a breaking-and-entering charge just to see another watered down Spice Market.
W at the Foshay
821 Marquette Avenue,