Top 10: Restaurant Closings of the Decade
We lost a lot of great restaurants in the last decade--such is the nature of the business--and I thought I'd pay homage to a few of the most-missed.
Nearly a decade before Jean-Georges and Wolfgang came to town, New York City's preeminent Swedish restaurant, Aquavit, deemed Minneapolis's dining scene important enough to have its own satellite branch. (Admittedly the Swedish thing was a big part of it...) The complex cuisine had its hits and misses and was, in some ways, ahead of its time, though it did help draw more national attention to our local talent. The most truly amazing thing about Aquavit, though, was its elegant $10, multi-course lunch--yes, really, $10, in the early 2000s! It's something Potbelly will never match.
By the time it had closed, most diners still hadn't figured out how to pronounce the name of the place (you say Au-ree-guh, I say Ah-rye-guh), but could still all agree: Doug Flicker was cooking the hell out of the place. While Flicker was a pioneer with experimental cooking techniques such as sous vide, he still managed to cultivate a relaxed, neighborhood vibe with the classiest late-night happy hour in town that hinged on great wine and amazing flatbread pizzas (goat cheese and marcona almonds = delish!). Auriga's funky building has been sitting empty for years (sure, it's awkward and has hardly any parking, but the location!? and the patio!?) and it may stay that way for a while. In the meantime, I'm still on the hunt for a another restaurant that serves Agrumi Italian soda...