Erick Harcey steps back some from Parka, planned MIA restaurant

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Victory44ChefEricHarcy.jpg
Chef Erick Harcey is changing his direction
Remember those plans we mentioned involving Erick Harcey and the Stock and Badge team and the several restaurants they were slated to open at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts? Well, those have changed, and soon, so will some aspects of Victory 44, Harcey's home base restaurant in northern Minneapolis. It looks like one of the busiest chefs is town is looking to refocus and re-brand.

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Harcey has announced that he will be taking a step back from Stock and Badge and will no longer be executive chef for the upcoming MIA spots or at the year-old Parka. (Parka and Victory 44 came under criticism on Eater Minneapolis' latest roundup of restaurants that food writers -- including this one -- broke up with in 2013).

"Effective immediately, I will no longer be the active executive chef for Stock and Badge (Parka, Rustica, Dogwood, Grain Stack, Half Pint)," he said. "I will be remaining on as a partner but take an indefinite sabbatical from all day-to-day operations."

Instead, Harcey will be pulling back to refocus and make some changes to the nearly five-year-old Victory 44. Harcey told us that the revision will hone in on their role as a go-to neighborhood cafe with the same beautiful food Harcey is known for creating. Our first question was, what of the Perfect Burger? He assured us, "Perfect Burger will never leave and in reality that's what the whole evolution will be built around. Much more casual and family-friendly, yet still progressive on the food front."

We were also left wondering what the future of the Victory 44 Coffee Bar & Provisions. "There will be changes in the coffee bar, but they will only be for the better," he said. "We are going to enhance our coffee program even further and make a more casual feel and also work to grow our 'provisions' and develop our take-away [products]. We will still be anchored by Dogwood Coffee and Rustica Bakery, so from that point it will stay the same."

That's not all he'll be up to. Harcey will also be opening the new Bent Arrow in the former In Season space. The restaurant will be closer to the chef-driven style of Victory 44 in its early days. He hopes that spot will be ready to open in April.

"At the end of the day I just really love cooking and have goals that I need to accomplish as a chef and guests that I need to make extremely happy," he said. 

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Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that Harcey would no longer be involved with the MIA restaurants or Parka. Harcey will still be a part of those restaurants, but will no longer act as executive chef.

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Victory 44

2203 44th Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

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3 comments
Amber Rae
Amber Rae

Excited to hear more about victory 44's future! Go get em Erick, I'm sure it will be delicious! Yum yum ...always is!

Erin Burckhard
Erin Burckhard

I have only been to Victory 44 once. I went there, it was busy, especially for it being almost 8 at night. I wasn't seated by anyone, and after 5 minutes I found a place to sit. The server came over about 10 minutes later and asked me what I wanted to eat. I looked at him like he was crazy, I didn't even have a menu or water or anything yet. He rolled his eyes at me and proceeded to point at the wall. Across the restaurant, there hung a chalkboard with scribbles on it. I had to walk to be able to read it, which was fine, I can walk, other than that then I was standing right next to several other people who were trying to eat their dinner. I could tell they weren't appreciative of my presence by them as they ate. I wouldn't be either. Everything on the menu was uniquely named and sounded interesting, but there was no description of what the hell you were getting, or what came with it or anything. When I went back and sat down, my server came back about 5 minutes later. I began to ask some questions, I had never been here before... I lived less than 2 blocks away, this could have been the place I would go to if I had a good experience. I didn't, the server was annoyed with any questions I had, and he didn't even know what he was really doing or much about the menu anyway. I saw the perfect burger on the menu, I figured I couldn't go wrong, it's called the "perfect burger" for crap's sake. I was wrong. It was one of the most unpleasant dining experiences I have ever had, coupled with one of the nastiest burgers I have ever had. The meat had zero flavor, and was actually kind of tough and grainy. I personally don't get what the deal is, as I have seen they are well known and have one titles for having this so called "perfect burger." I don't know, maybe I got the one bad one or something, but I can assure you, I have had a way better burger at several places in the TC that never get mentioned and better service elsewhere. I don't normally blast restaurants about bad experiences, as I am in the industry as well, but it continues to boggle my mind when I see city pages praising this damn burger. I don't get it... Victory 44, which could have been my local staggering distance eatery and watering hole became an eyesore every time I drove by, thinking of my bad experience there. I appreciate that he is going to try to do some things to better the homefront so to speak. I hope that providing your customers with at least the norm of giving them a menu is on his list of to-do's... and maybe the name change to "The Perfect Burger To Some" would be more appropriate, as this was no where near what my idea of what a perfect burger was. I also appreciate that he had chosen to lessen his reponsibilities to focus on an establishment that needs some help. I will give him some time to work on his goals and go back and give them another try, and hope for a better experience next time.

Lisa Arnold
Lisa Arnold

I hope the bring a chef who cooks some vegetarian food to Parka! We need more compassionate dining choices in SE Minneapolis!

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