Minneapolis, October 31, 2016—Chef Doug Flicker has added key talents from the Twin Cities restaurant industry to his team at Esker Grove, the new restaurant in the Walker Art Center. Mixologist Jon Olson, Chef de Cuisine T.J. Rawitzer, and General Manager Kim Tong have joined Flicker at the HGA-designed venue opening in December.
Jon Olson is one of the most respected mixologists in the Twin Cities. His career has taken him behind some of the hottest bars and restaurants in Minneapolis including La Belle Vie, Ice House, and Bradstreet Crafthouse. He is the winner of the 2015 local Iron Bartender competition. His knowledge has also proven invaluable as he has helped launch new bar programs at some of the most buzzed about restaurants in the area. Additionally, he co-founded TRUEpenny with his friend from La Belle Vie, Adam Gorski. TRUEpenny hosts pop-up bar experiences around the Twin Cities.
Olson’s Esker Grove cocktails will highlight traditional recipes paired alongside contemporary interpretations of these cocktail mainstays. Inspired by boisterous Parisian cafés with a splash of New Orleans class, these cocktails connect visuals with flavors and education with imagination. An example is Olson’s Champagne Cocktail pairing:
Traditional Champagne Cocktail
Sparkling wine, sugar-cube, Angostura original bitters w/ lemon twist
Contemporary Champagne Cocktail
Sparkling wine, sugar-cube, Peychaud’s barrel-aged bitters w/ blossom water
Also joining the Esker Grove staff is Chef de Cuisine T.J. Rawitzer who brings a broad range of experience from his stints in some of the area’s top restaurants including D’Amico Cucina, Sea Change, La Belle Vie, and the University Club. Recently he has overseen the culinary operations of Masu Sushi and all nine kitchens of Kim Bartmann’s restaurant group.
He also worked on the kitchen staff of Flicker’s beloved first restaurant, Auriga, just up the street from the Walker. He has a strong connection to nature and enjoys bee keeping, gardening, and he keeping chickens with his wife, Sarah, and their three young daughters.
Esker Grove’s General Manager, Kim Tong, has worked at Masu Sushi & Robata, Solera, Town Talk Diner, and Five Restaurant & Street Lounge in addition to Flicker’s much-lauded Piccolo.
A contemporary and sophisticated casual restaurant, Esker Grove is sure to become a favorite destination in Minneapolis for lunch, dinner, and Saturday and Sunday brunch. The menu offers seasonal, organically motivated dishes created by Chef Doug Flicker of Sandcastle and Piccolo that are inspired by local farmers’ harvests and regional cheese artisans and protein purveyors.
Esker Grove will feature a modern, but unfussy, approach to vegetable and grain-focused cooking using classic techniques. The restaurant will offer craft beer, crafted cocktails, and a tightly focused coffee menu featuring Spyhouse roasted coffee.
Esker Grove features wooden floors, expansive skylights, a cozy bar, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and the downtown skyline. Savor a craft beer or cocktail with your meal in the 94-seat dining room or the shady 60-seat patio. An outside stairway takes visitors from the new front door to the restaurant’s green roof, connecting with a series of accessible pathways that wind up the hillside through the trees and sculptures. Esker Grove is conveniently and centrally located near the new Vineland entry, Bazinet Garden Lobby, and parking ramp.
Esker Grove Winter/Spring 2016-2017 Hours:
T 11-2 (Lunch) 2-5 (Midday) 5-9 (Dinner)
W 11-2 (Lunch) 2-5 (Midday) 5-9 (Dinner)
TH 11-2 (Lunch) 2-5 (Midday) 5-9 (Dinner)
F 11-2 (Lunch) 2-5 (Midday) 5-10 (Dinner)
S 10-2:30 (Brunch) 2:30-5 (Midday) 5-10 (Dinner)
SU 10-2:30 (Brunch) 2:30-5 (Midday) 5-9 (Dinner)