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News and Noteworthy Around the Twin Cities

Tim McKee has made the switch from running kitchens to supplying them. The acclaimed Minneapolis chef, who closed his La Belle Vie restaurant in October 2015 and who since 2011 was VP of culinary development for Parasole, joined St. Louis Park wholesale seafood supplier The Fish Guys as senior vice president of development.  

“I’m aligning myself with a company who shares my commitment to integrity, sustainability and innovation, and look forward to the opportunity to share my passion by sourcing the highest quality products to more people,” said McKee in a statement.

Anderson Witherell is another new addition to The Fish Guys team. In his role as director of marketing, he will focus on creating awareness of sustainable initiatives and communications with chefs and retail partners throughout the U.S. Witherell was most recently in sales and marketing for Vancouver-based Skuna Bay Salmon.  


D’Amico & Partners has a new team in place at its Campiello restaurant in Eden Prairie. Ben Perhai was promoted to chef, Joe Mickelson takes over as sous chef and Matt Bolles is the new general manager. Longtime employee Chrissy Jensen was also recently promoted to dining room manager. 

Perhai has worked in all three D’Amico divisions: catering, limited-service restaurants and full-service restaurants. He received his culinary arts degree at Hennepin Technical College and began his tenure with D’Amico. He transitioned to the full-service restaurant division in 2010 when Parma 8200 opened in Bloomington and in 2012 he was promoted to sous chef at D’Amico Kitchen, the restaurant in Le Meridien Chambers hotel in Minneapolis. Perhai moved over to Campiello after D’Amico Kitchen closed in 2013.

Mickelson, who received his associate’s degree from Le Cordon Bleu, worked at several D’Amico restaurants and at The Paddy Shack in St. Paul and Il Foro in Minneapolis before coming to Campiello.

Bolles got his start as a server working his way through college at the University of Minnesota. Before Campiello, he helped open and manage Victor’s on Water in Excelsior.


AmeriPride Services announced the promotion of Andrew Steiner to senior vice president of Canadian operations. The fourth-generation family owner of the Minnetonka-based company will oversee the company’s Canadian production and service operations, including 35 production facilities and service centers. AmeriPride provides linen and towels, uniforms, floor mats, restroom and cleaning products to customers—including foodservice—through rental and purchase programs.

Steiner has been with AmeriPride since 2001 in various marketing, sales, service and technology roles, most recently as vice president of marketing and customer operations where he was responsible for online and traditional marketing, customer experience, product management and digital strategy. Over the past decade he has supervised many high-profile projects for the company, including fleet upgrades and its alternative fuel vehicle initiative, as well as several industry-leading digital advancements.

Andrew Steiner’s great-grandfather Frank founded the company in 1889 and his grandfather George and father Robin were both involved the company. Prior to joining the company in 2001, Steiner was the founder and owner of Blue Link Innovations Inc. He replaces Naiem Nairouz, who retired at the end of 2016.

Minneapolis-based Vader and Landgraf recently became the newest member of the Paradigm alliance, a group of firms that offer a more strategic way for foodservice equipment manufacturers to go to market.

“We are extremely excited to be part of the Paradigm alliance. Working together with such reputable firms will allow us all to take our businesses to the next level, becoming even more instrumental to our manufacturers and the foodservice industry as a whole,” said Dennis McGuire, principal of Vader and Landgraf.

Since 1960, Vader and Landgraf has represented leading manufacturers of foodservice equipment throughout the Upper Midwest. “We are looking forward to building upon our already strong legacy of excellence, and feel that this partnership will play a big role in our growth, setting us up well for future successes,” said Paul Slack, principal of Vader and Landgraf. “To be part of the scope and scale that Paradigm offers gives us an added advantage in delivering the total customer experience.”

Other Paradigm members include Kain McArthur, Preferred Marketing Group, The Redstone Group and Zink Foodservice. 

Coffee Talk

Z&H Hospitality, the Minneapolis company behind Agra Culture Kitchen and Press and Yogurt Lab, is converting four of its Yogurt Lab locations to its newest concept, SotaRol. The first SotaRol, a fast-casual sushi restaurant, opened in 2015 and CEO Aaron Switz wants to expand that brand. Another Agra Culture restaurant will open in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood this spring.


After Shag Sushi, and then Rojo Mexican Grill, didn’t last at 730 N. Washington Ave., JUN is the next restaurant to take the North Loop Minneapolis space. Mother-and-son owners Jessie and Jack Wong, who also own Szechuan in Roseville, opened the Chinese restaurant in January with a menu of wok-fired dishes, hand-pulled noodles and Shandong-style dumplings.


It’s the same name but new ownership for Grand Café in Minneapolis’ Kingfield neighborhood. The restaurant closed in February after 10 years under Dan and Mary Hunter. After a quick remodel, the new owners (still undisclosed) are reopening March 1.


Bunny’s Bar and Grill, a longtime suburban St. Louis Park favorite, opened a second location in the former Community Keg House space in northeast Minneapolis. Community Keg House closed last summer.


After a quick concept change, what was Third Bird on Loring Park is now Bearcat Bar. Still owned by Kim Bartmann, the new spot takes a more casual approach with a new menu from culinary director Nick O’Leary. Also new: arcade games and TVs.


Closures: With its lease up in July, The Strip Club Meat and Fish will close after 10 years in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood of St. Paul. Co-owners J.D. Fratzke and Tim Niver opted not to renew the lease and instead are pursuing other projects. Niver also owns Saint Dinette (Fratzke is also a part owner) and Mucci’s in St. Paul, while Fratzke continues to work with Republic owner Matty O’Reilly in Minneapolis. 

Taste of Love Bakery owner Marie Philippi closed her locations in West St. Paul and on Marshall Avenue in St. Paul at the end of February. In a Facebook post Philippi said the business hasn’t been able to turn a profit and continued to accumulate startup debt. She’s looking to rent out both storefronts, as each lease run until October 2018. 

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