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Chef Vincent Francoual Joins Irish Pub Group as Culinary Director

Chef Vincent Francoual (right) is joining CEO Peter Killen at Cara Irish Pubs as culinary director.

While he’s closing his restaurant at the end of the month, Vincent Francoual isn’t leaving the kitchen—he’s just getting into someone else’s.  

Francoual, the chef/owner of fine dining Vincent in downtown Minneapolis, will join Cara Irish Pubs as culinary director, a role that will take him inside the kitchens at Twin Cites spots such as The Local, Kieran’s, The Liffey and Cooper.

Friends for years, Francoual and Cara CEO Peter Killen developed the chef’s role over time.

“This is 14 months in the making,” said Killen in a statement. “We are committed to providing our guests the best pub experience and have always been serious about the food we serve. Having Vincent join our team strengthens that focus and commitment. Our food sales continue to grow and having Vincent set new standards for elevated pub food will only accelerate that growth.”

Francoual’s role will have him working with each venue, starting at Cooper in St. Louis Park in January. He’ll guide menu direction and work on refining each location’s pub classics.

“Peter and his team are passionate about creating a great guest experience, which is why Cara is an attractive company to work for,” said Francoual in a statement. “Chefs need to respect food no matter what he or she is cooking. Foie gras or burger, lobster or shrimp, the same care and attention must be made. Cara already does a great job with food, so I want to lead and inspire to get to the next level of great.”

In other restaurant news this week …

After 26 years, Origami is calling it quits at its North Loop location in Minneapolis. Proprietor Kiminobu Ichikawa has plans to sell the Market Hotel Building at 30 N. First St. where the sushi restaurant has been for almost three decades. While the original location’s last day is December 23, Origami’s sister location in Uptown will remain open.

In a website announcement, Origami noted Ichikawa “changed the landscape of sushi in the Twin Cities area, in large part by recruiting highly-skilled Japanese chefs, and applying his can-do attitude to build the restaurant and a superior service experience that became the model that many other sushi restaurant followed.”

December 14 is the last day of business for Loring Kitchen & Bar. The six-year-old restaurant across from Minneapolis’ Loring Park cited falling sales as the main reason for its closure.

Franklin Street Bakery is turning its full attention to the wholesale bread business. Co-owners Wayne Kostroski and Mark Haugen will close their retail coffee and pastry shop (1020 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis) on Friday, December 4.

“Our continued focus on high quality artisan breads has attributed to the growing success of our wholesale bread business, requiring both additional space and work force,” the owners said in a statement. “As grateful as we are for this growth, it has become necessary for us to make the difficult decision to close the retail store and repurpose the space for packaging more delicious bread.”

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