Harry’s Food and Cocktails has a new executive chef. Ryan Stechschulte, 29 years old, took over the kitchen in December, filling a leadership gap that has affected the restaurant since Alex White left last February. White had been the sous chef under Colon Murray, who departed the restaurant in August 2008. Murray had been the sous chef under renowned culinary iconoclast Seven Brown, who departed in the fall of 2007 after opening the restaurant the summer before.
Stechschulte previously spent five years at the Nicollet Island Inn, where he started as a grill cook and worked his way up to sous chef. In May of 2009, he left the Inn to help open Victory 44, a new gastro-pub in North Minneapolis. The Harry’s gig is Stechschulte’s first job as executive chef. His first round of menu changes is set to take place at the end of January.
After Murray left, Harry’s refrained from hiring a replacement right away, Stechschulte said. “They kept their kitchen employees here, they kept their traditional menu and they just let them do their thing. But there wasn’t a lot of leadership there, and consistency started to waver.”
Stechschulte’s first goal as executive chef, then, is to re-establish a culinary identity for the Washington Avenue restaurant. But that doesn’t mean dramatic changes.
“I want to bring the quality and consistency back to what Steven Brown originally started with,” Stechschulte said of his menu strategy. “He’s inspired so many chefs in this town, and he’s done a lot of great work.”
Stechschulte’s started with a few desserts, which have already made their way onto the current menu. And while it may not be traditionally German, the new Fluffernutter sandwich has been an early crowd pleaser. The dessert is a bite-sized sandwich, with housemade red skin peanut butter and housemade marshmallows squeezed between a few slices of buttered Texas toast. It comes with a scoop of Sebastian Joe’s malted vanilla ice cream, which is dusted in milled peanut brittle.
Upscale pen store closes in the IDS
Barry Rubin has announced the closure of Ink, a specialty pen store that he opened on the 45th floor of the IDS Center. Rubin, the former chairman of Ardea Beverage Co, opened the store in late 2006 as an attempt to make a business out of his lifelong fascination with rare and limited edition pens.
Ink’s pens range in cost from $18 for a run-of-the-mill note jotter to around $50,000 for the store’s crown jewel, a Mont Blanc encrusted with diamonds and rubies in the shape of an American flag.
Rubin acknowledged that Ink’s perceived exclusivity also hurt business, a strategic misstep that he takes full responsibility for. The shop was on the 45th floor of IDS. Shopping there required a special appointment with Rubin himself. “There was this perception of a store where you had to spend a lot of money, which wasn’t true.” Ink also suffered a loss of corporate business, Rubin said, when companies cut back on buying gifts for managers and retiring board members.
A major sale has begun, with heavy discounts on pens, some going as low as $10 each. Rubin says the sale will last until all inventory has been sold. He will man the store from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–noon and 1 p.m.–4 p.m. He still has 18 months on his lease in the IDS Center.
New Holiday station store opens near Target Field
A new Holiday station store opened Jan. 7 at 601 N. 5th St., less than a block from Target Field, the new Twins baseball stadium.
The same Mankato limestone that was used in the ballpark’s façade has been incorporated into the store’s construction, providing a thematic link between the two.
The gas station also has a carwash.