New Tim McKee restaurant coming to East Hennepin/Northeast

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October 11, 2010 // UPDATED 1:16 pm - October 13, 2010
By: Gregory J. Scott
Gregory J. Scott
Tim McKee — the James Beard Award-winning, superstar chef behind La Belle Vie, Solera, Sea Change and Barrio — is firming up plans to put a new restaurant in the former Let’s Cook space, at 330 E. Hennepin Ave.

And it’s going to be a sushi joint.

Stephan Hesse, newly hired corporate executive chef for Sushi Avenue — an Eagan-based sushi producer that supplies chefs, recipes, fish and sauces to high-end grocery stores and co-ops throughout the country — confirmed today that his company would be working with McKee to concept the new venture, which will be called Masu Sushi & Robata.

Robata is a Japanese-style charcoal grill.

“This will be our first restaurant,” Hesse said. “First of many, we hope.”

McKee, Sushi Avenue and marketing and design firm Shea, Inc. have been working for the past three months to hammer out the details. A lease on the space was signed earlier this week.

Hesse — who you may remember as the guy who opened Uptown’s Tonic, and later Stella’s Fish Café — said that the new restaurant could open by March 2011.

“Tim is going to be helping us just like he does with his other restaurants,” said Hesse. “He’ll probably have a chef in mind that will want to take over the spot with us. So it’s going to work the same way that he’s done with his other restaurants.”

In addition to shaping the menu, McKee will also have a say in drink concepts and interior design.

Preliminary plans for the restaurant show a blueprint calling for an 80-seat dining room and a 36-seat patio along E. Hennepin Ave.

We’ve got calls in to McKee and are excited to learn more details. Stay tuned.