Tim McKee downplays involvement with Masu, defines role as consultant

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October 11, 2010 // UPDATED 11:10 am - October 14, 2010
By: Gregory J. Scott
Gregory J. Scott
Restaurateur Tim McKee is defining his role in Masu, a new robata sushi restaurant slated to open at 330 E. Hennepin Ave. next spring, as consultant.   

The Journal had reported yesterday that McKee had been planning the restaurant along with marketing and design firm Shea, Inc., and Sushi Avenue, an Eagan-based company that supplies sushi chefs, recipes and ingredients to upscale grocery stores.

But McKee said Masu isn’t really his project — at least not fully.

“It’s actually Sushi Avenue’s restaurant. They’ve never opened a restaurant before, so I’m advising them on how to do it,” he said.

“Basically, how it went was Sushi Avenue had approached David Shea on this project. And they have all the expertise needed to design and get a restaurant started up, but they didn’t have the experience of how to go about the process of opening a restaurant. So David called me to consult with them.”

McKee said that he was not previously familiar with Sushi Avenue.

Stephan Hesse, executive corporate chef for Sushi Avenue, had said that McKee would be helping to shape the menu, as well as having a hand in developing the cocktail offerings at Masu’s bar.

“It’s going to work the same way that he’s done with his other restaurants,” Hesse told The Journal yesterday.

“Yeah, I developed the menu,” McKee said. “And I’ve got some people that I’ll put in place to run it, people with the proper experience.”

He added, “I’m involved.”

So Masu’s food and drinks will be McKee’s creations.  But the actual restaurant wasn’t his original idea.

“But I think it’s going to be an exciting addition to the culinary scene here,” McKee said. He described robata, which is a Japanese-style charcoal grill, as “something that you don’t see too often, especially in this market.”