“We have all the new patio furniture,” said chef Dennis Leaf-Smith. The restaurant at 222 East Hennepin Avenue has long been home to some fabulous outdoor summer eating, but right now, it’s in the middle of a transition. Leaf-Smith along with hospitality expert Kim Tong are transforming the recently vacant building into All Saints. The new restaurant expects to be open before State Fair time this year.
Leaf-Smith and Tong first met at Esker Grove, the Walker Art Center’s restaurant. The duo enjoyed working together and soon got to doing that thing that industry folks are prone to do, dreaming up how they would run their own restaurant. This is their first chance at ownership and when the restaurant location, that was last Bardo, became available.
“We started planning early pandemic,” said Leaf-Smith, “And started looking last year. We talked bout what areas of the city we’d like to be in and what level of dining is missing in that neighborhood. We centered in on Northeast pretty quickly. There’s been a ton of change in this area.” And that got them excited about possibilities.
But first, the stunning art deco building is getting a bit of a makeover. The bar, that has long interrupted the entry to the dining room will move against the patio wall, allowing bar seats to watch the action outside.
Behind that bar will be Scott Weller, who Tong worked with during her time at Parlour. Weller’s drinks will be a mix of classic cocktails, a bit lighter and fresher to fit the season.
In the kitchen, Leaf-Smith will be putting up a tight menu with dishes that will be just as suited to a date night as they will be to a casual post-work hang. “There will several small plates and sharable sized portions — dishes for the neighborhood to fall in love with,” said Leaf-Smith. Vegetables will get a starring role and the chef, who has also worked at 112 Eatery and Eastside, will make great use of the wood fire grill.
The historic restaurant location has held several eateries, including Rachel’s, Bobino, and more before Bardo. All were known for making great use of the expansive outdoor dining space as well as the art-deco designed interior. The name All Saints is a nod to all that came before them at this address.
Construction is moving right along and all signs point towards an August opening.