Petite León will partially open this Friday, October 30th and run its menu simultaneously alongside the pop-up Pollo Pollo al Carbon. The anxiously awaited restaurant will solely offer takeout to start in the previous Blackbird Café space from industry heavy-hitters Jorge Guzmán, Travis Serbus, Dan Manosack, and Ben Rients. The men have newly formed Duck Soup Hospitality. Whether the company’s name inspires comical visuals of the 1933 Marx Brothers film or a steaming bowl of luxurious broth, it is impossible to forget.
The elegant neighborhood spot nestled on the corner of 38th Street and Nicollet Avenue will open as Petite León, a European-influenced eatery, and Pollo Pollo al Carbon, Guzmán’s Yucatán inspired pop-up.
Jorge Guzman will lead both the Petite León and Pollo Pollo al Carbon kitchens The Restaurant Project/Jorge Guzman
Petite León’s menu has been slightly tweaked from the original plan to make it more takeout friendly, but will still utilize diverse Mexican, Spanish, American, and French influences.
From 4:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, a limited amount of whole and half chicken family-style portions alongside tortillas made by local tortilleria Nixta will be offered on Pollo Pollo’s menu. Other supplemental offerings like spiced almonds, salsa macha, and horchata ice cream.
Petite León’s menu will offer dishes like albondigas, linguica, and le petite cheeseburger. Vegetarians will delight in the roasted beets with pilpelchuma, labna, macadamia nuts, and quinoa and bright elote salad. All can be ordered online.
Chef Rhett Roberts who worked alongside Guzmán at Brewer’s Table, where Guzman was nominated for a James Beard Award, will be in the kitchen. The front-of-house team will consist of other industry veterans, including co-owner Serbus, who made his name as the head of the beloved bar program at Lyn65. Serbus opened Lyn65 alongside owner chef/Rients.
Since restaurants are still unable to sell pre-made cocktails per Minnesota law, Petite León hopes to offer a mix of nonalcoholic drinks and cocktail kits in the near future.
In the meantime, a collaboration beer with St. Paul’s Dual Citizen Brewery is canned and ready to sell. Le Petite Biere is a 4% abv table beer brewed with local Pilsner malt from Maltwerks. The hops chosen were selected specifically for their white wine grape-like aromas. It is effervescent with great minerality and a dry finish. Served both at Petite León and Dual Citizen’s brewery, this food friendly and sessional brew.
Starting in December, a monthly Dinner Party series will provide a sneak peek into the dark, sexy space guests will soon be able to enjoy. These themed ticketed dinners will showcase Petite León’s menu as intended. The dinners will be five-course prixe fixe for $75.
In months leading up to open, Guzmán has been vocal about how he wants to look after his staff and in doing so is changing the connotations around what it means to be a career server. Servers are being offered benefits such as equity and a retirement plan. This is a large step in a positive direction. There is an emphasis on what hospitality is that Guzmán applies to how he wishes to not only treat guests, but also his staff.
This year had made it apparent that restaurants and restaurant workers play a massive role in the economy and hold a sacred place in our community. In uncharted territory such as this, restaurant and bar owners are having to be more inventive and flexible with how to execute their visions to safely adapt. Ordering takeout from Petite León and Pollo Pollo al Carbon, two new places that want to both provide excellent food and do so as safely as possible, is a bit of good news we’ve all been craving.
For more information visit the website to order Wednesday through Sunday, 4:30 to 9 p.m at 3800 Nicollet Avenue.