Andrew Zimmern to Open Chinese-American Restaurant in St. Louis Park
Andrew Zimmern is ready to put a serious stake in the restaurant industry. The Bizarre Foods host has announced that he will be opening a 200-seat restaurant and tiki bar, Lucky Cricket, in St. Louis Park this fall. But the idea, Zimmern told the Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, has been in the works for several years.
"I had a plan to do this five years ago with the team that owned Smashburger—we were going to open two or three at the same time," Zimmern said. When the plan fell through, he says he was "heartbroken." Now, Lucky Cricket is on track to open in Octboer at the Shops at West End.
So how did he decide on a Chinese-American concept?
"Lately Chinese-American food, like Tex Mex or Italian-American food, is sneered at," Zimmern told the Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine "But I just did a documentary about the history of restaurants that’s coming out soon, and in it I explored Chinese-American food. I visited some restaurants that are eighty, ninety, a hundred years old, and talked to people who have been working in them for sixty, even seventy years, and I think some of that food, when done right and paid attention to, is an important part of our history."
If you're worried that bizarre foods will be involved, you can put your fears to rest. Zimmern insists the food will have nothing to do with the dishes he eats on his show.
"It's definitely not a Bizarre Foods restaurant," he said. "My name is not in the name, and it's going to stand alone as a place."
According to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine story, the food will draw influences from Cantonese, Hunanese, Szechuan, Fujianese cooking, as well as "a few representatives from the northwestern Chinese Mongolian border areas, like this Mongolian lamb-belly with chili peppers," Zimmern says.
Can we expect an empire from the Food Network personality? The Star Tribune reports that he is interested in opening other locations of the concept, focusing on the Midwest.
"Now I have to worry about not screwing it up," Zimmern told the Star Tribune. "These are sort of risky steps to take for someone in the TV business, because you wind up being an easy target. Especially when you’re opening a restaurant in your hometown for the first time in a long time."