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Aquavit's Demise


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Aquavit's Demise

K. Gerstenberger | Jun 5, 2003 11:45 AM

What should be learned? Samuelsson's food was art, not the product of biggie sized gut fulls or clever Madison Avenue corporate campaigning. When they landed at IDS they lacked humility. Few will remember the Aquavit clothing and grocery products they rolled out with the expectation that Minneapolis would love them instantly. Minneapolis needed to be romanced, not taken for granted. Hearing that Aquavit's ownership expected heavy patronage from out of town business travelers is the perfect revelation of their lack of respect for the local man on the street. Taking a local diner's palate to a place he'd never been is fine in New York CIty, where there's the bedrock of a full spectrum food community. When you go "far out" in a food town, there's always the prospect of coming back to some good standard high end chow. Minneapolis does not have the critical mass of good eats, where the dining public can build their palates and learn to appreciate the esoteric.

Here's my hindsight, coming from the prespective of an Aquavit fish cook (I was on the opening crew): Skyscraper locations lack warmth - compared to a brownstone. Archetectural companies that have designed coffee stores and never a fine dining restaurant should not be given this kind of business. Get homey, get funky in the style of Lucia not a Gap store. Win the hearts of the community with comfort food ala' Cafe, with bigger portions and simpler flavors. Roll out the high wire food art, once the community has gotten to know you.

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