09 March 2008

Preview of coming attractions: Porter & Frye, the Ivy Hotel, Minneapolis

After Land O'Lakes annual meeting, we stopped in to check out a new luxury hotel and condominium complex – the Ivy Hotel & Residence – and the new restaurant there called Porter & Frye. It looks very promising.

We had a cocktail at the bar while checking out the menus for the restaurant. The bar is very stylish. It’s at street level and looks out on the 2nd Avenue traffic. It almost has the feel of an English pub (and I suppose the name it intended to convey the same comparison). While you can order food in the bar, the main dining room is in the basement level, very similar to the configuration of the lobby bar and lower-level restaurant at the Chambers.

Unlike Chambers Kitchen, which is more open, Porter & Frye has several small nooks and private dining areas.

I thought the lunch and dinner menus looked very promising. Porter & Frye also is open for breakfast, but seemed expensive, even for a high-end hotel.

As we were leaving, we bumped into a couple other Land O'Lakes people who do our company meeting planning. They were getting a tour of the hotel and meeting space, so we tagged along. It was very impressive, but also very expensive. It’s a great addition to downtown Minneapolis.

The Ivy Tower has quite a history. For more than 20 years, it stood derelict – a historic site but too small to restore and renovate and still make any money. So the solution was to preserve the structure but build a gleaming new complex around it. We’ll see how well the concept is accepted in Minneapolis. I’m glad to see it preserved, and I’m looking forward to trying the restaurant. When I do, you will see my opinion here on Krik’s Picks.

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