MEDIA RELEASE: UMAMI by Travail to Open on West Broadway, Wednesday, September 18

Shaina Brassard
West Broadway Coalition
1011 West Broadway, Suite 202
Minneapolis, MN 55411

For Immediate Release

With the help of West Broadway Coalition, UMAMI by Travail opens as Minnesota’s first extended, full-service pop-up restaurant

Minneapolis, MN. September 12, 2013. The West Broadway Business and Area Coalition (WBC) has partnered with Travail Kitchen and Amusements to bring UMAMI by Travail to West Broadway in North Minneapolis. The Asian comfort food-inspired pop-up, or short term restaurant will seat 45 when it opens September 18th.

With the assistance of a City of Minneapolis Great Streets Business District Support grant, the WBC, a key North Minneapolis business association, is launching a new initiative to highlight the assets and opportunities along West Broadway, the primary business district on the Northside. One aspect of this initiative is the implementation of retail and gallery “pop-up” events as a strategy for highlighting the potential of vacant spaces.

Travail restaurateurs Bob Gerken, Mike Brown, Kale Thorne and James Winberg are enthusiastic about every aspect of this project, from the style of food UMAMI will serve, that restaurant’s groundbreaking status as the first tasting menu and takeout-driven pop-up restaurant in Minnesota, and not least of all the chance to bring this unique concept to North Minneapolis. Travail Kitchen and Amusements first opened in 2010 at 4124 West Broadway in Robbinsdale, only three miles away from UMAMI. The team has experience opening up new restaurant spaces, as this past spring, they replaced their wildly popular restaurant with a pizza place and are in the process of building the second rendition of Travail as well as a new cocktail and micro plates lounge called the Rookery. While construction is underway, UMAMI is the perfect project for the chefs and their team.

UMAMI by Travail has come to fruition on West Broadway because the Travail chefs saw an opportunity in North Minneapolis. Says Mike Brown, “We were happy to find the WBC wanted to collaborate on this space. We’re excited to make food in this community; it’s been a really warm welcome so far.” James Winberg continued, “We’re hoping to invigorate the neighborhood and see if there’s potential to turn this into something long-term.”  According to the City of Minneapolis Department of Community Planning and Economic Development, annually, there is $9.8 million in full service restaurant retail leakage in the West Broadway area.  A full-service, sit down restaurant has been on the top of residents’ wish list as well as that of the 500 Minneapolis Public Schools employees that moved into the Davis Center, MPS’ new headquarters, on West Broadway last summer.

There is a lot of excitement around the pop-up initiative, especially Travail. Erin Jerabek Heelan, WBC Executive Director, explained, “North Minneapolis is home to a host of innovative, creative people, whether they are performing or visual artists, entrepreneurs, or social ‘innerpreneurs.’ We nurture all types of artists here, and we see the culinary artists from Travail as an obvious fit for a pop-up restaurant on West Broadway.”

The WBC’s robust relationship with city agencies is part of what makes the partnership with Travail poised for success. The WBC supports existing and new businesses in various ways, including acting as an intermediary for entrepreneurs during the city licensing and zoning process. Additionally, the WBC utilized its relationships with Sherman Associates, a property management firm, to negotiate a short term lease at the Hawthorne Crossings location that will serve as UMAMI by Travail’s home for six to eight weeks starting September 18th.

Linda Roberts, District Supervisor for Licenses and Consumer Services at the City of Minneapolis, says, “It is exciting to see edgy and cutting edge business development on West Broadway.  This concept is very popular in other parts of the country and will be the first of its kind in Minneapolis…It has been very helpful to have the support and technical assistance from the WBC.  WBC has been a real champion of this development and I hope that it is just the beginning.”

The WBC takes a comprehensive approach to business district revitalization and community development. Its strategies include the West Broadway Façade Improvement Program, a collaborative corridor marketing program, creative-placemaking activities like the West Broadway Farmers Market and FLOW Northside Arts Crawl, as well as direct support of the West Broadway business and nonprofit community. The pop-up restaurant will draw attention to the Northside’s assets, such as available retail space, and showcase its unique, supportive business environment and community. The ultimate goal is to support businesses that create jobs.

Beginning September 13th, diners can make reservations online via Tempo Tickets. Wine and beer will be available to accompany the tasting menu culinary experience. There will also be an a la carte takeout menu. UMAMI by Travail, Wednesday-Saturday, 5-10pm, 904 West Broadway, Minneapolis, MN 55411.


Travail Contact:
Megan Leafblad


The UMAMI team take a break from preparing the restaurant.

Chef Kale Thorne stands next to the ramen machine in the UMAMI kitchen.

The tentative UMAMI menu.