Now, local celeb chef Andrew Zimmern has made it official: He'll open a Chinese restaurant/tiki bar called Lucky Cricket in St. Louis Park later this year.
Poke through Zimmern's website, and you'll note the guy's a real Chinese food fanatic. He goes to Szechuan Spice on Lyndale Avenue weekly. Were he forced to eat just one meal in Minneapolis, it would be Shuang Cheng's steamed walleye.
So it's no surprise that he tells the Strib: “I’m obsessed with Chinese food and culture. It’s food that I adore above all others.” Given that the TV personality is the host of food-meets-travel shows like Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations and Driven by Food, we'd say he's something of an expert in global fare.
Lucky Cricket is a collab between his aptly named Passport Hospitality and Michael McDermott, who's behind local spots like Randle's and Rojo Mexican Grill. Zimmern tells the Strib folks should expect "fun, authentic Chinese food into a modernized restaurant format,” shouting out the dearly departed Nankin as a source of inspiration. Think noodle and dumpling dishes served up in a sharable, small-plate style, along with Chinese barbecue. The tiki bar? That's being supervised by Dean Hurst, a Florida-based cocktail star.
The restaurant could open in in the Shops at West End (1607 West End Blvd.) by October, and it sounds like the St. Louis Park location might not be the only one. Zimmern says the business model is a scalable one, and more Lucky Crickets could be on their way.