Tag Archives: Restaurant Opening

Ringo Restaurant

When Chef Ryan Aberle called me almost three months ago to tell me he was heading up a new restaurant, I was pretty excited for him. I worked with him when he was Executive Chef at Northcoast and always appreciated the care and attention he gave my clients. I referred to him as the chef who never says no to a client / customer.

When he introduced me to the owner, Jim Ringo, and told me the concept, I will admit that I had my reservations.

Don’t get me wrong.

I think Chef Aberle is talented. I just thought the concept was extremely ambitious (something I’ve never been accused of!)

At the grand opening party last night, I found myself pleasantly surprised.

Ringo is a restaurant offering cuisine from all over the world. Each month a special menu from a different culinary destination will emerge.

Lucky me, this month is Seoul, South Korea. For those of you who don’t know, I was born in South Korea, adopted when I was three, traveled back to South Korea at the age of 23 to meet my biological father. I fell in love with Korean food as an adult.

And for those of you who do know me, I’m not much of a drinker, but absolutely fell in love with the Cherry Blossom cocktail (off the Korean menu). I made it perfectly clear to both Chef Aberle and Jim Ringo that it must stay on the cocktail menu even after the Korean menu is long gone.

During the grand opening, I absolutely loved the Korean Sweet ‘n Sour Short Ribs (don’t tell on me, but I ate seven of them) and the Lamb Lollipops. The lamb is from Colorado and was so perfectly cooked and tender that I would have eaten more if I hadn’t been so full!

I had lunch at Ringo today and found the Beef in a Stone Pot (known as Dol Sot Bibimbap) had the right flavors and I loved the mixture of texture. Chef Aberle was surprised when I said it reminded me of the Bibimbap my Korean stepmother makes.

My dining companions had Fiery Soy Chicken with Glass Noodles and Spicy Black Cod Stew, which they both enjoyed very much.

With the wide variety on the menu, there are a lot of items to try, so I am hoping that a return trip will be in my near future!

Tom Horgen and Lora Pabst of Star Tribune with Stephanie and Jim Ringo, owners of Ringo

Jars of food ingredients sit on pillar shelves to emulate all of the colors from around the world.

I could not get enough of the beef carpaccio!

My favorite dessert was the Green Tea Ice Cream

Shops at West End (near intersections of Hwy 100 & 394)
5331 W. 16th Street
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Call us at (952) 303-5574 to reserve a table or go to Open Table.

Constant Craving

After opening the wildly successful Crave West End, Kam and Keyvan didn’t rest on their laurels for very long.

So last week, I spent a few days in Orlando doing the grand opening parties for their latest Crave. We repeated the food stations, the Asian Station, the Salad Bar, the Dessert Buffet and Sushi Boat Display (four foot, three foot and two foot). The guests had a great time and were introduced to something they’ve never seen before.

I believe Crave will do well with their just right priced menu and a standard of service that Orlando isn’t used to.

Thanks to Brion Price (for Orlando Style Magazine) for the images.

The Crave Orlando Opening

Opening a restaurant in your own backyard can be stressful. Construction delays. Training. Planning a grand opening. Opening in a city over a thousand miles away can be off-the-charts stressful!

Crave opened its first restaurant out of its home state of Minnesota. The Style Laboratory was lucky enough to be a party of it.

Professional photos are coming soon, but I couldn’t help but share the dessert station.

If you are in Orlando, check out this gorgeous new restaurant at 4156 Conroy Road, right off of Hwy 4 near the Millenia Mall.

Is It Just a Restaurant Opening Part II

Due to my love of food, I have a special place in my heart for restaurants. I’m always the one quietly weeping in the corner when I hear an independently owned restaurant closes, as I know how challenging it is to open and run a restaurant.

When I was approached by Crave to assist them with a Private Preview media / VIP event at their new location, I took a step back to create a proposal that wasn’t quite what they expected.

Often times, we event designer/planners are thought to make “things look pretty” and provide vendor referrals. I just don’t approach corporate events that way. I consider the messaging and the brand.

I asked the question…what is the message you want to send with this event?

The response I heard was “great food, great service” and to be known as being a good “citizen of their community.”

That’s a darn good place to start.

So I came back to them with some challenging questions: 1) How do we create interest from the media now that you’ve opened two other Crave restaurants in the Twin Cities? 2) Why don’t they have stronger messaging about all the support to non-profits they provide (and, seriously, they provide an awful lot)? 3) How do we make this event really different than their other restaurant openings?

First, we broke the back with ridiculously expensive invitations. Printed on clear square acrylic sheets “What Do You Crave?” printed on the top to set the tone for the event. In my opinion, if they didn’t get the press curious, nothing would!

Second, rather than providing entertainment and making the space “look pretty”, I strongly advocated making the food the entertainment and the decor.

We created five food stations: The Asian Station, the Italian Station, the Sushi Station, the Salad Bar (three of their top salads were prepared in martini shakers and served in martini glasses at a bar-height top and bar stools) and the Sweets Table.

Why the stations if that isn’t their normal set-up? Because I wanted to emphasize their large variety of different types of cuisine. However, I did insist that they only serve food that a guest can order off their menu. There is nothing more frustrating during a restaurant opening when some of the items served are only available from their private dining menu.

The guests had a great time and raving comments on both the food and the service.

Guests left the party full and happy with their “Crave Bags”, filled with goodies we all crave: Fred Water, Flackers Snacks, Kind Snacks, Angie’s Kettle Corn, Opulent Vodka, Wine Service Openers from the Timberwolves, CRAVE gift cards and chocolate cookies from the Cookie Cart.

But one of the things I enjoyed the most is their desire to be a great partner to a charity. I suggested working with a non-profit based in St. Louis Park and coincidentally, Sue Zelickson is very involved with Perspectives, which is based in St. Louis Park.

As a result, Crave in the West End is a good neighbor for feeding its neighbors and supporting the city in which they now reside.

Thank you to Richard Tsong of A Picture Wedding for the images.