Talking to manager Jay Peterson and co-owner/chef Peter Ireland about their plans for a new neighborhood restaurant at 50th and Bryant, you can see the excitement in their voices, tinged with a bit of weariness.
"We've been running from place to place today," Peterson told Patch as he let us into the space that will soon be transformed into The Lynn on Bryant.
Its cavernous ceilings, cement floor and exposed steel studs give it the feeling of an aircraft hangar right now. But it's not hard to imagine what the place will look like, split into two dining rooms by a kitchen and paneled with reclaimed barn wood.
"We're hoping to get some wood from the south-facing side of the building," Ireland said. "It's this lovely, bleached-out kind of grey."
With the lighter wood, The Lynn's interior should be a bit of a reflection of the nearby pub. That's partly intentional, Peterson said, and will extend beyond simple furnishings. Like its neighbor, The Lynn will aim to be a "bistro" and a neighborhood gathering place for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
"My training's in French cuisine, but French is a familiar food to a lot of Americans whether they call it 'French' or not" because of our culinary heritage and stars like Julia Child, Ireland said. "I like the idea of a bistro, a cafe—it's really a European diner."
"It's not going to be exotic, not overpriced, and not over portioned," Peterson said. "We want you to be comfortable coming here for dinner or lunch or breakfast twice in one week."
Despite the promised lack of crazy, the co-owners said the food will also have a wide range of options for all tastes and dietary needs.
"For example, I love vegetables," he said. "You ask anyone who has cooked with me about my vegetarian dishes, they'll say they can be the toughest and the most fun to do."
"There are a lot of dietary needs, and the all warrant attention," he added. "We many not be able to accommodate them all, but trying to do so is important."
Another unusual aspect will be The Lynn's layout. The Bryant Avenue side of the restaurant will be a casual, no-reservations dining room, while in the back will be a more grown-up kind of affair for those nights when you want to leave the kids at home.
That front dining room will also be bisected by a large, 8-seat table. Sure, you could bring in a large party, Peterson said, but the table will also help you meet strangers, and wind up sharing a bottle of wine or a cup of coffee with someone you'd never known.
"We hope we can foster some of those 'offline' experiences," Peterson added. "Maybe you come here with your family before everyone goes to work and school, or maybe you meet your book club here."
For now, though, that one item everyone's waiting for—the menu—is still top-secret.
"Plumbing and sheetrock, that's what's on the menu for this month," Peterson said with an enigmatic smile.