Why We Love Jamie Malone
Jamie's compellingly quirky, crafty and creative. She’s a quiet mastermind who exudes her wry wit and off-kilter ideas through her food and the environment it’s enjoyed in.
“I like to build in contradictions. Trying to contrast old and new, expected, unexpected, masculine, feminine.”
“It’s not about how the food tastes when you eat it, it’s about how you feel. Every experience should be emotional.”
You have a gift for resurrecting restaurants. Why do you think this appeals to you?
The first restaurant I did, Grand Café, was a restaurant for 75 years. A bakery, and foodservice operation. It’s just got a soul. And to me, taking it and making it what I believed it to be was a lot more meaningful from starting from scratch. I connected to the space and it felt really natural. Same with Eastside, I spent a lot of time in the space and thinking about it, and I just felt a connection to it.
Why is the Minneapolis food scene so brilliant?
I think there are components of the Minneapolis food scene that are really special and genuine. We don’t have a lot of big restaurant groups here. It’s mainly people who want to open places they believe in and that they would want to go to themselves. So, we have a good scene in that there’s a lot of love and passion behind almost every restaurant you go to here.
Your creativity comes from contradictions and contrasts. How is your approach to cooking unique in this way?
One of the ways I try to build dichotomy in the food is that at Grand, we tend to cook old-fashioned food but serve it in a modern way. I don’t believe in completely reinventing the wheel, I don’t think that’s always the answer. So, it’s fun to play with different contradictions. At Eastside, the food is quite a bit more modern. We downplay how it looks, but it comes down to the way we serve it. If you order the shellfish, for example, you get nine little plates that hit the lazy Susan on your table in a very specific way. You can order shellfish at most restaurants, but there it hits your table and it is really something unexpected.
Is there a dish that epitomizes Grand Café and one at Eastside?
I think that shellfish epitomizes Eastside really well. Another one is that we serve a whole duck. It comes in all these different components on the lazy Susan, and it’s kind of dramatic really fun. At Grand, I think one dish we do is our pike quail. It’s a super, super old-fashioned recipe. But we modernize it in the technique we use. So, the sauce making and the mousse, there’s tons of refinement, so it’s this really elegant version of something that’s been overlooked for quite a while.
You really like cheeseburgers. What would the Grand Café version of a cheeseburger be?
Yes! We actually just put a cheeseburger on the menu! There’s one now at both restaurants that are listed on the vegetable sides. We do a single patty and we make our own buns here. And then just American cheese, pickles, bacon and mayonnaise.
You said if you weren’t cooking you’d be a yogi or pet dogs. Where do you get to express this in your daily life now?
I really don’t right now. I’ve practiced yoga for about 15 years, so I like to incorporate that in my life a lot. I do have a dog, her name is Eleanor. We go on a lot of hikes. And I do try to carve out time in the week to, you know, just to be quiet. It’s just the opposite of what most of my day is like, which is pretty loud and can be a little chaotic.
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