Behind Fhima’s New “Faces”
Rob Nelson isn’t a silent partner among the three who own and operate the new Faces restaurant in downtown St. Paul, but he’s a low-profile guiding hand. He doesn’t have the celebrity or creative talents of restaurateur David Fhima or interior designer Billy Beson, but Nelson became a friend and informal advisor to Fhima several years ago, as the overextended chef was being pulled down by three struggling operations: Fhima’s, Louis XIII, and LoTo.
Now Nelson, a private wealth advisor for Ameriprise, is guiding a conservative approach at Faces, which opened in late June in the former LoTo space. The buildout: a creative re-use of much that LoTo had in place. The menu: “comfort food, classic American food that people tend to enjoy,” Nelson says. Most importantly, he says, no solo management. Fhima is freed up to focus on the kitchen and the dining room.