Chef Christiansen Departs Union to Start New Restaurant

Downtown Minneapolis restaurant Union is losing its top chef, who plans to open his own restaurant at the corner of 27th Street and Lyndale Avenue.

Jim Christiansen is leaving his post as top chef at Union, a relatively new downtown Minneapolis restaurant, in order to launch his own eatery.

Christiansen’s new restaurant will be called Heyday and will be located at 27th Street and Lyndale Avenue, according to Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, a writer and editor at Mpls.St.Paul magazine, Twin Cities Business’ sister publication.

Union opened in November, replacing the long-vacant Shinders space in downtown Minneapolis and receiving attention for its retractable glass roof. It is owned by Kaskaid Hospitality, which operates sushi restaurant chain Crave. Kaskaid CEO Kam Talebi tapped Christiansen to head the restaurant’s kitchen. (Twin Cities Business recently reviewed Union, describing it as “chef-driven dining” with “a point of view that takes some risks.”)

Prior to joining Union, Christiansen ran the kitchen at Il Gatto, the eatery that closed last year after a two-year stint at the former Figlio space in Uptown. He has also worked at other local restaurants, including La Belle Vie, Solera, and Sea Change.

For Heyday, Christiansen is teaming up with veteran La Belle Vie front-of-the-house manager Lorin Zinter, according to Moskowitz Grumdahl. The two have been working on the restaurant’s plans for three years “with a dream of combining approachable, everyday pricing, and finely conveyed flavors,” Zinter told Moskowitz Grumdahl.

The restaurant will occupy the former Sunnyside Up Café, as well as other nearby spaces, and it will have its own parking lot. Zinter said the duo hopes to open the restaurant in December, although that “timing may be adjusted.”