A south Minneapolis neighborhood bistro is among 50 named to the New York Times' prestigious "Restaurant List."
The NYT included Petite León on its list of the "50 places in America we're most excited about right now," with NYT food reports and critics revealing their pick of the best America has to offer in 2022.
The restaurant at 38th and Nicollet was first opened in October 2020 by James Beard finalist Chef Jorge Guzmán, who has been in the restaurant business for 24 years.
According to the Times' Brett Anderson:
"The chef Jorge Guzmán was born and raised in the Yucatán, and that region’s cuisine animates a number of his arresting dishes, including al pastor pork collar, charred broccolini with mole verde and ancho chile-black garlic marinated bavette steak with a bright piquillo pepper sauce. The aesthetic here is inventive and comfortingly familiar (yes, there is a Caesar salad and a fancy cheeseburger), and it extends to the cocktails of Travis Serbus, a local bar veteran and Mr. Guzmán’s business partner. They opened Petite León in the fall of 2020, unsure what the future held. What emerged is a sophisticated restaurant as inviting as a corner saloon."
Guzmán said on Instagram he was lost for words when he found out his restaurant had been highlighted in the national media.
"W O W. What an amazing honor to be on @nytimes list of 50 restaurants we're most excited about!! Kinda don't have the words to express how amazing this [is]," he said.
Before opening Petite León, Guzmán was the mastermind behind the acclaimed Brewer's Table at the Surly Destination Brewery in Northeast Minneapolis, for which he was nominated for a James Beard Award.
Surly decided to close the restaurant, despite high praise, in 2017.
Guzmán told Artful Living he struggled for awhile after, trying to find out what's next for him. In September 2018, he reconnected with a chef friend, Ben Rients. Rients asked Guzmán if he would be willing to return to Minneapolis, and a partnership was born.
"This February, I was driving up 38th Street in Minneapolis on my way back to La Crosse and happened to see a For Lease sign in the window at the old Blackbird Cafe. I couldn’t call Ben fast enough. Four months later, our restaurant, Petite León, was underway," Guzmán wrote.
Located in the Kingfield neighborhood at 3800 Nicollet Avenue, the establishment prides itself as a "neighborhood restaurant."
"Everything is made with sustainable, amazing local ingredients, layers of flavor, love and a touch of nostalgia," its website states.
The eatery was honored by Eater Twin Cities last year, naming Petite León "Best New Bar."
The restaurant is open from 5-10 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
Its food menu features snacks such as piquillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese, smoked salmon rillette and oysters; other larger appetizers like the elote salad, crudité and mussels; a few select entrees including birria, striped bass and pollo al carbon; and arroz con leche and tarta de queso for dessert.
The drink menu features some classic cocktails as well as a section called "The Deep Cuts," which has more experimental and uncommon cocktails. Petite León also has a lengthy wine and agave menu.