Twin Cities restaurant a Kickstarter phenomenon


One of the Twin Cities' most buzzed-about restaurants is having no trouble raising money for an expansion – the hip eatery Travail has raised more than $170,000 and counting in just two days on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter. In just six hours, it reached its goal of netting $75,000 in a month.

The Robbinsdale restaurant opened three years ago, and has won rave reviews from the likes of the James Beard Foundation and Bon Appetit. The chefs specialize in artistically designed cuisine, but served in a boisterous, beer-chugging atmosphere.

Now the restaurant's founders aim to move three blocks to open what amounts to two restaurants in one building, Travail and The Rookery, which will offer "chef-driven cocktails and micro plates ranging from $2 to $20."

But they needed cash for the expansion, so they turned to Kickstarter, to immediate success seldom seen for a new eatery.

Food writer, TV personality and Edina resident Andrew Zimmern in a blog post says Travail's smashing success on Kickstarter represents a "sea change in terms of how local restaurants get funded." The celebrity chef adds, "To me, these types of projects have democratized entrepreneurship (obvi!), allowing customers to help push dollars to restaurants they believe in."

Here's a look inside the restaurant, produced by American Hipster:

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