About Hell’s Kitchen
In the heart of downtown Minneapolis, appropriately located in a beautiful underground space, you’ll discover a chef-owned restaurant known for its damn good food: unique but not fancy, interesting but not fussy. Owners Steve Meyer and Mitch Omer have been award-winning chefs in the Twin Cities for far longer than their patient wives want to admit.
Rather than being “celebrity chefs” with fancy toques and pretentious “vertical” foods, these war horses and their rogue compadres are behind the stove working their asses off to bring you made-from-scratch meals. Almost everything is housemade, including our raved-about peanut butter which we now send throughout the world. Even our bar gets in on the “made-from-scratch” action, offering beautiful Bloody Mary’s, locally crafted beers, and awesome cocktails created with house-infused liquors. No, this isn’t Denny’s with a $2.99 Grand Slam breakfast.
Thankfully, our customers understand “you get what you pay for.” So come to our underground lair and enjoy…it’s a fun place (even kids love us!)…a bit on light-hearted, quirky side, but the emphasis always has been and always will be our damn good food.
P.S. Don’t worry about the name…it’s just how we feel slaving in the hot kitchen while you enjoy your meal…and no, we have nothing to do with Gordon Ramsay’s TV train wreck of the same name…our restaurant was slinging hash years before Ramsay’s show started!
Chef and Co-Owner
When football star Mitch Omer walked off the field in frustration and gave up his full scholarship at Iowa State to the chagrin of his furious father, he was understandably told “don’t come home.” Thus he kept going, past Des Moines, past Minneapolis, and way up into the north woods of Ely to forge a new life. Grabbing the first job offered (and lying about his lack of experience), he started cooking at age 19.
Lucky for him, he was good. “But it was just a job,” he explains, until he met world-renowned chef Jacques Pepin…friend of Julia Child, author of numerous cookbooks, and chef to several French Presidents. Watching Jacques in action “lit me on fire,” says Mitch. “That’s when I realized good cooking combines my love of art and science, and at that point, there was absolutely no stopping me.” Omer then maniacally studied everything about the culinary world he could get his hands on.
Fervently working up to 3 jobs at a time, he gained priceless experience under many great chefs near and far, honing his kitchen skills while trying to balance a crazy home life that included three children, two ex wives, irresponsible drug and alcohol use, subsequent punishments, and (finally) a proper diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder…which thankfully explained his manic-obsessive-depressive behavior.
In his 40’s and finally on an even keel, Omer sold almost all of his possessions (and his new wife Cyn’s house, she kindly reminds him), snatched his longtime “partner in crime” Steve Meyer, and opened Hell’s Kitchen in a tiny shotgun space one block from the current location in downtown Minneapolis.
Chef and Owner
The very last thing Steve Meyer wanted was his own business. Happy as hell to have a good cooking career at several great Twin Cities restaurants, Steve often followed Omer’s lead and worked as his Sous Chef from place to place, sometimes staying on as Executive Chef whenever Omer was fired (often). Then came “the call.” “I’m opening my own restaurant and I want you as a partner,” said Omer, thus luring Meyer one more time into unknown waters. “Steve’s the hardest working line dog in the business,” explained Mitch, “and I wouldn’t do my own place without him.”
So that’s how Steve Meyer ended up as a partner in Hell’s Kitchen. Side-note: when Steve’s sweet-yet-buttoned-down wife Kim heard that Mitch planned to call the place “Hell’s Kitchen,” she sat down and cried. Ah, how time heals all wounds. Kim’s now quite happy as our Business Manager…Cyn (Mitch’s wife who also founded Creative Kidstuff) is CEO, and the two war dogs Mitch and Steve are still cooking and writing cookbooks and keeping the staff laughing and desperately trying not to micro-manage everything in between. It’s a good partnership, well balanced, and yet things still always seem crazy around Mitch and Steve.
Kjersti Granberg (aka “KJ”)
There once was a quiet young host who took so much pride in her job, she kept growing and was promoted again and again and again to Host Supervisor, then Banquet Manager, then Assistant GM and now runs the whole damn place as our beloved General Manager, handling her job with grace, wit, calm and a sparkle in her eye ALL WHILE while juggling a pre-teen AND a new baby!
Don’t let that sweet exterior fool you though…KJ is laser focused on the business side of things while at the same time juggling a million personalities, all the while making sure our guests are well taken care of from the moment they walk through the gates of Hell. Manager@HellsKitchenInc.com
Friends of Hell
The goal of the FishSmart program is to increase the availability of sustainable seafood in the Twin Cities and increase awareness of sustainable seafood issues throughout Minnesota.