When news first arrived back in June that James Beard honoree Jorge Guzmán was destined to open Petite León mid-pandemic, the plan he first announced was as enticing as it was drool-worthy.
“We want to weave ourselves into the fabric of the community and give its residents a place that brings people together for delicious, carefully crafted meals,” Guzmán said of the Kingfield restaurant that was but a glimmer in his eye at the time.
Now, after months of offering glimpses into their steady progress via social media, Guzmán and co-owner Travis Serbus finally invite the public to partake in their new concept -- two concepts, actually -- on October 30.
Petite León’s first guests should expect that though the former Blackbird space at 38th and Nicollet has been fully revamped to reflect Guzmán's initial vision, the low-light, sexy cafe-style ambiance touted in June’s salad days (if such a thing can be said of 2020 with a straight face) have been back-burnered as a dine-in option, at least for a bit.
“The current circumstances of the world around us have caused us to adapt, but our passion for our restaurant has never waned,” the relentless and pragmatic Guzmán explains. “With the continuing effects of COVID, safety concerns, and government regulations, we had to shift our original service model to thoughtfully accommodate diners and staff. Above all else, we are committed to sharing our vision with our guests, as safely as possible.”
In that vision, Petite León will stick to takeout service during its first phase of opening. The opening menu was dual-tailored to work well for carry-out, while featuring dishes rich in flavors from Mexican, Spanish, American, and French cuisines, all of which have played an influential role in the chef’s path to this moment. Guests may order each Wednesday through Sunday, from 4:30 to 9 p.m.
Then, beginning in December, the restaurant will expand its offerings to begin hosting a monthly dinner party series. The intimate, reservation-only soirees promise a first glimpse at the restaurant’s full dinner service, while offering an opportunity for guest collaborations and themed events.
Bolstering Petite León’s fare throughout will be Serbus’s expert beer and wine selections, as well as a specialty brew from Dual Citizen Brewing Company.
And for those among us who've been following Guzmán's plans that predate Petite León? Pollo Pollo al Carbon has been added to the roster at the new Kingfield joint as a second concept, ghost kitchen-style. Guzman’s adored pop-up concept will be slinging family-style meals of hankeringly good adobo-rubbed chicken al carbon with salsas and tortillas from Nixta.
That’s a heckuva lot to look forward to! Pardon, we might need to sit down. We forgot what this feels like…