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December Business Spotlight: Le Talk French Diner & Drinkery

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After sitting vacant for three years, the East Lake Street landmark, the Talk Town Diner re-opened this past September with a new look and new owners - husband and wife team Emilie Cellai Johnson and Ben Johnson. The pair had been looking for some time for a space to open a casual, French comfort food restaurant. The beloved space located at 2707 East Lake Street in Minneapolis’ Longfellow neighborhood turned out to be just the right fit. After signing the lease in June, they set to work upgrading the kitchen, adding new wood floors, and redoing the bar and dining room. The final touch was to add “Le” to the historic Talk Town Diner sign and invite diners to redefine how they think about French food. 
The welcome has been overwhelmingly positive; from local residents, neighborhood businesses and foodies alike. Emilie says that it’s been very touching and rewarding to hear how happy the community is to see life brought back to the block and the corner. The menu, based on her mother and grandmother’s French and Italian recipes from when she was growing up in Marseille, France, has also received an enthusiastic response. Some of the most popular items are the Steak Frite (steak and fries, a staple in French Cafés), the Corsican Stew (a thick soup featuring a blend of beef and carrots), and the Shrimp Provençale (sautéed shrimp with garlic and tomatoes). For dessert, many of Emilie’s former Saint Paul Farmer’s market patrons remain stead-fast fans of the Tarte Tatin – an upside down caramelized fruit tart.
Both longtime hospitality industry veterans, Emilie and Ben received support from many sources to launch the restaurant. D’Amico and Blue Plate Restaurant groups offered mentoring support. Ben & Emilie were able to secure financing for the project from private, public and nonprofit partners. Western Bank, the City of Minneapolis and WomenVenture all provided small business loans to complete the renovation of this historic venue.
Le Talk Town French Diner & Drinkery just launched their winter menu and a new cocktail in partnership with Kieran Folliard founder of 2GINGERS Irish Whiskey called the Ginger Rouge. They are also currently booking space for holiday parties and special events.  

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Last updated Jan 28, 2015