For years, it seemed the story of Barnes & Noble was coming to an end.
Yet, with what seemed to be its final chapter on the horizon, the bookstore wrote a surprising twist by matching up a classic pair – reading and dining.
According to Fortune Magazine, in summer of 2016 Barnes and Noble announced it would begin building new concept stores that would feature cafes.
Four were planned: two outside of New York City, one outside of Sacramento and one in Edina, Minn.
So, amid skepticism, The Galleria began its remodel of Barnes & Nobel last summer.
Then, amid anticipation, in November it reopened introduced customers to the latest chapter in the book store’s series, The Barnes and Noble Kitchen.
Lead by Chef Sheamus Feeley, a consultant hired to develop the concept, the menu features whole food cooked with skilled technique.
Much of the menu comes from Feeley’s experience in a multiple-generation farm family.
Dishes use tender cuts of beef and chicken, whole grains, crisp vegetables and fresh dairy.
Its food he loves to cook and eat.
“Great ingredients plus great technique yields great results. It’s that simple,” Feeley said.
Simple and great it is.
Starting with breakfast.
Guests can pick from three dishes, lemon-ricotta pancakes, a breakfast burrito or avocado toast.
Beautiful, crusty bread from Rustica Bakery serves as the base for the toast, and is topped with fluffy scrambled eggs and smooth mashed avocados.
Rustica Bakery also provides bread for the burrata – a take on a caprese salad.
Tomato confit and a large ball of fresh mozzarella cheese sit on top of a pistou sauce, served with crusty French bread.
However, nowhere is Feeley’s dedication to simple, fresh ingredients seen more than in his hummus plate appetizer. A colorful collection of cauliflower varietals, bright carrots and crispy wafers surround a center of tahini based hummus.
Salty, citrusy and light, the creamy hummus paired with the crunchy vegetables, or wafer, creates the perfect bite.
Feeley’s dedication to fresh, bright ingredients is also seen in the chopped vegetable salad. A bouquet of vegetables and herbs, paired with beets, feta and a medium boiled egg are finished off with a delicate green goddess dressing.
For the heartier diner, another dish where Feeley’s background shines, is the brick-cooked chicken.
A thin, but juicy chicken breast cooked in tarragon butter and watercress, sits atop a luscious potato puree. It’s a dish that will keep diners warm even during the coldest of Minnesota winters.
But perhaps the star of the menu is the brisket burger.
Following trend, it is a burger in its purest form: A beef patty, made from 80 percent chuck, is topped with cheddar cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato and Dijonnaise and sits on a brioche bun.
No egg, no bacon, no added flair. Just a single patty, cheddar and bun.
The only twist – it’s not served with fries.
Instead, Feeley pairs it with a side of crispy potatoes. Which he described as “the best fry on the outside and the best baked potato on the inside.”
Large chunks of potato with a crispy outside, and warm inside, are topped with Parmesan cheese and a touch of sea salt.
The perfect savory bite for the rich, juicy burger.
Other dishes on the menu range from grilled cheese to macaroni and cheese to meatballs to salmon, but all are cooked in café style – with authenticity in ingredients and technique.
The café also features a variety of local craft beer and large wine selection.
Barnes & Noble Kitchen is located inside the Galleria, at 3230 Galleria. For more information, or to see the menu, visit Barnes and Noble – The Kitchen online.