Chef and restaurant owner Chris Ikeda said preparing to flip Savage’s former Perkins restaurant into his own place is a bit of a full-circle moment.
Ikeda’s father, a Perkins franchise owner, built the Savage and Lakeville restaurants, and it’s where Ikeda grew up washing dishes and learning the basics of a commercial kitchen before setting out to build a culinary career of his own.
Ikeda opened the Minneapolis Lake & Irving restaurant in the heart of Uptown in 2013. He is currently serving meals curbside out of the former Perkins while he fine-tunes his plans to open a new restaurant there this fall.
“It’s a challenging time, especially for restaurateurs, but we’re charging ahead and we’re hoping for a fall open,” he said.
The new restaurant won’t be called Lake & Irving — it’ll be a new concept, with the same style of service. While he isn’t revealing too many details about the new place yet, elements of Hawaiian regional cuisine can be expected on the menu, he said.
After graduating from Lakeville High School in 2001, Ikeda attended The Culinary Institute of America in New York, where he discovered a passion for Asian cuisine.
He later moved to Hawaii and began an apprenticeship with world-renowned chef Alan Wong at the Four Seasons Hualalai Resort.
Wong is a co-inventor of Hawaiian regional cuisine, which is best known for — but not limited to — its use of fresh island produce, tropical fruits and seafood.
“There’s really no bounds with that cuisine, it’s literally a melting pot of cultures,” Ikeda said.
The unique cuisine grabbed him, he said, and he’s been running with it ever since alongside his wife, Erica, who he met during his eight years working at the resort.
Menu items will be “elevated,” but not altogether unfamiliar, Ideka said, adding burgers, chicken sandwiches, short ribs and Hawaiian-style fried rice will likely appear on the menu.
“The idea is that we keep it approachable,” he said.