Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 11, 2013.

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We have a vision for eating nirvana and we need your help to build it. #PrevailTravail

Who are we?

We are James Winberg, Bob Gerken, Mike Brown, and Kale Thome. We love cooking, experimenting, playing, dreaming, and moonlit walks on the beach. 

We opened Travail three years ago with $2,000 in the bank and a purpose—to make fine dining food interactive, approachable, affordable, and a lot of fun. We’ve worked under extraordinary chefs in amazing restaurants. They helped us fall in love with food, with eating, with creating the perfect bite. But most of these restaurants were out of reach for people like us, our friends, and our families. They were too hard to get into, too expensive, too intimidating. When we opened Travail, we created an inviting space where our progressive culinary experience was accessible to anyone who wanted it. 

Lamb, Braised and Glazed
Lamb, Braised and Glazed

We had no idea what to expect, we just knew this was our dream job. Over time, our customers became our friends, we got to collaborate with an amazing team of cooks, and national media started taking notice (see Accolades/Press below).

So what’s our new vision of nirvana? 

We want to progress the Travail concept even further. We will continue with the things we are known for—HACKING fine dining, our attention to detail, and artistically designed cuisine produced and served by our incomparable chefs. The music will still be bumpin’, there will still be shenanigans, the tables will still be first-come first-served, and if you want to throw down in a beer-chugging contest, you will most likely be destroyed by one of us. But, we want to push the boundaries further than we ever have with flavors, textures, plating, and serving. We also want to create an interactive connection with our diners through new table-side techniques–constantly evolving, progressing, and challenging ourselves.

Fluke with Hearts of Palm
Fluke with Hearts of Palm

But you had a restaurant… why couldn’t you do that stuff in your old space? 

As Travail grew, we realized our environment was a constraint. Our customers were looking for two different experiences (the-coursed-out-tasting-menu experience vs. the-beer-and-bar-food experience) and we couldn’t do both perfectly in one space. So we decided to risk everything and build a new location three doors down the street in Robbinsdale with  two restaurant concepts, Travail and The Rookery, in one building:
 
The new Travail will offer only tasting menus, and diners need only come with an open mind to allow the chefs to take them on a stimulating culinary journey. It will be a multi-hour, multi-sensory experience for food adventurers. 

The Rookery will offer chef-driven cocktails and micro plates ranging from $2 to $20. It will be a great place for those who want to pick through a variety of unique options at their leisure while enjoying a bar atmosphere equipped with a full-service cocktail program and games. 

Creating two concepts within one building will help us refine our process, predict wait times, eliminate 4-hour lines, and give more people a chance to try our food. (If these two fun options don’t tickle your fancy, then check out that pizza joint down the street… we hear it’s great.)

Why do you need the money? 

Over the last few months we’ve made progress—the old building has come down, the foundation walls are poured, and the new building will be up before we know it. We need your help to furnish the kitchen with all of the bells and whistles it takes for us to relentlessly push food boundaries and the dining experience. We aren’t opening the new Travail and The Rookery to repeat history, but rather to create history, and we want you to be the catalyst of our creative freedom.

Crawdad Salad with Burrata and tableside Bisque
Crawdad Salad with Burrata and tableside Bisque

Rewards

This Kickstarter campaign allows us to offer up a bunch of cool rewards throughout the year that wouldn’t otherwise be available, such as: 

  • Passes to jump the line in 2014 (in other words, reservations at a place that doesn’t do reservations)
  • A cooking class taught by James, Mike, Bob and Kale (students also receive a signature blue Travail apron) 
  • Tickets for dinner at our special soft opening in December (where we will plow you with food)
  • Invitations to our official Prevailed Party next summer (a reunion you'll never forget)
  • And last but definitely not least, our fascinating 2014 Sexy Chef Calendar (just in time for the holidays, it’s the gift that keeps on giving all year round) 

See all of our pledge levels in the right column for details on these and other rewards. 

Thank You.

The original Travail was magic because we had the freedom to do it our way. With your help, we can re-open with the same freedom and even more magic.  

In order to have the Travail you have all come to know and love, we must maintain this freedom. We would not be here today without our support group—you, the guest, a fellow Travailian. 

Guest Review
Guest Review
Please help us open this restaurant and keep our vision intact. Please consider supporting this project. Please spread the word. And thank you for all you have done so far. 

SEE YOU IN DECEMBER!

Accolades/Press 

Eater’s 40 Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings Fall 2013 

Young Guns 2013: Mike Brown 

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Best Chef: Midwest, Semi-finalists 2012 & 2013 

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The Best New Restaurants in America, 2011 

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 Travail - American Hipster Presents #43 (Minneapolis - Food)

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Video Music by Blue Blazer

#PrevailTravail

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Freedom is a gift. We would prefer to have accountability owed to those who inspire, support and share our vision, rather than allow an unforgiving outside influence into our creative and decision-making process. Getting a private investor is against everything we stand for—we don’t want to compromise the food we serve, the crazy things we do, or how many seats we have to include in our space. We don’t want to overextend our chefs or pay them less money. We believe in frugality and efficiency—we just don’t want to sell out to achieve it.

Our goal is to reopen in December 2013, but any construction project is subject to delays. Everyone who backs this project will receive updates on the progress of our new building and photos of Travail and The Rookery coming together, making you the first to know all the latest news about our highly-anticipated return.

FAQ

  • "Jumping the line" actually refers to having reservations at a place that doesn’t do reservations. Again, your sensational response has created a GREAT problem for us to solve—how to handle reservations at a place that doesn’t do reservations! Our plan is to create a system that allows you to book one of three set reservation times per night (this number may change or grow, but is an example). We will ask you to book a minimum of a week in advance and try to keep the group size between 1-6. There will be a system set-up so that everyone gets a fair shot at all of the reservations!

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  • FAMILY WALL: More like the family wall, floor, ceiling, and every inch of the new space! There have been some questions about including a partner’s name or providing a different name for the wall. At the end of the Kickstarter campaign, we will send a survey through Kickstarter to every backer. You will be able to enter a name or names there. Because of your crazy love we will probably have a limit on number of names/letters per contribution, like two people or you could say the Johnson family, etc.

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  • FOOD: “I’m a vegetarian, I have food allergies,” etc. We always try to accommodate everyone and your food needs should not deter you from joining us for a meal! We will figure out a way to connect with concerned individuals at the conclusion of the campaign.

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  • SOFT OPENING: Timing for the soft opening is obviously very connected to building construction. The walls have gone up on the building and we are hoping the roof gets installed in the next week! But there is still lots and lots to do. We will continue to update you via kickstarter and email on the progress, but the general time frame we are shooting for is 2 weeks between mid-December and January. Again, there will be a way for folks to register for their seat to get “plowed” with our Travail and Rookery food. We will open tickets/reservations on a first come first served basis, so keeping it fair for everyone.

    At this time we won't be accommodating additional non-kickstarter folks for the soft opening. We just have so many wonderful backers that we don't want to cut your experience short and sell additional tickets to the soft opening. If you are unable to attend we will try to work with you to transfer your seat to a friend/family, but ask that you don't resell your seat either.

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  • PREVAILED PARTY: The plan here is to celebrate a successful half-year of Travail and The Rookery with an epic gathering before our summer break in July. All of you Travailans will join us in a location TBD to eat, drink, and cheer the prevailing. Again we will be in contact via email to keep you in the loop.

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1,090
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  • Pledge $10 or more
    You selected

    120 backers

    FAMILY MEMBER: Thanks for supporting us! As one of our awesome backers, your name will be inscribed on our Family Wall inside the new Travail.

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  • Pledge $35 or more
    You selected

    28 backers

    SOCIALITE: You never miss a good shindig, so you'll receive one spot at our official Prevailed Party hosted by James, Mike, Bob and Kale + your name inscribed on our Family Wall inside the new Travail.

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  • Pledge $50 or more
    You selected

    247 backers

    ART AFICIONADO: You obviously appreciate the finer things, so you'll receive our irresistible 2014 Travail Sexy Chef Calendar (makes a great holiday gift!) + your name on our Family Wall + TWO spots at our Prevailed Party.



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  • Pledge $100 or more
    You selected

    152 backers

    TREND SETTER: You like to be first, so you’ll receive one ticket for dinner during the new Travail’s special soft opening (meal included, but not alcohol—Kickstarter's rules, not ours) + your name on our Family Wall + two spots at our Prevailed Party + our spectacular 2014 Travail Sexy Chef Calendar.



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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    382 backers

    ABOVE THE LINE: You don’t like waiting, so you’ll get to jump the line TWICE in 2014! That’s two separate reservations at a place that doesn’t do reservations + your name on our Family Wall + two spots at our Prevailed Party + our tempting 2014 Travail Sexy Chef Calendar + two tickets for dinner during the new Travail’s special soft opening (meal included, but not alcohol—Kickstarter's rules, not ours).

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    100 backers All gone!

    STAR APPRENTICE: Adult education is a wonderful thing (especially when you can eat your homework), so you’ll get TWO spots in a cooking class taught by James, Mike, Bob, and Kale (these will be scheduled on Sundays in 2014) + TWO signature blue Travail aprons (school uniform) + your name on our Family Wall + two spots at our Prevailed Party + our enchanting 2014 Travail Sexy Chef Calendar + two tickets for dinner during the new Travail’s special soft opening (meal included, but not alcohol—Kickstarter's rules, not ours) + TWO chances to jump the line in 2014



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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    44 backers

    VIP: You enjoy being the center of attention, so you’ll get dinner for SIX at our big new Kitchen Table (meal included, but not alcohol—Kickstarter's rules, not ours) + your name on our Family Wall + SIX spots at our Prevailed Party + our phenomenal 2014 Travail Sexy Chef Calendar + two tickets for dinner during the new Travail’s special soft opening (again, meal included, but not alcohol) + FOUR chances to jump the line in 2014.

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  • Pledge $5,000 or more
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    1 backer

    BALLER: You don’t do lines, we get that, so you’ll get a FULL YEAR of jumping the line in 2014 + your name on our Family Wall + six spots at our Prevailed Party + our volcanic 2014 Travail Sexy Chef Calendar + two tickets for dinner during the new Travail’s special soft opening (meal included, but not alcohol—Kickstarter's rules, not ours) + TWO dinners for six at our big new Kitchen Table (again, meal included, but not alcohol).

 What the heck, we are throwing in TWO SPOTS at our cooking class and we dress you up with blue Travail aprons too!

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  • Pledge $10,000 or more
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    3 backers

    TRAVAILIAN ROYALTY: La Di Da Di, you get a PRIVATE PARTY at Travail for up to 40 people on a Sunday, Monday, during July, or over our holiday break when we are closed to the public (all food, tip, and tax included, but not alcohol—Kickstarter's rules, not ours) + your name on our Family Wall + six spots at our Prevailed Party + our fierce 2014 Travail Sexy Chef Calendar + two tickets for dinner during the new Travail’s special soft opening (again, meal included, but not alcohol).

 We suppose you want access to the cooking classes too, so sure we will get you two blue Travail aprons and 2 spots in the class!

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Funding period

- (30 days)