A Minnesota chef credited with pioneering the farm-to-table movement in St. Paul is relocating to Charleston to help overhaul three restaurants jointly owned by Bill Murray and Bill Veeck, according to Minneapolis media reports.
Lenny Russo told Minneapolis Magazine he will serve as corporate director of food and beverage operations for Harold’s Cabin, The Container Bar and Rutledge Cab Co.
The Star Tribune quoted the chef as saying, “It’s just a matter of me taking them to the next level. They have a good foundation. They’re open. They’re operating. I’m not sure they’re as focused as they should be.”
Harold’s Cabin co-owner John Schumacher did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Russo made his name at Heartland, which closed in 2016 after a 14-year run. The restaurant was widely acclaimed for its scrupulous sourcing, at the core of which was a network of 50 sustainable farms. He was six times nominated for a James Beard Foundation regional best chef award while at its helm.
Murray and Veeck got to know Russo in their roles as co-owners of the St. Paul Saints. They offered him a six-month contract to “turn around” their Charleston restaurants; Russo told Minneapolis Magazine that he could foresee turning the six-year-old Rutledge Cab Co. into a franchise once he gets its systems sorted out.
According to the magazine, Russo will start his new job in August.