Meet ALMA: The Restaurant, Cafe and Hotel that’s Simply Perfect
PHOTOS BY 2ND TRUTH
Joe and I used to have fun.
Yes, yes, we are still having fun, but it’s different. It requires much more orchestration and patience. We aren’t as spontaneous as we used to be— is probably a better way to frame it. Before baby (and before all this responsibility) we would go to happy hours or long brunches and just talk for hours on end. Debates on the strength of the Blackhawks lineup or whether or not Tilda Swinton is overrated (for the record, she’s not). You know, important stuff.
These days, when we find a moment of silence at the end of the night (and we both are either awake or home) all we talk about is August or work. Both are compelling topics, but I do miss the luxury of having time to bullshit. As new parents, we both know that it’s important to make time to reconnect, but lately, we’ve been opting for sleep over “us time.” Priorities, right?
When we want to remember the days of fewer responsibilities and a lot more sleep, we go to ALMA. It’s where we celebrate our birthdays, anniversaries and the end of long trips away from home. So when this special place announced they were expanding their restaurant to include a cafe and hotel, I anxiously awaited their opening. To be honest, my expectations were high, and after a weekend enjoying the incredible hospitality ALMA has to offer, I walked away even more in love with everything they do. Our team had the opportunity to interview Alex Roberts, Executive Chef, and Owner of ALMA about his vision, philosophy, and design process behind ALMA. It was incredibly inspiring. I hope you enjoy Stefani’s review of the space, and please, when you come to the Twin Cities, make sure you stay with my friends at ALMA. You won’t regret it. – Kate
ALMA is a beautiful Minneapolis restaurant, cafe, and hotel joined together in simple elegance and thoughtful design, decor, and cuisine. The space is a combination of three conjoined buildings, established in 1905, 1920 and 1940. You can really feel the different decades come together as the buildings merge in this effortlessly designed dwelling. The urban worn-in brick lining the corners of the cafe has a timeless feel that takes you back to old Europe. The James Beard Award-Winning Chef and Owner, Alex Roberts had mentioned one of the main design goals of ALMA was to make a person feel as if they were visiting a European cafe. And that is definitely how I felt when I walked into this wonderful American cafe. The space is minimalistic with neutral colors, warm wood accents and small thoughtful character touches of textiles, art, and splashes of paint in all the right places. I love the brass countertops in the cafe, they add a richness to the space’s simplistic tendencies. These small tasteful touches can be found throughout the restaruant, cafe, and hotel. A true juxtaposition of rich and simple tastes that feel fresh, clean and earthy.
After speaking with Alex, it’s clear ALMA is built on quality. Whether it be with food, design or decor. Each ingredient is well thought out and if food can be bought locally, they will do so. “We will always choose quality over anything else,” says Alex. “For example, if a dish goes better with Parmigiano from Italy over locally sourced cheese, we will choose the ingredients that make the food taste the best every time. But we are always finding new ways to source food locally as much as we can.”
Another reason to love ALMA – all the baked goods are made in-house daily. Alex recently found a nearby flour mill (Baker’s Field Flour and Bakery) in NE Minneapolis to provide fresh weekly flour to ALMA’s in-house bakery. This means that their daily baked bread and pastries are twice as fresh because their flour was harvested from local grain and milled earlier that day or week vs. the flour sitting on a shelf for weeks at a time.
ALMA also has a beautiful private dining space in-between the cafe and restaurant that is the perfect cozy corner for that special party you’ve been waiting to throw. During brunch, they open up the entire back dining space into the cafe but at night they block the back room off for intimate dinner gatherings and private parties.
Kate and Joe recently stayed at the ALMA hotel and I heard they had the most magical night. She suggested that I see the space for myself and interview Alex to find out more about the heart and soul behind this beautiful restaurant, cafe and hotel. Alex walked me through the entire space and explained ALMA’s story from its inception and I discovered there are seven rooms total in the upstairs hotel that live above the cafe and restaurant. The rooms are all different and intentionally well thought out. Alex had mentioned some of the finishing touches on the rooms take time as you piece everything together. He said the hotel is a constant work in progress and it reminded me of the way one might decorate a guest room in their home for company to stay in. With carefully thought out furniture, linens and meaningful art pieces that invoke a certain feeling and a sense of culture. I love that every decorative piece at ALMA is collected over time each telling a story and carrying a different meaning or sentiment.
Kate’s stay in the hotel was wonderful and after seeing the room for myself, I believe it! The aesthetic of Room 5 felt similar to the cafe— an airy, fresh and light with softwoods and gorgeous fresh flowers spread throughout.
I also loved all the small meaningful details in the bathrooms, like the oils, mists and fresh sandalwood soap. Kate had mentioned that all of these details made her stay feel so much homier.
Gold and white was the theme in the bathroom, which gave it that spa-like feel that I love.
Painted white wood pressed against original brick from nearly 100 years ago mixes a clean modern design with an old-world feel to create a both new and vintage appeal.
Off of Room 5, there is an adorable patio balcony that is almost large enough to act as a second room. This is the perfect space to drink wine with that special someone while watching the summer stars or read the paper while drinking fresh-squeezed orange juice and enjoying your first cup of morning coffee. Which are just a few of my favorite things!
Kate said her absolute favorite part of her stay at ALMA was the next morning when she awoke and indulged in one last luxury: room service. The fresh coffee and buttery croissants were the perfect send off to her little staycation.
I want to extend a huge ‘Thank you’ to the entire staff at ALMA for pampering the W&D team and letting us into your beautiful space! You stole our hearts with your immense kindness and incredible sense of hospitality; we felt right at home and even made a few new friends during our visit. Cheers to you and your amazing team, you are truly doing everything right.
Stefani Ellenbecker is the Editorial Director at Wit & Delight. When she’s not feverishly editing or writing about style and interiors, she runs her bohemian shop Arden Trading Co. where she sells artisan-made home goods. She lives in Minneapolis with her fiancé Muhamed.