After more than a year of delays, the Abby Singer, the first restaurant at Pratt-Pullman Yard, quietly opened the same day as the 27-acre development’s first major arts show, Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience. The 1,800-square-foot restaurant serves what co-owner Mike Horn describes as “Midwestern comfort food.”
“We do food that goes well with beer and cocktails,” he says of the spot he hopes will become a Kirkwood neighborhood hangout. “We’re geared towards family-style food, sharing, and stuff like that.”
Business partners Horn and Jeffrey Peterson moved to Atlanta from Minnesota in 2019, planning to open a small restaurant in June 2020. The pandemic derailed their plans. Horn knew Maureen Meulen (who owns Pullman Yard with her husband, Adam Rosenfelt, through their production company, Atomic Entertainment) from art school and saw an opportunity to realize his dream of owning a restaurant after nearly two decades of working in the film industry. He teamed up with Peterson, a North Korea-born chef who worked in a variety of kitchens around the Twin Cities.
The building is thought to have been a 1950s tool shed—it didn’t have plumbing or power—but the team discovered that the roof was historically significant and opted to preserve it rather than tearing it down. They added the necessary infrastructure and streamlined the design to open their doors at the end of May. The eatery’s name is a nod to Horn’s former film industry career, in which the second to last shot of the day was called “the Abby Singer.”
“We are running a very limited menu,” Horn says, noting the challenges of finding staff. “Right now it’s basically just my partner and me, cooking and serving. But that is changing rapidly.” The menu is a simple collection of six items, including a half-pound Juicy Lucy-style hamburger with a molten American cheese center and carmelized onions, a portobello burger with garlic aioli, panko-crusted chicken tenders, and deep-fried cheese curds. There are also limited-run daily specials, announced via Instagram, such as hot chicken sandwiches and cathead biscuits with whipped honey butter. Guests can order takeout or sit at the collection of picnic tables scattered around the building.
The restaurant recently received their liquor license and has added a bar manager to the small team. Seasonal cocktails include a the El Borracho, a watermelon-hibiscus-mint agua fresca spiked with your choice of spirit, the Pemberton Olde Fashioned made with a Coca-Cola reduction, and the Dark & Starry Night, a nod to one of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings.