Aparium Hotel Group welcomed Grae Nonas as executive chef of the forthcoming restaurant Tullibee at the Hewing Hotel in Minneapolis’ vibrant North Loop neighborhood. Nonas, a 2015 Food & Wine Best New Chef, 2016 James Beard Rising Star Chef finalist (semifinalist 2015), will oversee all food and beverage functions at one of the year’s most highly anticipated restaurant and hotel openings. Tullibee is the latest expression of Aparium Hotel Group, a dynamic company that builds restaurants from the neighborhood up, conceiving each one as an original opportunity to showcase its local collaborations and serve as a central social anchor for the community.
“I’ve always considered myself to be a Viking,” Nonas says. “My family has Norwegian roots, and I feel right at home.”
In moving to Minneapolis, Nonas chose one of the country’s most dynamic new dining scenes. The chef recently opened the acclaimed restaurant Olamaie in Austin before deciding to uproot his life in Texas for the opportunity to immerse himself in a new city, to dig deeper into the flavor profiles and techniques of Scandinavian tradition, and to bring a fresh and forward thinking hand to the land of 10,000 lakes.
“I always feel the most comfortable where I feel the most challenged. And I do now. Nordic cooking has always been in my heart, and the chance to grow that fascination at Tullibee and Hewing Hotel in proximity to such amazing product is exhilarating,” Nonas adds.
In their decision to partner with Nonas, Aparium Hotel Group made a conscious decision to grow and establish Nonas as chef entrepreneur. The company recognized his tremendous future in American dining and sought to develop that talent further as part of its commitment to chef mentorship. For Nonas and Aparium, it is a relationship that begins with empowerment and the tremendous chance to helm several different culinary and business operations under one roof.
With a focus on hyper-local sourcing and partnerships with regional farmers, freshwater fisherman, and key local vendors, Tullibee pays tribute to Minneapolis’s Nordic culinary and cultural roots by drawing inspiration from its greatest assets: woods and lakes. The name “Tullibee” comes from one of the Minnesota’s rarest fish found in the state’s lakes.
Drawing inspiration from the same rural practices that have long rooted Minneapolis’ culinary traditions, Nonas will embrace foraging, butchery, and fermentation to showcase a full range of game and offal as well as a rotating market-driven “chalkboard” of off-cuts. Nonas will look to create dishes driven by seasonality, hearty vegetables, and sharable fish and meat dishes, served from the restaurant’s wood-burning grill and oven.
The dedicated beverage program highlights timeless cocktails while allowing for modern interpretation from the team. Cocktails will reflect the spirit of the Upper Midwest, pairing with the Nordic roots of the food offerings.
“As I expected, the Minneapolis scene has been so welcoming to me. It’s an enormous opportunity to belong to a region that is so proud of its heritage as well as where it’s going. I hope one day to be a part of both,” Nonas says.
Hewing Hotel and Tullibee are slated to open later this fall.