The “Normandy Residence Hotel” opened in 1925, serving both long term residents and short term guests. The hotel had only 52 guest rooms, a lobby, a ladies parlor, a writing room, a drug store, a grocery store and a dining room. The dining room, which operated as a speakeasy during prohibition, was in the basement.
In 1941, John F. Noble, a local entrepreneur and son of Swedish immigrants, purchased the hotel from the original owner. Noble changed the name to “Hotel Normandy” and began to establish the commercial hotel that Minnesotans and visitors have known for the past 68 years. Noble’s son, Tom, built the Normandy Village and Salon de Musique (a popularfine dining restaurant and piano bar) in 1957, making the Normandy a primary restaurant and banquet destination in Minneapolis.
The Normandy Kitchen opened here in 1941 as “the steakhouse without liquor”. “The Kitchen” was sunny and bright, and the motif was simple. Mrs. Noble decorated the restaurant with antiques and nick-nacks from her trips to the Normandy countryside in France. Noble’s cousin, “Uncle Clarence”, was the chef and helped to establish the Normandy Kitchen as a favored eatery in town.
“The Kitchen” was a popular venue for power breakfasts where the business and political elite of Minneapolis would gather daily to converse and strategize over pancakes and coffee. It was also a top spot for business lunches and Sunday after-church dining.
“The Kitchen” featured a soda fountain and counter with swivel stools, a prominent pie case, wooden booths and a more elegant section called “The Blue Room”. Hallmarks of the Normandy Kitchen menu included comfort foods such as roast turkey, meatloaf, incredible homemade cakes and pies, “The World’s Best Pancakes”, steaming hot popovers and the Henry VIII hamburger -“fit for a King and a gourmand too!”. The hamburger was most closely associated with the all-night diner formerly located on the corner – well known for late night eating and revelry.
The Normandy Kitchen’s timeless tradition of simple goodness and comfort exists yet today in our menu of inspired comfort foods and desserts, all prepared from scratch. Please enjoy our little bit of Minneapolis history, and don’t be a stranger.
Mike Noble - Innkeeper