The new Travail restaurant opens today in Robbinsdale! Otogawa-Anschel had the privilege of designing and building the new space, and last week we headed over to admire both the new building and food as we enjoyed being a guest at the soft opening.

View from outside looking into the front of restaurant

Travail chef Mike Brown talks with Michael Anschel

As eclectic as the menu at Travail, the design elements are equally diverse and ultra Green! From vinyl-free shower curtains lining the ceiling, to kitchen islands made from recycled juice boxes.  The materials are both cutting edge as well as energy efficient and environmentally friendly.  In addition to many recycled building materials, you will find familiar parts of the old travail such as an even larger “hot tub booth” and the endearing yet questionable mega stuffed animals that adorned the previous space.

Giant Dog and ‘mouse and cheese’ lamp.

Although we love the idea of people visiting Travail for the design, we know most people will be drawn there for the food.  The glorious delicious amazing food.  You will not be disappointed.

Rookery Menu

We sat on the Rookery side of the building, a second restaurant with an entirely different menu but housed in the same building and no less phenomenal than Travail. Chef Kale has done a great job inventing a refined set of plates and training his staff to execute with five-star precision.

Chef Kale

Although photos could never do the food justice here are a few of our favorite dishes-


Brussel sprouts



and last but not least Cucumber Ice with crystalized sugar basil leaf!

A new addition to Travail/Rookery are Craft Cocktails, and the boys do not disappoint. Just like the food their creativity extends to the hard stuff and we had a great time trying out some of the standards (an refreshing take on Old Fashioned) as well as one or two unfamiliar concoctions.

Negroni via deconstructed frozen wafer

One of our favorite parts of the new space is the “wiggly bar”.  A curvy stone bar top extending nearly a third of the restaurant. Designed with conversation and people in mind after years of designing residential eat-in kitchens.

Closeup of the wiggly bar

Shaped so that you can stagger your companions along a more organically shaped surface and freely converse with those standing next to and around you. Here Michael Anschel and Rookery chef Bob talk with a guest who raved that she loved the bar because she could nestle into it comfortably.

Michael and Bob

You really need to eat here to appreciate the creativity and richness of the food.  Similarly, there is so much detail throughout the building from the reclaimed wood trim, to the unique colors and textures, and even an old mirror someone had laying around in their house for years made it into the final design.  You really need to see the space in person to feel the warmth and excitement that we hope compliments the superb food and drink.

Otogawa-Anschel team. From left to right- Michael, Janneke, Kandy, Charlie, Jay, Brian, Caleb, Scott.

All of us Otogawa-Anschel Design+Build had a blast creating this revolutionary new space.  We are very proud of the work we did on our first major commercial project.  We want to thank everyone for all the hard work to pull it off and especially the boys at Travail for the opportunity to be a part of such a special and beautiful project.