Redemption

Craig Korvela in his downtown Faribault restaurant, Redemption. After more than a year of anticipation, Redemption is opening this week. (Andrew Deziel/southernminn.com)

After more than a year of anticipation, downtown Faribault’s newest restaurant will open its doors to in-person dining later this week.

The brainchild of local chef and restaurateur Craig Korvela and Northfield businessman Brett Reese, Redemption is the latest restaurant in to open in the historic downtown Faribault warehouse.

Located across the street from the city Post Office, the 1875 structure has served a multitude of purposes over the years. Once a warehouse, a shoe factory and a furniture factory, it has an alluring, elegant charm that has attracted several restaurateurs in recent years. So far, none have managed to make the model stick, though Korvela may have come the closest. More than a decade ago, he operated the popular Monte’s Steakhouse on the site, but was forced to close by aftershocks from the 2000s recession.

Korvela has since opened several popular local venues, including Fielder’s Choice Taproom in Northfield. Now he’s taking a second crack at making the Faribault restaurant work with the backing of Reese, who he’s worked for at Northfield’s Fairfield Inn and Suites.

With Redemption, Korvela aims to offer “quality food at an approachable price.” The restaurant’s menu, which has been on its website — get-redemption.com — for the last several weeks, includes classic entrees like seafood, steaks and chicken prepared over a wood-fired grill. To go with those entrees, the restaurant offers a full menu with 16 signature cocktails.

While Redemption’s offerings may have much in common with those offered by previous building tenants, Korvela is determined to make a clean break from the past. To achieve that, he’s focused his energies over the last year on a top to bottom interior remodel.

Of course, Redemption’s new name is its most direct evocation of the desire for a fresh start. In addition to the “remodel and reboot,” the addition of ample parking next door, where the old Knights of Columbus building once stood, could help Redemption achieve lasting success.

The remodel has left Redemption with a much more open feel than previous restaurants in the building, while highlighting its historic charm. Reese and Korvela have also transformed the upstairs floors of the building into a half-dozen high-end apartments.

Korvela is hoping to open the restaurant slowly, in hopes of giving staff time to get acclimated. In addition, he noted that it’s difficult to serve large numbers of people given COVID-19 related restrictions imposed by Gov. Tim Walz, which still limit his restaurant to 50% capacity.

For now, the restaurant will only be open for dinner from Tuesday through Saturday, with both curbside pickup and takeout an alternative to in-person dining. Korvela indicated that everything goes well, he hopes to add lunch hours within the coming months.

To provide more space for socially distanced dining, Redemption will offer dining on both the main floor and basement levels. In the future, the downstairs space could be home largely to special events, as it has a space designed for musicians to perform.

While the weather has been too cold for outdoor dining to be desirable, Korvela is also in the process of installing a deck. Once it’s complete, he said that up to 50 patrons could be able to enjoy the deck at once.

Demand for Redemption’s offerings has been significant too, even though the restaurant has thus far relied largely on word of mouth promotion. Friday was Redemption’s first day offering takeout, and Korvela said that business was brisk.

“We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback,” Korvela said. “Usually people don’t call after carryout and say that their meal was great … but they have, and it’s been rewarding to hear.”

Reach Reporter Andrew Deziel at 507-333-3129 or follow him on Twitter @FDNandrew. © Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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