Little Brother: New Vibe, Refreshed Menu

Little Brother co-owner Alex Tripp creates desserts for the rebranded restaurant, including Donut Pie (left) and Sticky Toffee Pudding (right).

Writer: Karla Walsh

On my first visit after RC’s Diner reopened as Little Brother, several of the evening menu items remained the same. (Thank goodness, because those ultra-savory, roast turkey-topped Disco Fries were the ultimate antidote for a frigid Thursday evening.) But the vibe was totally transformed, as was the flip side of the menu that featured breakfast recipes.

“The goal is to help everyone return to that romantic, whimsical feeling of the nostalgia of childhood and simpler times and the little joys that enchant us as children. Little Brother is inspired by our children and family and the feeling of home,” co-owner Alex Tripp says of the makeover of the dining room.

(Specifically, the walls are now adorned with yellow stripes reminiscent of rays of sunshine and vibrant, rainbow-hued blocks.)

Simon Goheen, owner of Simon’s, and his team from that restaurant were involved with the daytime action at RC’s Diner from opening day last July through December, and now Little Brother is solely owned by Alex and Joe Tripp.

“We were spending more and more time daydreaming about running breakfast and keeping the place open all day to serve the demand for lunch. Doing so wasn’t really possible while operating two completely separate operations that switched out midday,” Alex says. “It was a difficult and admittedly confusing concept to execute to the standards we all held for ourselves.”

The name is a nod to the “C” in RC’s diner, the Tripps’ son Clayton, who is the youngest of their trio (joined by siblings Layla and Zephyr).

The restaurant itself is also a Little Brother to Harbinger, where Joe Tripp is chef, “because while we hold Little Brother to the same standards—commitment to local sourcing and making as much as possible in house from scratch—it’s more playful, youthful, fun and laid back,” Alex says.

As she has since day one, Alex is still acing the desserts, and the original dinner chef, Mackenzie Schultz, is running the show in the evening. Joe tapped former Alba co-worker Jared Sullivan (who has since been in Chicago working at Michelin-starred restaurants) to direct the brunch kitchen. Alex’s dad, Cory Benson, a Des Moines restaurant industry fixture for about 30 years, is the general manager.

As far as the menu fine-tuning goes, “we really have our hearts and souls in every recipe,” Alex says. Expect her and Joe’s family favorites, including Alex’s great grandma’s meatloaf recipe, latkes Joe sizzles up for the family every Hanukkah, and Alex’s signature Christmas morning cinnamon rolls.

Little Brother, 6587 University Ave. in Windsor Heights,
is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Learn more and see the menu at littlebrotherdsm.com, and follow @littlebrotherdsm on Instagram for menu sneak peeks, specials and more.

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