Friday, July 11, 2014

Brandon Baltzley's TMIP shuttered—for now

Posted By on 07.11.14 at 10:03 AM

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  • Brandon Baltzley

On Wednesday, I linked to Sarah Freeman's account at Zagat of dinner at TMIP in Michigan City, Indiana, the farm-to-table-on-an-actual-farm restaurant started by Brandon Baltzley, the much-written-about chef best known in Chicago for some abortive stints at dying restaurants (Mado, Pensiero). Or for being written about so much, really (and in my own case, caught on video).

Just a day later, TMIP ran into a major snag in the form of the big orange shutdown sticker from the local Health Department, which Baltzley posted on Instagram. Contacted by e-mail this morning he said, "The county gave us the go ahead to do this as a pop up to raise funds to get up to code. The health dept took offense and shut us down. We are scrambling. We put everything in to this. We're not giving up, but if we don't raise the funds in two months time we are screwed. Everyone here is devastated. It's come down to small town politics. They said if we give away free food I'll go to jail. We're looking for a legal course of action. I don't know what else to say." A few moments later he added, "I've decided to refuse all money and open up for free tonight. Not gonna let this bullshit stop us."

TMIP offers the prospect of Baltzley finally being better known for his food than his bad-boy-chef image, and based on Freeman's piece and what I heard from someone who attended a friends-and-family dinner, it sounded promising, suggesting that he was past the molecular phase visible in his Key Ingredient video and making food that was rooted in the farm he and his cooks are working, as well as in the traditions of the restaurant's "native American food" concept. Here's hoping that this is resolved quickly and that TMIP, which Baltzley's been working on for two years, is able to reopen soon.

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