Foster returns to San Pedro Café with new partner
Hudson restaurateur Pete Foster is once again a managing partner of the San Pedro Cafe in downtown Hudson.
This time, Foster has teamed with Michael Goodman, the former chef and general manager of a popular downtown St. Paul restaurant. Together, they'll operate the Caribbean-themed restaurant at 426 Second St. that Foster opened with Robert Wasmund in March of 2000.
Goodman, as the executive chef, will work to restore pizzazz to a menu that the partners say had grown a little tired. Goodman's wife, Barbara, is in charge of bringing what he calls "wow" service to the café - as in, "Wow, that's the best service I've ever had."
After closing briefly for renovations, primarily to the basement office and storage area, the cafe will reopen Thursday under the new management.
Foster and Goodman formed Wis/Minn Hospitality Co. last August with the idea of buying a restaurant along the St. Croix River to operate. Both enjoy boating on the river with their families, and felt it could use a restaurant with a more urban style of service and cuisine.
When Wasmund decided to leave the restaurant business, the partners jumped at the opportunity to take over San Pedro Cafe.
Foster was Wasmund's partner in Barker's Bar & Grill when they purchased the former Mr. T's Bar and gutted the space, reopening it as San Pedro Cafe. Two years later they parted company, with Foster taking full ownership of Barker's and Wasmund getting San Pedro Cafe.
Foster and Goodman became acquainted during Foster's visits to the Pazzaluna Urban Italian Restaurant, where he would frequently dine when he was in St. Paul for a Minnesota Wild hockey game.
Foster's real estate agent wife, Laura, sold the Goodmans a house when they decided to relocate to Hudson two and a half years ago.
"I knew how talented Michael is, and I was impressed with the way he operated Pazzaluna, so it was fortunate for me to be able to hook up with him and Barbara," Foster says.
Goodman says he is going to bring the same attention to detail and emphasis on the quality of products to San Pedro Cafe that are hallmarks of Pazzaluna.
While the cafe will continue to feature Caribbean cuisine, Goodman says he will use the same approach in its preparation as he did in preparing Italian dishes.
"To me, authentic Italian is a state of mind," he says. "It's how you prepare things. It's attention to detail and the quality of the raw product before you even touch it. You have to get the best product you can possibly get, and then you don't over-complicate it."
He says he'll make use of the fresh products Wisconsin and Minnesota are known for - walleye, wild rice, beef, pork, locally grown vegetables and dairy products.
"Everything is going to be fresh as far as the seafood goes. The grouper's fresh. The snapper's fresh. The tuna's fresh. The steaks are certified Angus beef. It's really a quality difference. You've got to start with the best ingredients possible."
About half of the menu is new, he said, while the local favorites remain.
Kid stew - goat stewed with carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, tomatoes and veal stock, and finished with an herb dumpling and horseradish foam - is one of the new offerings, priced at $12.
Barbara Goodman notes that while the menu is receiving an upgrade, the prices are the same or lower.
To check out the menu and learn more about the cafe, go online to www.sanpedrocafe.com.
Randy Hanson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.