Investors in jP American
Bistro take their payback
in food and drink
Minneapolis attorney Bill Kampf has dined at jP American Bistro six or seven times already this year, yet he never has to pay the tab. That’s because he arranged creative financing for the new restaurant in south Minneapolis, owned by local celebrity chef J.P. Samuelson.
Kampf convinced about 10 of his colleagues to guarantee a loan for jP’s. In return, they receive 10 percent of the amount they guaranteed per year in dining room credits, until the loan is paid off. "If you’re an investor, you go there and eat until your credit is used up,” Kampf says. “We encourage people to pay the tip with cash.”
Kampf says it’s the first time he’s arranged such a deal for a restaurant. “Of course I’ve done all kinds of deals with fees for guaranteeing loans.” So far, he likes the arrangement.
“The restaurant part is doing well,” Kampf says. “The bar business is doing way better than we thought.” Kampf says the plain dining room at jP’s is by design: It cost about $800,000, rather than the $4 million buildouts at some of the new, fancy steakhouses around town.
He’s aware of high-profile restaurant failures in the Twin Cities recently, such as Rock Star, Dish, Brasserie Zinc, Aquavit. “A lot of them are my clients,” he says. But he thinks neighborhood restaurants are doing well. “Everyone recognizes their risk,” says Kampf about his fellow loan guantors. “But there are two things: One is location, and second is the chef. He’s a well-known chef.
Bill Kampf, Kampf & Associates: 612.339.0522; firstname.lastname@example.org