This week in the Tap: Fulton launches a dedicated food truck for its taproom, and a look ahead at upcoming restaurants in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.
Fulton Beer Starts Up (and Then Parks) Its Own Food Truck
Food trucks are nomads. They come and go freely, changing their location with rapid (and sometimes maddening) frequency. Their fast-moving nature is part of their appeal, but if you’re a brewery taproom depending upon their help to supply the food part of the food-plus-beer combination that customers love so much, you might just want to bank on something more predictable.
Enter the dedicated taproom food truck. Fulton Beer has rehabbed a gorgeous vintage Airstream trailer into a mobile (but taproom-based) Taproom Kitchen, and put veteran chef Scott Pampuch at the helm. Pampuch has rotated through a few high-profile gigs over the past few years, but he’s probably best known as the founding chef of Corner Table, a restaurant that opened strong and never wavered, even after its change in ownership.
Although the Fulton Taproom Kitchen offers a menu that’s casual and accessible (think sausages, pretzels, a charcuterie plate), its sourcing is impeccable. The Kitchen works with partners including Red Table Meats, Tangletown Gardens, Baker’s Field, Johnny Pops, and Lowry Hill Meats, and Pampuch adds house-made touches to everything he serves. We tried a handful of his offerings at Monday’s media preview, held in preparation for this afternoon’s official public debut, and found most of them to be on the money.
The Lonely Brat ($7), for example, had a lovely coarse grind and perfect seasoning, and the pickles (above) in the charcuterie-laden Nosh Plate ($9 for the small) had terrific crunch and a pleasant hint of sweetness. The Downtown Hot Dog from Sentyrz Market ($7) was all beef with a nice snap to the casing. Not too salty, not too greasy. A couple of dishes (the $6 War and Peace Tipsy Pie, the $9 Cheese Wurst) could use improvement, but the menu was on point as a whole.
The menu’s highlight is the Porchetta ($7, top), slow roasted pork loin and crisp pork belly (the latter a Pampuch signature) with fresh arugula, locally grown tomatoes, and juniper aioli on a ciabatta roll. It’s sloppy, it’s juicy, and it’s finger-licking good.
To our knowledge, Fulton is the first area taproom to jump on the natural synergy of taproom and house-owned food truck (although, see Surly, with its in-house beer hall restaurant), but it likely won’t be the last. — James Norton with tasting notes and photos from Brenda Johnson
The Tap is the metro area’s comprehensive restaurant buzz roundup, so if you see a new or newly shuttered restaurant, or anything that’s “coming soon,” email Tap editor James Norton at email@example.com.
- Seventh Street Truck Park, 214 W 7th St, St. Paul | A food hall with a rotating collection of trucks and three separate bars. Our review here.
- Bardo, 222 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | A new “modern American bistro” in the old Rachel’s spot in Northeast, with chef/owner Remy Pettus.
- Tillie’s Farmhouse, 232 Cleveland Ave N, St. Paul | Seasonal cuisine, some of it with a Scandinavian influence, with ingredients from local farms. In the former Trotter’s Cafe.
- Wonders Ice Cream, 298 University Ave W, St. Paul | A shop selling the latest craze (?), rolled ice cream. See also: Sota Hot and Cold at 394 University Ave W.
- Delicata, 1341 Pascal St, St. Paul | A pizzeria and gelateria by Matty O’Reilly, J.D. Fratzke, and Noah Barton.
This post was sponsored by Bite Squad.
Even though restaurant delivery is valuable year round, it’s even more convenient to order in when the weather goes from chilly to downright freezing. Keep things simple, and let Bite Squad bring the food to you, especially during the colder months, when you dread icy roads, sketchy parking, and multiple layers of outerwear.
Whether your meal comes from a fast-food joint or your favorite local steakhouse, it’s important that it arrives fresh, hot, and well-kept. Hopefully, both the restaurant that packs the food and the delivery driver who transports it will help take care of that for you. Bite Squad trains its drivers to follow the most efficient route, use real-time technology that notifies them when your food is ready for pick-up, and always put food in cold or hot bags (depending on the order), so it will arrive as fast and fresh as possible.
If you want your food to show up at home the same as it would were you to dine at the restaurant, try one of these menu items. Although, really, any local restaurant cuisine that you’re in the mood for will be delicious and save you time, effort and hassle.
In Minnesota, chicken is the most popular delivery food. And it makes sense when you consider that it’s offered by most restaurants in one form or another. You can’t get much more crowd-friendly than chicken wings and tenders — the perfect game day food, and totally kid approved.
Think of a poke bowl as “deconstructed sushi” with rice, sushi-grade fish, salty sauces (soy or ponzu for example) and toppings like avocado, seaweed, cucumber, and shallots. While you should consume a poke bowl in a timely fashion (because of the raw fish), it’ll arrive at its freshest, packed securely in a container with a lid and delivered in a cold bag to preserve its chill.
Each Friday, this list will track five of the best things Heavy Table’s writers, editors, and photographers have recently bitten or sipped. Have a suggestion for the Hot Five? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Hot Five is a weekly feature created by the Heavy Table and supported by Shepherd Song Farm.
Jerk Lamb with Coconut Milk Beans and Rice and Banana-Guava Ketchup at Chef Camp
Chef Camp was a veritable avalanche of delicious food, from duck-egg-bedecked brunch pizzas to beef femur marrow on fire-grilled toast, but one of the bites that really stuck with us was a Jamaican-inspired twist on lamb from Shepherd Song. Bay leaves and allspice infused serious earthy flavor into fire-grilled lamb that was then served with coconut-milk beans and rice with sweet, hot banana-guava ketchup for additional flavor.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by James Norton]
The Old Fashioned Shrub at Wesley Andrews
The Old Fashioned Shrub on Wesley Andrews’ seasonal menu is a complex, surprising drink. Iced coffee is combined with a balsamic shrub then given a sturdy piece of orange peel, some bitters, and a bit of demerara sugar to offset all the strong tangs. On the first sip, the balsamic flavor is powerful, but give the drink some time to settle — eventually the orange peel begins to assert itself too. By the time you’re done, you might just be swirling the watery dregs, looking for the last bit of any of the flavors in your cup.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Amy Rea]
The Kingfield Gobbler at Sun Street Breads
If you enjoy leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches, you’ll likely dig the Kingfield Gobbler. There’s really not much too it — just a mound of super juicy pulled turkey, mayo, and veg on a wheat bun. It’s simple comfort food at its best. Pro-tip: Order a side of barbecue sauce to add a little zip.
[Last Week on the Hot Five: #1 | Submitted by Joshua Page]
Jalapeño Cheese Sausages from Clancey’s
Though the spice level of these upscale brats rises barely above a tingle, the chunks of diced green jalapeño add a fresh taste while the cheese brings an indulgent richness to an already rich affair. The casings have a good, crisp snap without any toughness.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from a review by Ted Held]
Ming’s Wings at Dumpling
The friendly ghost of the venerable Chinese-American hole-in-the-wall Ming’s haunts the location’s new incarnation: the hip and modern Dumpling. You can order Ming’s-style wings wet or dry. We went dry and founded these spice-rubbed little darlings to be crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and mild but full flavored. These wings are soft-spoken, but they’re addictive.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by James Norton]
In these dwindling warm days, if you should find yourself thinking “I wish we’d fired up the grill more this summer,“ take heed: It’s not too late! For those of us who have stood over a grill in a parka, it’s really never too late, but the smoke and the sizzling meat pair much better with sunshine and the smell of freshly cut grass than snow and 4:30 p.m. sunsets. So consider this your pep talk, and get to the butcher. Clancey’s Meats & Fish (4307 Upton Ave S) is in our South Minneapolis orbit (along with Everett’s and Finer Meat Co.), and we pass through its door at least a few times a summer.
The brats and Italian sausage are reliably excellent, but this time we grabbed a couple of the “Bandwagon” jalapeño cheese sausages ($11 per pound, about four sausages). We cooked them in a skillet in onions and cheap beer, and then we threw them on the grill over lump charcoal. Though the spice level registered barely above a tingle, the chunks of diced green jalapeño added a fresh taste while the cheese added an indulgent richness to an already rich affair. The casings had a good, crisp snap without any toughness. We also had Clancey’s brats and a couple of high quality smoked cheese brats from the grocery store refrigerator case, and we all agreed that the jalapeño cheese links were the best of the bunch.
Clancey’s is definitely on the higher end of the price scale, as you might guess from their tony Linden Hills address, but their quality and craft justifies the pricing. It’s a small shop, easily bigger behind the counter than in front. Along with steaks, chops, smoked fish, and pickled vegetables, they make sausages for every occasion (breakfast, merguez, Italian sweet and hot), but what’s better for the last days of summer than a jalapeño cheese? It just won’t be the same in January.
Clancey’s Meats and Fish, 4307 Upton Ave S, Minneapolis, 55410; 612.926.0222
This post is sponsored by Nordic Ware.
Founded in 1946, Nordic Ware is a family-owned American manufacturer of an extensive line of quality cookware, bakeware, microwave and grilling products, and specialty kitchenware that is distributed worldwide. The Nordic Ware Factory Store is in St. Louis Park adjacent to the corporate headquarters and factory. The store features first-quality Nordic Ware products, kitchen tools, and accessories as well as Nordic Ware factory closeouts and irregulars. It’s also home to a contemporary demonstration kitchen where twice-monthly evening classes are held. Award winning local chefs, cookbook authors, and experienced cooking instructors teach cooking and baking techniques and sample delicious recipes. Find the class calendar online at https://www.nordicware.com/factory-store.
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New microwave products make weeknight cooking quick and lunch packing easier. Look for the new Steam Cooker, Multi-Boiler™, Bento Soup ’R Mug®, and Bento Box.
If holiday baking is part of your tradition, but you can’t find grandma’s krumkake and rosette irons, you can always find new ones at Nordic Ware.