Aki’s Bread Haus, Lyn 65 and More

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Readers: Win The Secret Atlas of North Coast Food

The Tap loves restaurant tips from readers, so we’re awarding a copy of The Secret Atlas of North Coast Food to the best tipster of January and February. 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 editor@heavytable.com.

Lyn 65 Kitchen and Bar (opens March 2014)
6439 Lyndale Ave, Richfield, MN

Richfield residents had better brace themselves: Lyn 65 Kitchen & Bar is aiming high. Chef / Owner Ben Rients hails from Restaurant Alma and the inspiration for his bar food with a global perspective is a recent tour of Europe. Bouncing from Asian street food joints in Dublin to a Japanese noodle shop in London to restaurants in Tuscany, he was inspired to execute an eclectic concept made coherent through its methods.

“It’ll be casual, but everything will be made from scratch every single day,” says Rients. “My cooking’s going to be seasonal, ingredient-driven, and the menu’s going to change all the time.”

The menu will range from traditional Italian pizzas made from sour dough (when the dough runs out each night, so do the pizzas), to-scratch ramen Thursdays (even the noodles will be housemade), to fish fry Fridays, prime rib specials, and a small rotating menu of more intricate dishes.  A longer-term goal, he adds, is hosting a pop-up restaurant once a month on a Monday night — one seating of 25 people dining on high-end, highly creative fare.

The key to making a wide-ranging menu work, according Rients (who cites 112 Eatery as an example of how it can work): “It comes down to being as authentic as you possibly can. That’s something I’ve learned from Alma — you can recreate flavors, but if you want to be better, be as authentic as you can.”

Rients credits Restaurant Alma in particular (and the current reigning wave of master chefs more generally) for the opportunity he has with Lyn 65. Their cooking, he says, has changed the food culture for the better.

“I always attribute the change [in local restaurant culture] to Alex [Roberts], Isaac [Becker], and Tim [McKee],” says Rients. “They opened up kitchens and started training young cooks how to cook. So over the last decade or so, there’s been a trickle-down effect. There are a ton of really talented young people right now who know how to cook, and we want to do our own thing, we want to open our own spaces … It’s like Spain in the ’90s.”

We asked him about Travail, another restaurant helmed by young chefs that set out to make a splash outside of the twin hearts of Minneapolis and St. Paul. “If you can learn anything from them, it’s that if you’re doing things well, it doesn’t matter what your location is — people are going to respond to you.”

Even if there are chain restaurants on every corner?

“You can go to some of these chain, corporate places and I’m always confused as to why they’re busy — you know the food is coming from a bag, so they can serve the exact same product at thousands of locations around the country,” he says.

“In the city center, we’ve almost gotten rid of all the chains because there are so many young people opening their own places. Maybe we can keep pushing the chains out and out and out and just have a wonderful local food scene. We already have in a way.”

Courtesy Aki's Bread Haus

Courtesy Aki’s Bread Haus

Aki’s Bread Haus (opens late February)
2506 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis

Joachim “Aki” Berndt was trained and worked as an architect, but he’s no slouch in the baking department. “I’ve been baking for at least 25 years,” says Berndt. “I baked for Lenten meals at church. People asked me about my bread, and after a while people asked me why don’t I sell it?”

He started taking his breads to farmers markets in 2009, and, from there, he took the next logical step: a bricks and mortar location. Aki’s Bread Haus is set to open in Northeast Minneapolis in late February, and it’ll bring crusty German bread, strudel, sandwiches, and more to its customers.

All bread, of course, is not created equal. Berndt contrasts his offerings with what you might get at a typical supermarket. “First of all, my bread is fresh,” he says. “When you go to the supermarket, it’s usually not fresh. I do hearty, crusty bread — and I do a lot of breads with rye. I don’t use a lot of sweeteners … most of my breads don’t have any sweeteners at all.”

He adds: “My 100 percent rye bread is organic rye and I add sunflower seeds. People when they look at it at first they’re scared, but as soon as I sample the bread, it’s flying off the table.”

His killer app may not be bread at all: Berndt swears by his pretzels. “My pretzels are very popular. I don’t know — it’s a pretty simple recipe, but when my daughter’s at a sport event and I bring pretzels, they are inhaled. People attack me for them!”

The Bread Haus is serendipitously located next to the soon-to-open Fair State Brewing Cooperative and its taproom, and he says the two business will collaborate; Fair State will bring the beer, he’ll bring the pretzels and dip, and other “stuff that pairs with beer.”

When Aki’s Bread Haus opens, it’ll have three tables — just enough to grab a pastry, a pretzel, and a cup of coffee before hitting the road with a loaf or two under your arm.

Kate N.G. Sommers/Heavy Table

Kate N.G. Sommers/Heavy Table

Tracy’s Saloon and Eatery (reopening Feb. 15)
2207 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis

A planned cosmetic renovation of Tracy’s in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis ran into unexpected structural challenges that have stretched both the time and money involved in the project. A press release from the restaurant notes: “This project has been a strain for everyone involved at Tracy’s. Our employees did not have work, the ownership was dealing with a ballooning project cost, and our loyal customers had to find alternate options. But all these challenges have made us even more excited about being able to re-open and serve our customers again. We will continue to strive to be Seward’s neighborhood tavern, providing restaurant-quality food and service.”

We lauded Tracy’s on an MPR segment about the Seward neighborhood’s vibrant food scene.

NOW OPEN

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

CLOSED / CLOSING:

  • Tracy’s Saloon and Eatery | Closed for renovation, reopening Feb. 15.
  • La Chaya Bistro, 4537 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis
  • Serlin’s Cafe, 1124 Payne Ave, St. Paul
  • Sahara, 408 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis (now Baarakallah Restaurant, different ownership)
  • Sally’s Saloon and Eatery, 712 Washington Ave SE | Closed for remodeling until summer 2014.
  • Buster’s on 28th, 4204 S 28th Ave, Minneapolis | Temporary closure due to fire.

COMING UP:

Minneapolis

  • Aki’s Bread Haus, 2506 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis
  • Hen House, 114 S 8th St (old Peter’s Grill location), Minneapolis | February 2014
  • Bent Arrow, 5416 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Kyatchi, 3758 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Little Szechuan Stadium Village, 304 Oak St SE, Minneapolis
  • Lyn 65 Kitchen and Bar, 6439 Lyndale Ave, Richfield
  • Mango Sushi and Desserts, 233 Cedar Ave | 2013
  • The Triton, 1610 Harmon Pl, Minneapolis
  • Betty Danger’s Country Club, 2519 Marshall St, Minneapolis | Early Spring 2014
  • Russell and Desta Klein projects: Brasserie Zentral, Cafe Zentral, Foreign Legion wine bar, wine shop to be named, Soo Line Building | 2014
  • Heyday, 2702 Lyndale Ave, Minneapolis | Opens February 2014
  • La Fresca, 4750 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Ling & Louie’s Kitchen, 9th St and Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
  • The Nicollet Diner, 1428 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Tiny Diner, 1014 E 38th St, Minneapolis | 612.822.6302
  • Unnamed Gastrotruck restaurant, 2400 University Ave NE, Minneapolis | Opens 2013
  • Rocky and Shem’s Ice Cream Shoppe, 56th St and Chicago Ave, Minneapolis | Opens 2013

St. Paul

  • Saint Dinette, Lowertown, St. Paul | Opens April
Courtesy Urban Growler

Courtesy Urban Growler

Greater Twin Cities Area

  • Peace Coffee Coffee Bar, Lakewinds Coop, Richfield, MN | June 2014
  • Victor’s, 205 Water St, Excelsior, MN | Spring 2014
  • Maple Island Brewing Co., Stillwater, MN | May 2014
  • LTD (Live the Dream) Brewing, 812 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN | March 2014
  • Castle Danger Brewery, Two Harbors brewery expansion and taproom | 2014
  • Jordan Brewery, Jordan, MN | Spring 2013
  • Tin Whiskers Brewing Co., St. Paul | Opens 2014
  • Travail and The Rookery, Robbinsdale | Opens Feb. 4, 2014
  • Crooked Pint Ale House, Apple Valley; another location possible at 40th St and Lyndale Ave

The Tap is the Heavy Table’s guide to area restaurant openings, closings, and other major events. The Tap is compiled and published biweekly by the Heavy Table. If you have tips for The Tap, please email James Norton at editor@heavytable.com.

Readers: Win The Secret Atlas of North Coast Food

The Tap loves restaurant tips from readers, so we’re awarding a copy of “The Secret Atlas of North Coast Food” to the best tipster of January and February. 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 editor@heavytable.com.

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James Norton

James Norton is editor and co-founder of the Heavy Table. He is also the co-author of Lake Superior Flavors, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a regular on-air contributor to Minnesota Public Radio.

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