Azia Market, Sparks, Droolin’ Moose, Citizen Cafe, and more

Readers: Win Heavy Table pint glasses

The Tap loves restaurant tips from readers, so we’re awarding a Heavy Table pint glass to the best tipster each month. 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 Jason Walker at jason@heavytable.com.

February’s winner: Paul Schadewald of Minneapolis.

Azia Market Bar & Restaurant (opens in late April)

2550 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.813.1200 | Find it on Facebook

The restaurant scene is really hopping so far in 2012 (check out that massive “Coming Up” list below), but the corner of 26th and Nicollet in Minneapolis is especially exploding. Eat Street Social just opened, Icehouse (from the owners of Be’Wiched Deli) has long been in the works, and Little Tijuana is planning to reopen in a few months.

Now, one of the old standbys of the corner is coming back, as Thom Pham is opening Azia Market Bar & Restaurant. The concept is to use market-fresh ingredients to make a range of small plates and meals – focused on vegetables, rice or noodles, seafood and meat – as well as cocktails with fresh-squeezed juices. There will be a raw bar serving oysters and seafood as well as a sizable sake list, the entire space has been renovated, and a patio is planned.

So, what’s on the menu? Look for small dishes like broiled black cod marinated in miso and black beans, pomegranate-duck salad and crab rangoon; bowls like pho and bibimbap; and entrees such as banana-leaf-wrapped halibut, Dungeness crab simmered in sake, and lemongrass-braised short ribs.

Azia Market hopes to open in late April.

Sparks (now open)

230 Cedar Lake Road S, Minneapolis | 612.259.8943 | sparksmpls.com

If you live in or near Minneapolis’ Bryn Mawr neighborhood, you are smiling. Sparks opened in mid-March as the newest from owner/chef Jon Hunt – also behind Minneapolis restaurants Rinata and al Vento – and has a short menu of wood-fired plates like small plates, pizzas, chicken and seafood.

However, check out this beer lineup: Fulton Lonely Blond; Lake Superior Oatmeal Stout; Rush River Unforgiven Ale and Lost Arrow Porter; Summit Oatmeal Stout and Extra Pale Ale; Lake Harriet West Side IPA, Divine Oculust and Dark Abbey; and Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat. Now there’s a short but kick-ass tap list.

Droolin’ Moose (now open)

9424 Lyndale Avenue S, Bloomington | 952.451.9634 | droolinmoose.com

Kitty-corner from David Fong’s in Bloomington is a new shop specializing in high-end chocolate-covered doodads, Droolin’ Moose. It’s pretty straightforward: come in, try everything, and buy a big plastic cup of what you like. And if you can imagine a tiny, roundish food product, Droolin’ Moose probably sells it covered in some sort of chocolate: cherries, almonds, orange-flavored pecans, peanuts, pretzels, malted milk balls, biscotti chunks, etc.

“Everyone loves chocolate, and it makes a great gift, especially in such a down economy,” co-owner Missy Wettstrom said. “If you are going to spend $10 on a gift, it should be something people really want and look forward to.”

The sampling system is nice. Not content with just offering tidbits next to the product, Droolin’ Moose has provided a noshing table with tiny bowls of each chocolate-covered morsel. The Tap hasn’t eaten so much free chocolate since a memorable slab of torte at sadly now-defunct River Chocolate Company.

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Citizen Cafe (closing temporarily to remodel)

2403 East 38th St, Minneapolis | 612.729.1122 | thecitizencafe.com

Changes are coming to Citizen Cafe as owners Seaen & Michael MacKay remodel their South Minneapolis restaurant to house a wine bar. Citizen is now closed but will reopen April 10 at 4 p.m. They’re also ending lunch service Tues.-Thurs., but the Friday-Sunday hours won’t change (open at 8 a.m.). The MacKays thought the time was right to retool and add a wine bar because sous chef John Lambe has left to spend more time with his family.

NOW OPEN

  • Sparks, 230 Cedar Lake Road S, Minneapolis | 612.259.8943 | sparksmpls.com
  • Harriet Brewing Taproom, 3036 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis | 612.225.2184 | harrietbrewing.com
  • Bullwinkle Saloon, 1429 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Original Pancake House, 1415 County Road 101, Plymouth | 952.475.9151 | Find it on Facebook
  • Ze’s Diner, 3448 Denmark Ave, Eagan | 612.207.6793 | Find it on Facebook
  • Ipotli Indian Grill, 601 Marquette Ave S (Northstar Center skyway), Minneapolis
  • Butcher and the Boar, 1121 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | 612.222.7171 | butcherandtheboar.com
  • :D-Spot, 1993 Burns Ave, St. Paul | 651.738.8300 | Our take on the original
  • Aida, 2208 W 66th St, Richfield | 612.866.5601 | aidamn.com
  • Droolin’ Moose, 9424 Lyndale Avenue S, Bloomington | 952.451.9634 | droolinmoose.com
  • Victoriano’s, 402 N Main St, Stillwater | 651.430.3700 | http://victorianospizza.weebly.com/
  • Fulton Brewing Taproom, 414 Sixth Ave N, Minneapolis | 612.333.3208 | fultonbeer.com
  • Uncle Moe’s Deli & Drafts, 1501 University Ave SE, Minneapolis | 612.886.2553 | unclemoesdeli.com
  • Lucio’s Grill, 433 S Robert St, St. Paul | 651.414.9060 | Find it on Facebook
  • Patron Mexican Restaurant, 207 N. Chestnut St, Chaska | 952.479.7053 | Find it on Facebook
  • Dr. Chocolate’s Chocolate Chateau, 579 Selby Ave, St. Paul | 651.379.3676 | chocolatechateau.wordpress.com
  • The Dog House, Alliance Bank Skyway, St. Paul | Find it on Twitter
  • Tibet Kitchen, 1833 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Eat Street Social, 14 W 26th St, Minneapolis | 612.767.6850 | Our take
  • Saigon, 704 University Ave W, St. Paul. Open again after remodeling. | 651.225.8751 | Find it on Facebook
  • Which Wich, 2073 Ford Pkwy, St. Paul | 651.328.8044 | whichwich.com
  • Turkey to Go, 101 7th St S, (Roanoke Building skyway), Minneapolis | 612.655.1795 |turkeytogo.com
  • Cintia’s of Mexico, 6042 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis
  • Freestyle Yogurt, 500 Lexington Parkway S, St. Paul | 651.699.1992 | Our take

CLOSED/CLOSING:

  • The Lunch Box, 950 Nicollet Ave (Retek on the Mall skyway), Minneapolis
  • Franklin Street Bakery, 3904 Sunnyside Road, Edina | franklinstreetbakery.com
  • Joe Senser’s, 16605 County Road 24, Plymouth
  • Cafe Raisa, 15090 Chippendale Ave W, Rosemount
  • Fermentations, 236 Railway St N, Dundas
  • Marcello’s Pizza, 4112 Lancaster Lane N, Plymouth
  • Roman Anthony’s, 1350 Minnesota County Rd 96, White Bear Lake
  • Vescio’s, 601 Marquette Ave S, Minneapolis | vescios.com

COMING UP:

  • Hajime Japanese, 10950 Club W. Parkway NE, Blaine. Opens March 28. | 763.780.7944 | Find it on Facebook
  • Wellman’s Pub, 26 5th St N, Minneapolis. Opens April 5. | wellmanspubandrooftop.com
  • Sea Salt, 4801 Minnehaha Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens for the season April 6. | 612.721.8990 | seasalteatery.wordpress.com
  • Well Seasoned, 920 E Lake St, Minneapolis (Midtown Global Market). Opens this spring. | 612.886.2489 | wellseasonedmpls.com
  • The Left Handed Cook, 920 E Lake St, Minneapolis (Midtown Global Market) | Find it on Twitter
  • Azia Market Bar & Restaurant, 2550 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens in late April. | 612.813.1200 | Find it on Facebook
  • Tin Fish, 3000 E Calhoun Pkwy, Minneapolis. Opens for the season in late April. | 612.823.5840 | thetinfish.net
  • Rincon 38, 3801 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens this spring.
  • Devil’s Advocate, 89 S 10th St, Minneapolis. Opens in April.
  • Nadia Cakes, 11650 Fountains Drive, Suite 207, Maple Grove. Opens May 18. | nadiacakes.com
  • Maruso Street Food and Cocktails, 715 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. Opens this spring.
  • Cowboy Jack’s, 126 5th St N, Minneapolis. Opens this spring. | theaftermidnightgroup.com
  • George and the Dragon, 813 W 50th St, Minneapolis. Opens this spring. | 612.355.9114 | ganddpub.com
  • Lynden’s Soda Fountain, 490 Hamline Ave S, St. Paul (old Kopplin’s). Opens April 15. | 651.235.5646 | lyndens.com
  • Ike’s, 17805 Hwy 7, Minnetonka. Opens in April. | ilikeikes.com
  • Rodizio Grill, 12197 Elm Creek Blvd N, Maple Grove. Opens in April. | rodiziogrill.com
  • Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis. Opens in May. | Find it on Facebook
  • Selma’s Ice Cream, 3419 Saint Croix Trl S, Afton. Opens in May.
  • J.J.’s Coffee Company & Wine Bar, 1800 W Lake St, Minneapolis. Opens in May. | Our take on the original
  • Little Tijuana, 17 E 26th St, Minneapolis. Reopening this spring. | Find it on Facebook
  • Cafe Maude at Loring, 1612 Harmon Place, Minneapolis | cafemaude.com
  • Masu Sushi & Robata, Mall of America. Opens this spring. | Our take on the original
  • Bar Louie, 1320 Lagoon Ave, Minneapolis. Opens this spring. | barlouieamerica.com
  • Birdhouse, 2516 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens this spring. | Find it on Facebook
  • Sweet Ducky Cupcakery, 117 W Churchill St #2, Stillwater. Opens this spring. | 651.472.1150 | Find it on Facebook
  • Blue Door Pub, 3448 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens this spring. | thebdp.com
  • Mona, 333 S 7th St, Minneapolis. Opens this spring. | 612.208.7675 | Find it on Facebook
  • Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub, 2724 E 38th St, Minneapolis. Opens this summer. | 612.328.1450 | northboundbrewpub.com
  • Smack Shack, Washington Ave N and 6th Ave N, Minneapolis. Opens this summer. | smack-shack.com
  • Pizza Luce, 800 W 66th St, Richfield. Opens in June. | pizzaluce.com
  • Tavern Grill, 772 Bielenberg Dr, Woodbury. Opens in June.
  • Harriet Brasserie, 2724 W 43rd St, Minneapolis
  • Primebar, 3001 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis | restaurants-america.com
  • Indeed Brewing, 711 15th Ave NE Minneapolis. Opens this summer. | 612.643.1226 | indeedbrewing.com
  • Sole Mio, 1750 Weir Dr, Woodbury. Opens in July.
  • Cossetta’s, 211 7th St W, St. Paul. Existing market opening new rooftop restaurant; opens this summer. | 651.222.3476 | cossettaeventi.com
  • New Don Saunders restaurant, 2115 W 21st St (old Kenwood Cafe), Minneapolis | Our take on Saunders’ In Season
  • Blood and Chocolates, 495 Selby Ave, St. Paul. Opens in 2012. | 651.492.4799 | Find it on Facebook
  • Super Moon Buffet, 6445 Wayzata Blvd, St. Louis Park
  • Dangerous Man Brewing, 1300 2nd St NE, Minneapolis | 612.377.4164 | dangerousmanbrewing.wordpress.com
  • The Original Just Turkey Restaurant, 3758 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis | originaljustturkey.com
  • Rusty Taco, 522 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | rustytacomn.com
  • Hell’s Kitchen Bakery, 80 S 9th St, Minneapolis | hellskitcheninc.com
  • Alley Sports Tavern, 100 6th St N, Minneapolis
  • :D-Spot, Dinkytown, Minneapolis | Our take on the original
  • Burger Night, Minneapolis. Still looking for location. | 612.217.0102 | burgernight.me
  • Pistol Pete’s BBQ, 222 N Chestnut St, Chaska
  • Damera Ethiopian Bar & Restaurant, 823 University Ave, St. Paul
  • Chopstiks Cafe, 501 University Ave, St. Paul
  • Moonlight Cafe, 1907 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis
  • Ruze Bakery and Lounge, 4669 Lakeland Ave N, Robbinsdale | ruzebakery.com
  • Humble Pie, 822 W. 36th St., Minneapolis. Kim Bartmann’s revamp of Gigi’s. | 612.825.0818
  • Rocky and Shem’s Ice Cream Shoppe, 56th and Chicago, Minneapolis. Opens late 2012/early 2013.

The Tap is The Heavy Table’s guide to area restaurant openings, closings, and other major events. The Tap is compiled by Heavy Table writer Jason Walker, and will be published biweekly. If you already subscribe to our newsletter, look for an emailed version of The Tap every other week — otherwise, you can find it on the website on alternating Tuesdays.

If you’ve got tips for The Tap, please email Jason Walker at jason@heavytable.com. The Tap’s Twitter feed has moved to @heavytable.

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About the Author

Jason Walker

Jason Walker was born and raised in Kansas, where he grew up loving his grandmother’s homemade noodles and weekly fried fish. A summer internship in Milwaukee turned Jason and his wife, Leita, into die-hard fans of the Northwoods culture, and they moved to Minneapolis in 2006. Immediately the quality of food and drink in the Twin Cities was impressive – that even the most unassuming bar usually had a decent menu – and Jason knew he was home. Now living in the Fulton neighborhood with two kids, Jason grows tomatoes, cans voraciously, and badgers his neighbors with conversations about restaurants.

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3 Comments

  1. Quick correction…Sea Salt will be opening March 30 :)

  2. grahampuba03/27/2012Reply

    Oh,.. the ‘Tavern Grill’
    sounds inspired!

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