Blood and Chocolates, West Bank Diner, Jack’s 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.

November’s winner: Matthew Ayres of Minneapolis

Blood and Chocolates (opens in late January)

495 Selby Ave, St. Paul | 651.492.4799 | Find it on Facebook

Kerry D’Amato and Bo Wayne’s new St. Paul store, Blood and Chocolates, aims to reinvent the notion of a chocolate shop. Besides a line of European-influenced, handmade chocolates and an array of chocolate drinks, there will be some products you may never knew existed.

Like Le Whif, a chocolate inhaler tube from France that gives you the sensation of chocolate. It’s the same concept as a Vicks inhaler, but presumably more enjoyable.

“It’s a sort of chocolate air that you breathe into your mouth,” D’Amato said. “It resonates there and gives you the experience of chocolate without the calories. It sort of gives you that fix like a cigarette a little bit. You inhale, and it’s really fun.”

Bo Wayne / Submitted Photo

Blood and Chocolates will also have a hand-made chocolate line with what D’Amato said were interesting flavor profiles, like savory truffles, to help people think about chocolate in a different way.

“We’re going to bring a visual to a chocolate shop that isn’t happening in Minnesota,” D’Amato said. “It’s going to be a full experience. There’s going to be a visual, artistic expression to the shop itself and an artistic, expressive flavor to the chocolates and confections.”

There will be chocolate drinks, chocolate-based teas, a line of wine and champagne jellies, and a selection of artisan chocolate items from around the world. Beer and wine could be coming eventually, which would lead to wine-chocolate pairing events.

Bo Wayne / Submitted Photo

Wayne, a New Yorker (above left) is the chocolatier, and for years he and D’Amato (above right) have been tweaking their vision for Blood and Chocolates. D’Amato convinced him St. Paul was a great place to open their first shop, and specifically in her food-centric neighborhood.

“Our philosophy is that chocolate is a drug, and we are your pusher,” she said. “And so we really want to educate the public on the positive attributes of chocolate from a pharmaceutical background, because they are definitely there. There are many positive qualities to chocolate. Chocolate, like coffee, has caffeine-like properties to it, but not caffeine in a coffee sense because you get the high, you get the lift, but you don’t get the drawbacks.”

D’Amato said Blood and Chocolates should open later this month.

West Bank Diner (now open)

324 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.333.2211 | Find it on Facebook

A new diner has opened in the former Kilimanjaro space, across from the Acadia Cafe. The West Bank Diner serves mostly American diner fare and is open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week. The menu includes sandwiches with fries, salads, and a few dinner entrees, as well as breakfast all day with items like a breakfast burrito, California Benedict, and the usual lineup of pancakes, eggs, etc., including Peace Coffee. On Wednesdays, French toast is just $5. On a recent visit, the service was terrifically friendly, the food tasted fresh, and the diner was squeaky-clean.

Jack’s (reopening with new chef)

818 W 46th St, Minneapolis | 612.825.2183 | jacksmpls.com

After being revamped from a coffee shop to full-service dining a little over a year ago, Jack’s has hired chef Kevin Kathman to take over its kitchen. Kathman, who has worked around the country but most recently at Minneapolis’ Barbette, will have a menu of “American cuisine with a blend of contemporary and classic” that includes seasonal menus and multiple course offerings.

“Our goal is to be an ever-changing dining destination in the Twin Cities,” Kathman said.

The change won’t affect Jack’s morning coffee and weekend brunch. The restaurant will be closed from Jan. 3-9 for the transition and will reopen Jan. 10, with dinner service beginning at 5 p.m.

NOW OPEN

  • Zest Bar and Grill, 525 Diffley Rd, Eagan | 651.468.9053 | zesteagan.com
  • Colossal Cafe, 2315 Como Ave, St. Paul | colossalcafe.com
  • El Loro, 2535 W Highway 10, Mounds View
  • Valley Tap House, 14889 Florence Tr, Apple Valley | 952.431.2337 | Find it on Facebook
  • West Bank Diner, 324 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.333.2211 | Find it on Facebook
  • Five Guys, 8360 3rd St N, Oakdale; 12555 Castlemoor Dr, Eden Prairie | 651.330.1780 | fiveguys.com
  • Lucid Brewing, 6020 Culligan Way, Minnetonka. On tap now at various locations; growler sales begin in 2012. | lucidbrewing.wordpress.com
  • Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee, 1830 Glenwood Ave N, Minneapolis | 612.377.4476 | venturenorthbwc.org
  • Eat Street Pizza, 1931 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis (inside The Nicollet) | 612.874.9125 | eatstreetpizza.com
  • Famous Dave’s, 590 Prairie Center Dr, Eden Prairie. New fast-casual prototype. | famousdaves.com
  • Zamboni Pizza, 184 7th St W, St. Paul | 651.225.2999
  • Kopplins Coffee, 2038 Marshall Ave, St. Paul (new location) | 651.698.0457 | kopplinscoffee.com
  • Social House, 2919 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | 612.824.6300 | socialhousempls.com
  • Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon, 546 Commons Dr, Woodbury | 651.357.1050 | wildbills-sportssaloon.com
  • Fulton Brewing, 414 6th Ave N, Minneapolis. Now open for growler sales. | fultonbeer.com
  • Rye Delicatessen & Bar, 1930 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis | Our take
  • Jason’s Deli, 7565 France Ave S, Edina | 952.358.9900 | jasonsdeli.com
  • Krung Thep Thai Cuisine, 2523 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.874.7716
  • Kyoto Sushi, 13751 Grove Dr, Maple Grove | 763.488.1588
  • Turkey to Go, Alliance Bank Center, St. Paul | turkeytogo.com
  • Lemongrass Bol de la Vie, 8505 Valley Creek Rd, Woodbury (inside Kowalski’s) | lemongrassboldelavi.com
  • The Donut Cooperative, 2929 E 25th St, Minneapolis | 612.353.6089 |thedonutcooperative.com
  • My Burger, 3100 Excelsior Blvd, Minneapolis | Find it on Facebook
  • Ernie’s Pub & Grille, 14351 Nicollet Ct, Burnsville | 952.435.2867 | erniespub.com
  • Stout’s Pub, 1611 Larpenteur Ave, Falcon Heights | 651.789.8888 | stoutspub.com
  • Mezz Lounge, 14401 Burnhaven Dr, Burnsville | 952.892.3456 | mezzlounge.com
  • Pig & Fiddle, 3808 W 50th St, Minneapolis | 952.955.8385
  • Menchie’s, 750 Cleveland Ave, St. Paul | 651.797.6428 | Find it on Facebook
  • Pittsburgh Blue, 3200 Galleria, Edina | 952.567.2700 |pittsburghbluesteak.com
  • Smashburger, 2138 Ford Pkwy, St. Paul | smashburger.com
  • Queen’s Cafe, 2700 E Lake St, Minneapolis
  • Mesa Pizza, 1440 W Lake St, Minneapolis | mesapizzamn.com
  • Yogurt Lab, 3104 Excelsior Blvd, Minneapolis | visityogurtlab.com

CLOSED / CLOSING:

  • Black Bamboo, 333 S 7th St, Minneapolis
  • Leaning Tower of Pizza, 2505 University Ave SE, Minneapolis
  • Betty’s Pies, 700 Wildwood Rd, Mahtomedi
  • Il Gatto, 3001 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • Duplex, 2516 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • Fru-Lala, 1315 4th St SE, Minneapolis
  • Gangchen, 1833 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis. Re-opening as Tibet Kitchen.
  • Coffee Buzz, 5690 West 36th St, St. Louis Park
  • Baldy’s BBQ, 1813 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis
  • La Sirena Gorda, 920 E Lake St (Midtown Global Market)
  • Cafe Twenty Eight, 2724 W 43rd St, Minneapolis

COMING UP:

  • Eat Street Social, 14 W 26th St, Minneapolis | 612.767.6850 | Find it on Facebook
  • Blood and Chocolates, 495 Selby Ave, St. Paul. Opens late January. | 651.492.4799 | Find it on Facebook
  • Eli’s East Food and Cocktails, 815 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. Opens this month. | 612.331.0031 | Find it on Facebook
  • Butcher and the Boar, 1121 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. Opens in January. | Find it on Facebook
  • Turkey to Go, Baker Center, Minneapolis. Opens in January. | turkeytogo.com
  • Which Wich, 2073 Ford Pkwy, St. Paul. Opens in January. | whichwich.com
  • Sweet Ducky Cupcakery, 117 W Churchill St #2, Stillwater. Opens in February. | Find it on Facebook
  • Masu Sushi & Robata, Mall of America. Opens this spring. | Our take on the original
  • American Joe, 344 Wabasha St N, St. Paul
  • Bar Louie, 1320 Lagoon Ave, Minneapolis. Opens spring 2012. | barlouieamerica.com
  • Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis. Opens April 2012.
  • Smokehouse Brewpub, 38th St and 28th Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens May 2012. | smokehousebrewpub.com
  • Rodizio Grill, 12197 Elm Creek Blvd N, Maple Grove. Opens in 2012. | rodiziogrill.com
  • Dr. Chocolate’s Chocolate Chateau, 579 Selby Ave, St. Paul | 651.379.3676 | chocolatechateau.wordpress.com
  • 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
  • Still-unnamed gastropub, 89 S 10th St, Minneapolis (former The Inn, Subo, Hell’s Kitchen space)
  • Tibet Kitchen, 1833 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Blue Door Pub, 3448 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis | thebdp.com
  • Five Guys, 4105 Vinewood Ln N, Plymouth | fiveguys.com
  • Cupcake, 949 Grand Ave, St. Paul | cup-cake.com
  • Hell’s Kitchen Bakery, 80 S 9th St, Minneapolis | hellskitcheninc.com
  • Burger Night, Minneapolis
  • Rincon 38, 38th St and Grand Ave, Minneapolis
  • Mona, 333 S 7th St, Minneapolis
  • Selma’s Ice Cream, 3419 Saint Croix Tr S, Afton. Opens in 2012.
  • Pistol Pete’s BBQ, 222 N Chestnut St, Chaska
  • Patron Mexican Restaurant, 207 N Chestnut St, Chaska
  • Humble Pie, 822 W 36th St, Minneapolis. Kim Bartmann’s revamp of Gigi’s. | 612.825.0818
  • Cranky’s Bicycle Bar, E Lake St, Minneapolis | Find it on Facebook

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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One Comment

  1. When I saw the name Blood and Chocolates I thought it might be a chocolate and charcuterie shop – now there’s a concept

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