Borough Boasts Talent to Make North Loop Impact

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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: Suzanne LaPalm of Oakdale

Jason Walker / Heavy Table

Jason Walker / Heavy Table

Borough (now open)

730 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis | 612.354.3135

An ambitious restaurant and bar with a crew talented enough to make an instant impact on city dining, Borough is now open in the Warehouse District. Chefs Nick O’Leary and Tyler Shipton, who met at Travail and between them count stints with local titans Sameh Wadi, Steven Brown, and Isaac Becker, lead the kitchen with a dedication to turning fresh, simple ingredients into flavor-packed creations.

O’Leary and Shipton’s beautiful kitchen, replete with gleaming white tile and custom-designed by the pair, is visible from the bar and will churn out a menu with lots of variety: scotch eggs, bison tartare, sweetbreads with chicken skin, fried cod with mashed potatoes, squash and brown butter pasta, and steak with oxtail ravioli.

Jason Walker / Heavy Table

Jason Walker / Heavy Table

“We’re both farm boys, so we just like good food,” O’Leary (above right) said. “We’ve worked at pretty good restaurants and learned some pretty refined techniques, and I think we’re just going to use that to take simple food to the next level. ‘Flavor Country,’ we always call it.

Our menu is pretty straightforward with not a lot of chemicals or anything going on — just good food that takes a long time to cook sometimes, like inexpensive cuts of meat like oxtails, but that with preparation and seasoning will taste good.”

Shipton (above left) said the menu was mostly American but would include plenty of dishes with worldwide influence: Asian, French, Mediterranean.

“We like to say it’s eclectic and like to have the variety to change something if we get bored so we can switch it up,” he said. “We just want the diners to have a comfortable experience with good food, good wine, good cocktails, good craft beer list. Everything working together.”

Jason Walker / Heavy Table

Jason Walker / Heavy Table

Manning the drinks both at Borough and the connected downstairs Parlour bar is Jesse Held (above), a Town Talk Diner barman from way back who was named best bartender of 2012 by City Pages while at Eat Street Social. Held said the bar was devoted to house-made everything, from infusions to syrups, as well as locally famous Bittercube bitters.

Drinks include spins on standards, like an Old Fashioned with Old Grand Dad, Old Overholt, and Cynar and cherry bark vanilla bitters; or totally new creations like the “Sunny Place for Shady People” with Fernet Branca, pineapple juice, Barenjager, lime juice, and blackstrap bitters. There are also 16 tap beers.

Borough has been “soft opening” for a couple days; it and Parlour have a grand opening planned for today, January 2. Based on a preview dinner I attended, and assuming its personnel sticks together, it looks like the North Loop may have its newest gem.

The Sparrow Cafe (now open)

5001 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis

In just the past five years, the corner of 50th and Penn has seen three coffee shops of varying quality come and go: Cafe Bean, Dragonfly Coffee, and, most recently shuttered, the Adagio Cafe. Misunderstood parking, a Bruegger’s right down the street, and a lack of foot traffic have all played a role, as has the space’s tiny footprint and meager kitchen.

Now, though, Jasper and Sheila Rajendren are giving it a go with the Sparrow Cafe, which opens today and will serve coffee, pastries, and something the three previous tenants didn’t offer: lunch service. The hope is to reinvigorate the kitchen for baking — which will be interesting given the lack of space.

I hope they succeed, because that corner is a great one that’s about to get even greater with the addition of the planned Broders’ Wine Bar.

Tangiers Eatery and Lounge (opens in 2013)

116 First Ave N, Minneapolis

This place popped up on the radar last summer and had plans to open sometime in 2012. Nothing materialized, but the Tangiers’ Twitter feed has been revived, and a peek into the space revealed at least a little progress. We’ll see.

The Tangiers is billed as an upscale restaurant and bar, which the Warehouse District already has in spades. After I talked to a couple of North Loop journalists the other night, I gathered that the area could use not a fancy place but instead a casual gastropub or two.

NOW OPEN

CLOSED / CLOSING:

  • Origami, 12305 Wayzata Blvd, Minnetonka
  • Italianis, 3508 E Lake St, Minneapolis
  • Adagio Cafe, 5001 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis
  • The Donut Cooperative, 2929 E 25th St, Minneapolis | 612.353.6089
  • Kiev Foods, 2500 7th St W, St. Paul
  • King & I Thai, 1346 LaSalle Ave S, Minneapolis

COMING UP:
Minneapolis

  • Zeke’s Unchained Animal, 3508 E Lake St, Minneapolis | 612.720.9878
  • Northgate Brewing, 3134 California St NE, Minneapolis | 612.234.1056
  • Smack Shack, Washington Ave N and 6th Ave N, Minneapolis. Opens Jan. 22.
  • Dangerous Man Brewing, 1300 2nd St NE, Minneapolis. Opens in January. | 612.209.2626
  • Burch Steak, Burch Pizza Bar, 1942 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. Isaac Becker’s planned steakhouse in old Burch Pharmacy; opens in February.
  • Parka, 4023 E Lake St, Minneapolis. Opens early 2013.
  • One Two Three Sushi, 80 S 8th St (IDS Center Skyway), Minneapolis. Opens early 2013.
  • 612 Brew Taproom, 945 Broadway St NE, Minneapolis. Opens early 2013. | 612.217.0437
  • Blue Door Pub, 3448 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis
  • The Original Just Turkey Restaurant, 3758 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Tangiers Eatery and Lounge, 116 First Ave N, Minneapolis.
  • Rincon 38, 3801 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.408.7063
  • Red Cow, 3624 W 50th St, Minneapolis. Opens in 2013. | 651.336.2179
  • Origami, 1352 Lagoon Ave, Minneapolis. Opens in 2013.
  • Seward Cafe, 2129 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis. Opening for dinner service. | 612.332.1011
  • Broders’ Wine Bar, 2221 W 50th St, Minneapolis
  • Tiny Diner, 1014 E 38th St, Minneapolis | 612.822.6302
  • Spill the Wine, Lake St and Bryant Ave, Minneapolis. Moving from downtown location in April 2013. | 612.339.3388
  • Morrissey’s Irish Pub, 913 W Lake St, Minneapolis. Opens early 2013.
  • Rocky and Shem’s Ice Cream Shoppe, 56th St and Chicago Ave, Minneapolis.
  • Sandcastle, Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis. Doug Flicker’s concessionaire restaurant at the lake. Opens spring 2013.
  • Town Hall Tap, 5019 34th Ave S, Minneapolis

St. Paul

  • Las Sirenas, 199 Plato Blvd, St. Paul | 651.888.2233
  • Bang Brewing, 2320 Capp Rd, St. Paul. Opens in 2013.
  • French Meadow, 1662 Grand Ave, St. Paul. Opens in 2013.

Greater Twin Cities Area

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 Heavy Table writer Jason Walker. If you have tips for The Tap, please email Jason at jason@heavytable.com.

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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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