George & the Dragon, Mill City Cafe, World Street Kitchen, Prairie Kitchen & Bar, 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.

April’s winner: Dana Murdoch of St. Paul

George & the Dragon (now open)

813 W 50th St, Minneapolis | 612.355.9114

After talking to owner Fred Navarro, it sounds like George & the Dragon opened right amid its key demographic.

“Eighty-five percent of the guests that have come in the first couple weeks have been from a four- to five-block radius of the restaurant,” Navarro said. “Of those guests I would say 40 percent, maybe a much higher percentage, have come in at least several times since we opened.”

Not surprising, as George & the Dragon occupies the rebuilt corner that famously burned while housing Heidi’s and Blackbird. For two years, the Malt Shop diner was the only option for blocks; now, though, area diners can explore Navarro’s varied menu. Most popular item so far?

“The fish and chips,” Navarro said. “For our beer batter, we are using the Fulton Lonely Blonde; the response that we have received is that the beer batter is nice and crisp, but not greasy.

“All of the burgers have had great feedback I think due to the bun, baked fresh daily by New French, and that we use arugula instead of just a leaf lettuce for the burgers. It adds a different flavor profile.”

The pub has nine beers on tap, including three poured on nitrogen: Old Speckled Hen, Boulder Mojo IPA, and Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. With locals like Harriet, Brau Brothers, Summit, and Fulton thrown in, G&D sticks to the approach I’ve noticed at other new local restaurants like Blackbird, Sparks, and Mona: Use our wealth of available beer to craft a small but rock-solid tap list that appeals to beer nerds and casual drinkers alike.

George & the Dragon now has Sunday brunch, too, and Navarro said he was eager for summer ingredients to start popping into his menu, especially the daily curry.

Wait times have been long since George & the Dragon opened, and Navarro said to call ahead because a limited number of reservations are available each night.

Ashley Laflin / Heavy Table

Mill City Cafe (closing May 27; planning to open in new location)

2205 California St NE, Minneapolis | 612.788.6188

The Mill City Cafe, a bit of a well-kept secret in the local brunch-goer world, has announced it’s closing while it prepares to move into an undisclosed new space in Northeast Minneapolis.

OK, Mill City Cafe is such a well-kept secret that I had never heard of it until a friend tipped me off, saying, “That place has the best brunch for your buck in the city. Nothing over $10 and all really good stuff. And a great patio doesn’t hurt, as well as good bloodys, and even beer if you want it.” Amen!

So, you’ve got a week to get your Mill City awesome veggie burger fix before they take a relocation break.

World Street Kitchen (opens late 2012)

2743 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis

This is a good trend: First, Smack Shack announced plans to open a restaurant offshoot of its popular food truck. Now, Sameh and Saed Wadi told Rick Nelson that they’re opening a permanent location of their World Street Kitchen. The Wadis, locally famous as the proprietors of Saffron, will continue to sell their twist on street food like rice bowls, tacos, and sandwiches at the new outpost, which Rick says will open later this year.

In a similar vein, it’s been rumored that Chef Shack plans to open a permanent restaurant in the just-closed Jack’s at 46th and Bryant.

Prairie Kitchen & Bar (opens May 25)

1300 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.596.4640

It lost two of Minneapolis’ most high-profile restaurants, Manny’s and Oceanaire, so the Hyatt Regency is fighting back with Prairie Kitchen & Bar, opening May 25.

According to a press release, chef Aaron Hagerdorn’s menu is influenced by the Scandinavian and farming heritage of Minnesota. “Our new menu is a tribute to Minnesota’s unique cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh regional produce, meat, grains, and dairy products,” Hagerdorn said. Quite a broad emphasis.

Since it’s serving a hotel, the kitchen will be open all day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night, and it will serve all sorts of stuff, from a smoked trout cake benedict to a salmon BLT to garlic and veal meatballs. There’s even waterzooi, a traditional Flemish chicken-and-vegetable stew that I had to Google.

That little section of Nicollet needs something to liven it up, so, what the heck, let’s root for Prairie Kitchen. Otherwise, it’s going to be awfully barren from Brit’s down to Eat Street.

NOW OPEN

Tricia Cornell / Heavy Table

CLOSED / CLOSING:

  • Mill City Cafe, 2205 California St NE, Minneapolis. Closing May 27; planning to open in new location. | 612.788.6188
  • Coffee Gallery, 1011 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis. Closing this spring. | 612.215.2626
  • Viva Brazil, 913 W Lake St, Minneapolis
  • Tschida Bakery, 1116 Rice St, St. Paul
  • Chai’s Thai, 414 1/2 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Minnehaha Coffee, 4554 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis
  • Jack’s, 818 W 46th St, Minneapolis
  • Risotto, 610 W Lake St, Minneapolis
  • Royal Orchid, 625 Marquette Ave (skyway), Minneapolis
  • Acropol Inn, 748 Grand Ave, St. Paul
  • Caribe, 791 Raymond Ave, St. Paul
  • Nick and Eddie, 1612 Harmon Pl, Minneapolis

COMING UP:
Minneapolis

  • Maruso Street Food and Cocktails, 715 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | 612.333.0100
  • Somos Peru, 6009 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens in May. | 612.244.3400
  • Azia Market Bar & Restaurant, 2550 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.813.1200
  • Rincon 38, 3801 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens this spring. | 612.408.7063
  • Well Seasoned, 920 E Lake St, Minneapolis (Midtown Global Market). Opens this spring. | 612.886.2489
  • Cowboy Jack’s, 126 5th St N, Minneapolis. Opens this spring.
  • Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis. Opens June 7.
  • J.J.’s Coffee Company & Wine Bar, 1800 W Lake St, Minneapolis. Opens this spring.
  • Little Tijuana, 17 E 26th St, Minneapolis. Reopening this spring. | 612.872.0578
  • Cafe Maude at Loring, 1612 Harmon Pl, Minneapolis
  • Bar Louie, 1320 Lagoon Ave, Minneapolis. Opens this spring.
  • Birdhouse, 2516 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens this spring. | 612.377.2213
  • Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub, 2724 E 38th St, Minneapolis. Opens this summer. | 612.328.1450
  • Wings N Things, 324 West Broadway, Minneapolis. Opens this summer. | 612.735.0637
  • Smack Shack, Washington Ave N and 6th Ave N, Minneapolis. Opens this summer.
  • El Burrito Mercado, 920 E Lake St, Minneapolis (Midtown Global Market). Opens in June.
  • People’s Organic, IDS Center Crystal Court, Minneapolis. Opens July 2.
  • Blue Door Pub, 3448 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens in August.
  • The Pourhouse, 10 5th St S, Minneapolis. Opens this summer.
  • New Bohemia, 233 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • Primebar, 3001 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Indeed Brewing, 711 15th Ave NE, Minneapolis. Opens this summer. | 612.643.1226
  • Tangiers Eatery and Lounge, 1st St N, Minneapolis. Opens in September.
  • New Don Saunders restaurant, 2115 W 21st St (old Kenwood Cafe), Minneapolis
  • Dangerous Man Brewing, 1300 2nd St NE, Minneapolis | 612.377.4164
  • The Original Just Turkey Restaurant, 3758 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Rusty Taco, 522 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • Alley Sports Tavern, 100 6th St N, Minneapolis
  • Yogurt Lab, 80 8th St S, Minneapolis (IDS Center skyway)
  • Moonlight Cafe, 1907 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis
  • Dilla’s Ethiopian Restaurant, 1813 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis
  • Unnamed rooftop restaurant in old Shinders, 733 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • Unnamed Kim Bartmann restaurant, 1014 E 38th St, Minneapolis
  • Burch, 1942 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. Isaac Becker’s planned steakhouse in old Burch Pharmacy; opens in late 2012 / early 2013.
  • :D-Spot, Dinkytown, Minneapolis
  • Burger Night, Minneapolis. Still looking for location. | 612.217.0102
  • 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 St and Chicago Ave, Minneapolis. Opens late 2012 / early 2013.

St. Paul

  • Cupcake, 949 Grand Ave, St. Paul. Opens this summer.
  • TruBerry Frozen Yogurt, 949 Grand Ave, St. Paul. Opens this summer.
  • La Loma, Town Square skyway (6th St and Cedar St), St. Paul. Opens this summer.
  • Bon Vie Cafe / A Piece of Cake, combining later this spring at 485 Selby Ave, St. Paul | 651.846.0016
  • Cossetta’s, 211 7th St W, St. Paul. Existing market opening new rooftop restaurant; opens this summer. | 651.222.3476
  • Blood and Chocolates, 495 Selby Ave, St. Paul. Opens in 2012. | 651.492.4799
  • Damera Ethiopian Bar & Restaurant, 823 University Ave, St. Paul
  • Chopstiks Cafe, 501 University Ave, St. Paul

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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One Comment

  1. David Foureyes 05/27/2012 Reply

    A note, I believe in the time while Mill City looks for a new home, you can still get their awesome veggie burgers @ The Anchor

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