Minnesota Honey Company, a New Menu at Kings 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 July and August. 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.

James Norton / Heavy Table

James Norton / Heavy Table

Minnesota Honey Company (opens October 2013)
4956 Xerxes Ave S, Minneapolis

The soon-to-open Minnesota Honey Company hopes to do for local honey what stores like Vinaigrette have done for oil and vinegar. Starting October 1, it will offer samples of honey, educate consumers, and sell honey in all its multi-hued and many-flavored glory.

The store is a project of honey farmers Deborah and Kelley Flanders, who have worked for years with Deborah’s family business, Honey Hill Farms. That work, and volunteering at the Minnesota State Fair’s honey stand, have given the Flanders first-hand insight into the challenges and opportunities of selling honey as a artisanal product.

“It’s so hard to get shelf space for a small company with local products,” says Kelley Flanders. “And once you do, you have to fight to stay there.”

The Minnesota Honey Company aims to give local producers a place to shine and grow. As Kelley sees it, honey is like wine — reflective of the land it comes from, profoundly diverse in flavor and function, and worthy of understanding and enjoyment. Too often, he says, local honey farmers have had to sell their product to large honey packers who mix, microfilter, and pasteurize much of the flavor and nutrition out of the product.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

“The main focus will be different varieties of honey from Minnesota farms,” says Kelley. “We’ll have, at a minimum, 20 different honey farms. We’ll also feature a monthly honey producer, whether it’s a special edition honey or a hobby beekepeer who’s doing urban beekeeping in the Twin Cities… There’s a lot of rooftop beekeeping going on in this city.” A sampling bar and carefully crafted labels will help connect customers to the product, and show off the various flavors produced by the state’s varying terrain and its flora. In addition to familiar clover, basswood, and wildflower honey, customers can expect dandelion, buckwheat, berry blossom honey, and more.

The store will also showcase honey-related products, including truffles and caramels, honey sticks, honey comb, creamed honey, honey salsa, honey mustard, lip balms, soaps, and more.

“It used to be that everybody knew a beekeeper … now it’s a lot different,” says Kelley. The Minnesota Honey Company can fill the gap, he suggests — providing knowledge and a taste of local honey.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Kings Wine Bar (new chef and menu)
4555 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis

When Birdhouse closed back in June, it didn’t take long for Kings Wine Bar to snap up sous chef Andrew Kraft. In his new role as executive chef, Kraft’s first order of business was to scrap the old menu in favor of a new concept that incorporates more shareable dishes, a short menu of spreads, along with a small selection of larger portioned plates and sandwiches [view new menu as PDF]. The result of Kraft’s seasonally-changing, contemporary, yet down-to-earth rebuild was on partial display Sunday night, when he and his crew treated guests to free samples of many of the new menu items.

It had the feel of cocktail hour at a crowded wedding reception, with servers fighting through tight clusters of people sitting, standing, leaning anywhere they could find space. The mood was festive, celebratory, and fun. And, for the most part, so was the food.

Pillowy deviled eggs with giardiniera were topped with mustard seeds that exploded delightfully in your mouth. A pork sandwich on buttered toast was served with a cilantro and carrot slaw and recalled a messy banh mi. The cavatelli with mushrooms, peas, and mint was rich, earthy, and surprisingly bright, perfectly straddling late summer and early fall.

Courtesy Kings Wine Bar

Courtesy Kings Wine Bar

Three items really stuck out, though. The Bloody Mary Ribs with celery seed and soy evoked its namesake libation, albeit a mild one with little to no kick. Two spreads served on crispy, wafer-thin crostini also impressed. The chicken liver mousse came out drizzled with balsamic that cut the richness without getting in the way. And the pureed sweet pea topped with creme fresh was light, creamy, and visually attractive.

If there were any missteps, it had to have been the mussels with okra, roasted corn, and smoked paprika. Though seemingly prepared with a lot of thought, they were rather thoughtlessly left to languish in a large bowl on a table near the door. By the time we got to them they were cold and nearly impossible to eat with the large plastic spoons provided.

While the famous tots and wine list will remain (mostly) unchanged, change was definitely the theme of the night. And judging by the turnout, it seems to be the type of change the neighborhood is ready to embrace.

– Written by Ryan Burk

Dakota Junction (Opens Fall 2013)
2281 Commerce Blvd, Mound

A reader tipped us off to the intriguing upcoming opening of Dakota Junction in Mound, located on the Dakota Regional Bike Trail. It was described to us as “a small (44 seat) restaurant focusing on locally sourced food,” and its Facebook page suggests a strong farm-to-table connection.

NOW OPEN

 

 

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Dale Yasunaga / Heavy Table

Dale Yasunaga / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

CLOSED / CLOSING:

  • Sally’s Saloon and Eatery, 712 Washington Ave SE (closed for remodeling until summer 2014)
  • Ursula’s Wine Bar and Cafe, 2125 4th St, White Bear Lake
  • Bullwinkle’s Saloon, 1429 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Guayaquil, 1526 E Lake St, Minneapolis
  • Peter’s Grill, 114 S 8th St, Minneapolis
  • Buster’s on 28th, 4204 S 28th Ave, Minneapolis | Temporary closure due to fire.

    Uchu in Plymouth, MN

    Natalie Champa Jennings / Heavy Table

  • Uchu, 4130 Berkshire Ln N, Plymouth
  • Johnny Tequila’s Drinking Taco, 430 N 1st Ave, Minneapolis

COMING UP:

Minneapolis

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

  • Sonora Grill, (second location) 3300 E Lake St | Winter 2013
  • One, Two, Three Sushi, 318 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis
  • Insomnia Cookies, 402 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis
  • Russell and Desta Klein projects: Brasserie Zentral, Cafe Zentral, Foreign Legion wine bar, wine shop to be named, Soo Line Building | 2014
  • Nico’s Taco and Tequila Bar, 2516 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis | Opens Sep. 3, 2013
  • Minnesota Honey Company, 4956 Xerxes Ave S, Minneapolis, 612.388.4304 | Opens autumn 2013.
  • Vo’s, 3450 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis | Opens autumn 2013.
  • The Rabbit Hole, Midtown Global Market | Opens 2013.
  • Ray J’s, 500 Central Avenue SE (old Arone’s location) | Opens 2013.
  • Heyday, 2702 Lyndale Ave, Minneapolis | Opens December 2013.
  • Baldy’s BBQ, 1501 SE University Ave, Minneapolis | Opens 2013.
  • La Fresca, 4750 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis | Opens October.
  • Keen Eye Coffee, 2803 E 38th St, Minneapolis | Opens summer 2013.
  • Lake & Irving, 1513 W Lake St, Minneapolis | Opens August.
  • La Loma Tamales, old Tensuke Sushi spot in Medical Arts Building, Minneapolis, 825 Nicollet Mall
  • Ling & Louie’s Kitchen, 9th St and Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
  • The Tangiers, 116 1st Ave N, Minneapolis | 612.599.2651 | Opens August.
  • 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.
  • Loose-Wiles Freehouse, 701 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis | Opens September.

St. Paul

Greater Twin Cities Area

  • Castle Danger Brewery, Two Harbors brewery expansion and taproom | 2014
  • Dakota Junction, 2281 Commerce Boulevard, Mound | Opens Fall 2013.
  • Jordan Brewery, Jordan, MN | 2013
  • Prairie Tap House, Eden Prairie Center | Opens September 2013.
  • Cafe Sol, Burnsville | Opens September 2013.

    Courtesy of Honey & Rye Bakehouse

    Courtesy of Honey & Rye Bakehouse

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.

Banner for the Tap: Food and Drink News

Readers: Win Pint Glasses

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 July and August. 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 a book about Minnesota sandwiches and the people who eat them, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a daily video blogger for CHOW. His latest book is a guide to the food and restaurants of Minneapolis and St. Paul called the Food Lovers’ Guide to the Twin Cities. Norton has written about food for Culture: The Word on Cheese, Salon, Gastronomica, Popular Science, Saveur.com, Minnesota Monthly, and City Pages (as a weekly restaurant reviewer).

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4 Comments

  1. So excited for Minnesota Honey Company-I was all ready to head there tomorrow when I realized they don’t open ’til October. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. The Chicago dogs at Kings have ketchup? Kind of blasphemous. Used to like Kings a couple years ago, they have fallen off very badly, but hopefully this new chef will turn things around.

  3. Have you heard anything about Enjoy! in Apple Valley closing? Word is spreading on Facebook that they have.

  4. Another question…when is Bar Louie at Ridgedale going to open?

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