The Tap Moves to Email, a Reader Survey, and More

Banner for the Tap: Food and Drink News

This week in The Tap: a new format for the Tap, a look ahead at upcoming restaurants in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.

The Tap will transition in late May to an email newsletter-only format with newly added News and Events sections – SIGN UP HERE

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.

The Tap’s Big Move

After seven years as a Web-only feature on the Heavy Table, our Tap column will be moving to an email newsletter format starting next week. Subscribe here if you’d like to continue following Minnesota restaurant openings, closings, and upcoming new spots.

In the new email-only edition of the Tap, we’ll also be adding news and events roundups to the Tap, drawing from the news and press releases that cross our desks and the many events submitted to our calendar section.

Heavy Table’s 2018 Reader Survey

We’re looking for your input on the content you love, the media you use, and the directions you’d like to see Heavy Table take in the future – please visit our 2018 Reader Survey and weigh in with your feedback. It means a lot to us! – James Norton

NOW OPEN:

  • Tori 44, 2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis | Official grand opening tomorrow night (May 2). A new ramen restaurant and noodle manufacturing facility in the former Victory 44 location from the owners of Tori Ramen.
  • The Hideaway, 219 SE Main St., Minneapolis | “Northwoods burger bar” by Jeff Arundel of Aster Cafe and Jefe.
  • Fish Bowl Poke, Nicollet and 34th, Minneapolis | Soon | A new poke restaurant by Matthew Kazama.
  • The Grand Catch, 1672 Grand Ave, St. Paul | The Wadi brothers and Thien Ly of Cajun Deli have opened a seafood shack on Grand Avenue.
  • Maverick’s, 1746 N. Lexington Ave., Roseville | The reopening of the famed roast beef sandwich spot.
  • Spring Cafe, Como Lake Pavilion (1360 Lexington Parkway, St. Paul) | Hot and cold lunches and dinners and grab-and-go at Lake Como.
Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table
  • Parlour Bar, 267 W Seventh St, St. Paul | The popular Minneapolis Warehouse District bar-restaurant (pictured above) has opened a branch in St. Paul.
  • The Bungalow Club, 4300 E Lake St, Minneapolis | A neighborhood establishment, in the former Craftsman space, focused on fresh pastas.

The Tap: Restaurant Openings and Closings for Early April

Banner for the Tap: Food and Drink News

This week in The Tap: A look ahead at upcoming restaurants in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.

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.

NOW OPEN:

  • MN Nice Cream Cafe, 807 Broadway St NE #102, Minneapolis | Instagram-ready ice cream in the former Empire Coffee spot.
  • Surly Pizza Upstairs520 Malcolm Ave SE, Minneapolis | New-Haven-style pizza in the former Brewer’s Table space in the Surly brewery complex.
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
  • Geek Love at Moon Palace Books, 3032 Minnehaha Ave S, Minneapolis | The bookstore has moved two blocks north from its original location and its Geek Love restaurant is now open.
  • Finnegans Taproom, 817 Fifth Ave S, Minneapolis | The charitably focused brewer has just opened its new brewery and taproom.
  • Prime Six609 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis | A mishmash of everything upscale from around the world, plus a dance floor. In the old Rosa Mexicano space.
  • Holman’s Table, 644 Bayfield St, St. Paul | A restaurant at the St. Paul Airport.
  • Sweet Chow, 116 1st Ave N, Minneapolis | Counter-service pho and veggie-friendly fare.
  • just/us, 465 Wabasha St N, St. Paul | An ambitious-looking new spot in the suddenly closed Red Lantern space.
Brianna Stachowski / Heavy Table
  • Biergarten Germania, 275 E Fourth Street, St. Paul | Schnitzel, pretzels, brats, and other German standards, plus beer. Here’s our first look.
  • Fig + Farro, 3001 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis | Vegetarian food in the semi-cursed former Figlio’s space.
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
  • Sound, 132 E Superior St, Duluth | An ambitious new spot by Chef Patrick Moore (above), formerly of Silos at Pier B.

The Tap: New Purveyors at the North Coast Nosh

Banner for the Tap: Food and Drink News

This week in The Tap: The North Coast Nosh is on the way, and a look ahead at upcoming restaurants in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.

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.

Chelsea Korth / Heavy Table

New Purveyors at the North Coast Nosh

We’ve been hosting North Coast Nosh sip-and-samples for the past seven years, and while the purveyors change constantly, the values of the event stay the same: locally made artisan food and drink, sampled generously, and the time (and elbow room) needed for real conversations between guests and vendors.

Our upcoming North Coast Nosh (March 29 at the Food Building) features many old friends, but there will be some new faces in the mix as well, including:

Utepils Brewing, one of the biggest and most exciting breweries to open in recent years

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

St. Croix Chocolate Company, long one of our favorite local makers of artisan chocolates

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Isabel Street Heat, makers of some of the best hot sauces in the region (or the country, for that matter)

Check out the full list at our announcemnt post, and get your tickets while they’re still available.

NOW OPEN:

  • Holman’s Table, 644 Bayfield St, St. Paul | A restaurant at the St. Paul Airport.
  • Sweet Chow, 116 1st Ave N, Minneapolis | Counter-service pho and veggie-friendly fare.
  • just/us, 465 Wabasha St N, St. Paul | An ambitious looking new spot in the suddenly closed Red Lantern space.
  • Biergarten Germania, 275 E Fourth Street, St. Paul | Schnitzel, pretzels, brats, and other German standards, plus beer.
  • Fig + Farro, 3001 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis | Vegetarian food in the semi-cursed former Figlio’s space.
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
  • Sound, 132 E Superior St, Duluth | An ambitious new spot by Chef Patrick Moore (above), formerly of Silos at Pier B.
  • Hodges Bend, 2700 University Ave W, St. Paul  | Coffee, wine, and cocktails with a side of food.
  • Nye’s Bar112 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | A reboot of the legendary Nye’s Polonaise, in a new space at the Nye’s location, renovated and sans food. Our review here.
  • Sonder Shaker, 130 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | A new restaurant and cocktail bar sharing the site of the old Nye’s Polonaise.
  • Red Sauce Rebellion, 205 Water St, Excelsior | “Approachable yet unexpected” Italian. Our first tastes.
  • Venn Brewing, 3550 E 46th St Suite 140, Minneapolis | A changing selection of brews in this taproom near Minnehaha Park.
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The Tap: Restaurant Openings and Closings for Mid-February

Banner for the Tap: Food and Drink News

This week in The Tap: A look ahead at upcoming restaurants in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.

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.

NOW OPEN:

  • Holman’s Table, 644 Bayfield St, St. Paul | A restaurant at the St. Paul Airport.
  • just/us, 465 Wabasha St N | An ambitious looking new spot in the suddenly closed Red Lantern space.
  • Biergarten Germania, 275 E Fourth Street, St. Paul | Schnitzel, pretzels, brats, and other German standards, plus beer.
  • Fig + Farro, 3001 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis | Vegetarian food in the semi-cursed former Figlio’s space.
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
  • Sound, 132 E Superior St, Duluth | An ambitious new spot by Chef Patrick Moore (above), formerly of Silos at Pier B.
  • Hodges Bend, 2700 University Ave W, St. Paul  | Coffee, wine, and cocktails with a side of food.
  • Nye’s Bar112 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | A reboot of the legendary Nye’s Polonaise, in a new space at the Nye’s location, renovated and sans food. Our review here.
  • Sonder Shaker, 130 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | A new restaurant and cocktail bar sharing the site of the old Nye’s Polonaise.
  • Red Sauce Rebellion, 205 Water St, Excelsior | “Approachable yet unexpected” Italian. Our first tastes.
  • Venn Brewing, 3550 E 46th St Suite 140, Minneapolis | A changing selection of brews in this taproom near Minnehaha Park.
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The Tap: The New Equilibrium

Banner for the Tap: Food and Drink News

This week in The Tap: Some thoughts on getting to “one in, one out” in terms of restaurants and taproom openings and closings, plus a look ahead at upcoming restaurants in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.

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.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The New Equilibrium

The Twin Cities region has seen an unrelenting growth in the number of restaurants over the past 10 years. And the rate of growth of taprooms and cocktail rooms has been almost incalculably greater.

This growth isn’t a mere counting of numbers. It’s also an expansion of culinary horizons. We’ve seen everything from a gourmet bagelry to a $160-a-plate kaiseki restaurant to a brewery/wurstery to an Asian-influenced pizzeria open in recent years, and that just scratches the surface. Food halls are opening left and right. Surly’s massive brewery complex is a destination for food as well as beer, and Fulton has its own food truck at its taproom. Minnesotans are eating more adventurously and more seriously than we have at any time in the state’s history. The shift is part of a nationwide trend. It’s less a question of going out for dinner and a show than going out for a dinner that is the show. Dining is entertainment, and appetites for it have become greater and greater.

That said, the party is going to end, whether through a slow braking of growth or a hard collision with an economic slowdown. We track restaurant openings and closings here on The Tap, and over the past five years, the ratio of openings to closings has swung (roughly speaking) from about 2:1 to 3:2.

There was a boom in taprooms that seemed relentless and permanent, but that’s also beginning to taper off. We’ve seen highly trained and highly passionate brewers swoop into the market to brew prestige beer, and we’ve seen well-leveraged beer entrepreneurs snap up market opportunities (be it in suburbs or neighborhoods lacking taprooms, or in styles and/or price points ready to be populated). A segment of the beverage world that used to be small and collegial is full of new faces and increasingly competitive. There’s always been limited room at the top when it comes to fine dining, but the recent closures of high-profile projects with star chefs (the 510 Lounge and Upton 43, for example) point up the challenges inherent in catering to the upper crust.

As we drift toward a new rule of “one in, one out” (my best guess: an arrival in 2020 or thereabouts), we also approach a glorious condition known as “saturation.” In theory, a competitive market will weed out weak spots quickly, and fussy consumers with lots of choices will reward quality, hospitality, value, and novelty. We’ve seen this work (when we lived in New York City, where great value prospects could be had up and down the price ladder), and from a diner’s perspective, it’s a great place for a metro area to be. Here’s to a glorious 2018 and beyond. — James Norton

NOW OPEN:

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
  • Bull’s Horn, 4563 34th Ave S, Minneapolis | Doug Flicker’s meaty, burger-forward revamp and reinvention of the former Sunrise Inn space. Review here.
  • The Hasty Tasty, 701 W Lake St, Minneapolis | New American with an emphasis on wood-fired food.
  • La Familia Tapatia, 1237 Larpenteur Ave W, St. Paul
  • Book Club, 5411 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis | A Kim Bartmann California fusion eatery, helmed by Asher Miller, in the former Cafe Maude space.
  • Sift Gluten-Free Bakery, 4557 Bloomington Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Hai Hai, 2121 University Ave NE, Minneapolis | New Southeast Asian restaurant at the former Double Deuce location. By the team behind Hola Arepa.
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
  • Lucky Oven Bakery, 5401 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis | Scratch-made baked goods from a former Red Wagon pizza employee. Review here.
  • Loulou Sweet & Savory, 2839 Emerson Ave S, Minneapolis | Yet another rolled ice cream spot; we’ve gone from 0 to 3 in a few months.
  • Martina, 4312 Upton Ave S, Minneapolis | The former Upton 43 space has become an Argentine- and Italian-inspired spot by Daniel del Prado, formerly of Burch. Review here.

The Tap: Restaurant Openings and Closings in Late November

Banner for the Tap: Food and Drink News

This week in The Tap: A look ahead at upcoming restaurants in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.

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.

NOW OPEN:

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
  • Bull’s Horn, 4563 34th Ave S, Minneapolis | Doug Flicker’s meaty, burger-forward revamp and reinvention of the former Sunrise Inn space. Review coming this week.
  • Lucky Oven Bakery, 5401 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis | Scratch-made baked goods from a former Red Wagon pizza employee.
  • Loulou Sweet & Savory, 2839 Emerson Ave S, Minneapolis | Yet another rolled ice cream spot; we’ve gone from 0 to 3 in a few months.
  • Martina, 4312 Upton Ave S, Minneapolis | The former Upton 43 space has become an Argentine- and Italian-inspired spot by Daniel del Prado, formerly of Burch.
  • Urban Forage Taproom, 3016 E Lake St, Minneapolis
  • NOLO’s Kitchen and Bar and The Basement Bar, 515 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis
  • Sisters’ Sludge (relocated), 3746 23rd Ave S, Minneapolis | A fresh start for the popular Minneapolis cafe, including beer and wine.
  • Benedict’s, 845 E Lake St, Wayzata | A “modern diner” focused on breakfast fare.
  • Twin Cities 400 Tavern, 1330 Industrial Blvd NE, Minneapolis | A new collaboration between Scalzo Hospitality and Parasole.
James Norton / Heavy Table
  • Five Watt Northeast, 861 E Hennepin Ave | A second location for the popular Eat Street coffeehouse and roastery, including an expanded food menu. As featured in the Hot Five.
  • Rebel Donut Bar, 1226 2nd St NE, Minneapolis | More action within the “fancy doughnut” sphere, but in this case, miniaturized.
  • The Market House Collaborative, 289 5th St E, St Paul | Now open: OctoFish Bar. As per the Shea designers: “The space will include a seafood market, a casual seafood restaurant, a boutique butcher shop, and a bakery, and we can’t wait to kick off.” Vendors are reported to include The Salty Tart bakery, a Peterson Meats full-service butcher shop, Almanac Fish Market.

The Tap: Questionable Concepts

Banner for the Tap: Food and Drink News

This week in The Tap: A couple of new restaurants are based on iffy propositions, plus a look ahead at upcoming restaurants in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.

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.

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Questionable Concepts

The name of the game in food writing is keeping an open mind. Even if you don’t like tripe, you keep trying it in case there’s a method of preparation that wins you over (to date, I’m batting .000, but I’ll keep trying). Even if you’re skeptical of anything at the Mall of America, you keep trying restaurants there when they look plausible. And even if you’ve had a lot of problems with hotel restaurants, you allow for the fact that there are some great chefs who thrive in a hotel environment (which is how we met Timothy Fischer).

But keeping an open mind should not preclude being skeptical, and there have been a couple of concepts that have popped up recently that have us narrowing our eyes in suspicion. We’ll check them out when they’re open, and we’ll give them a fair shot, but in the interim we have to ask: why?

The first is Prime Six, the new spot going into the former Rosa Mexicano in downtown Minneapolis. The Star Tribune reports on the spot, which is being opened by “soccer mogul” Youssef Darbaki:

“That concept: basically a mish-mash of the other restaurants of which he’s been a part. So think steak and sushi, Caribbean, French, seafood and Italian foods. ‘It’s going to be the Pangea of food,’ said Darbaki … ‘Everything is going to be connected.’”

But IS everything going to be connected? Sure, steak is expensive, and sushi is expensive. And Italy and France both communicate using Romance languages. People from Italy … like to visit the Caribbean? And some island resorts have sushi restaurants?

Kelly Hailstone / Heavy Table

Upon further consideration: This is a mercenary, shotgun approach to food that we’d expect to find at a hotel located near a mid-sized airport. We’ve all seen the menu before: It’s high-priced bites of everywhere, done tolerably well (or tolerably badly) for a steep premium, and sold to business travelers too tired and too well-heeled to really care that they’re paying $25 for a mediocre scallop dish after spending $17 for a gummy, inside-out roll wrapped in three kinds of non-local fish.

This is a long way from saying that the concept will fail. Seven (which Darbaki helped open) has been hawking a similar pastiche of global luxury for years and has done well with it, even getting a recent refresh from Chef Sameh Wadi (as talented a culture-jammer as we have around here, which is saying something). But for those of us who skip over downtown Minneapolis in order to get to the North Loop (or the neighborhoods, or just about anywhere else), it’s a depressing development — confirmation that the heart of Minneapolis food is feeble and corrupt, even as the rest of the body thrives.

The second concept that seems worthy of a metric ton of side-eye is Nye’s 2.0, which will be sharing space with other retail including the bar and restaurant Sonder Shaker. Stephanie March did a good job of summing up the inherent problems with returning a legendary bar and restaurant to the spot of its own destruction:

Screenshot from Twitter

Seriously, what the hell? The 2016 closing of Nye’s was a long, drawn-out, at times moving, and at times maudlin burial for a legendary nightspot that had run its course and met a dignified end. Trying to resurrect the brand (in the same spot, no less) seems heretical, and the tap-dancing done by owner Ron Jacob in the City Pages article about the revival gets to the heart of it quickly:

“It’s not the same old Nye’s. And yet: We’re calling it Nye’s! And it’ll have the same stuff that you liked! But it’s very different. But it’s not!”

This seems calculated to irritate everyone. You KNOW you’re raising expectations by using the name and location and concept (minus the food) — own that. Say you’ll live up to the old Nye’s and you’re bringing it back for real, and stand behind it. Or call it something else and make a fresh honest start of it. As it is, the new Nye’s owners seem to be custom crafting an artifact that grumpy loyalists can tee off on, and clueless newbies can thoroughly misunderstand.

Shaun Liboon / Heavy Table

From Minnesota to Japan, by Way of Tanpopo

Koshiki Yonemura and Benjamin Smith, the owners of the recently shuttered and much beloved Tanpopo in St. Paul, have founded a new venture called Tanpopo Studio. Its business model includes chef-lead tours of Japan:

In Culinary Guide to Japan, we will get to know Japan’s history, landscapes and culinary traditions not only modern Tokyo, but also in the countryside and mountain towns. This tour will start in Ginza – Tokyo’s most famous upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district.  From there, we visit Tsukiji Fish Market, the world’s largest fish market, to learn how to make delicious sushi using fresh fish from the market.  The next day, we will take a bullet train to Nagano prefecture for an intimate cultural and zen experience.  We will be staying at a Dortor, where buddhist monks have onced stayed, and enjoy traditional vegetarian meals near the spectacular Zenkoji Temple. From there we will visit the Suntory Distillery, make hand-made soba and visit wasabi farm, and stay in an rustic, old Japanese farmhouse to harvest and savor food.

Tokyo Ramen Crash Course, guided by ramen chef and afficionado Benjamin Smith, is for the ramen enthusiast and you will learn all aspects of ramen making from professionals in Japan.  This tour will start in Yokohama, where we will attend ramen school, and learn about ramen history by visiting the Ramen Museum and Cup of Noodle Museum. Once in Tokyo, we will attend another ramen course, this time in a famous ramen shop, and then visit the shopping district of  Kappabashi in Tokyo, which is  almost entirely populated with shops supplying kitchen gadgets to restaurant owners and professional chefs. Warning: We will be tasting a lot of ramen in this trip.

The tours host a maximum of 12 guests and seem reasonably priced – it’s $2950 for the Culinary Guide to Japan (includes hotels, local transportation, bullet train, soba class, translator/guide and eight meals) and $1800 for the Tokyo Ramen Crash Course (includes hotels, local transportation, tour guide, course fees and two lunches). — James Norton

NOW OPEN:

  • Bull’s Horn, 4563 34th Ave S, Minneapolis | Doug Flicker’s meaty, burger-forward revamp and reinvention of the former Sunrise Inn space.
  • Martina, 4312 Upton Ave S, Minneapolis | The former Upton 43 space has become an Argentine- and Italian-inspired spot by Daniel del Prado, formerly of Burch.
  • Urban Forage Taproom, 3016 E Lake Street, Minneapolis
  • NOLO’s Kitchen and Bar and The Basement Bar, 515 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis
  • Sisters’ Sludge (relocated), 3746 23rd Ave S, Minneapolis | A fresh start for the popular Minneapolis cafe, including beer and wine.
  • Benedict’s, 845 E Lake St, Wayzata | A “modern diner” focused on breakfast fare.
  • Twin Cities 400 Tavern, 1330 Industrial Blvd NE, Minneapolis | A new collaboration between Scalzo Hospitality and Parasole.
James Norton / Heavy Table
  • Five Watt Northeast, 861 E Hennepin Ave | A second location for the popular Eat Street coffeehouse and roastery, including an expanded food menu. As featured in the Hot Five.
  • Rebel Donut Bar, 1226 2nd St NE, Minneapolis | More action within the “fancy doughnut” sphere, but in this case, miniaturized.
  • The Market House Collaborative, 289 5th St E, St Paul | Now open: OctoFish Bar. As per the Shea designers: “The space will include a seafood market, a casual seafood restaurant, a boutique butcher shop, and a bakery, and we can’t wait to kick off.” Vendors are reported to include The Salty Tart bakery, a Peterson Meats full-service butcher shop, Almanac Fish Market.

The Tap: Restaurant Openings and Closings for Late October

Banner for the Tap: Food and Drink News

This week in the Tap: A look ahead at upcoming restaurants in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.

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.

NOW OPEN:

  • Bull’s Horn, 4563 34th Ave S, Minneapolis | Doug Flicker’s meaty, burger-forward revamp and reinvention of the former Sunrise Inn space.
  • Martina, 4312 Upton Ave S, Minneapolis | The former Upton 43 space has become an Argentine- and Italian-inspired spot by Daniel del Prado, formerly of Burch.
  • NOLO’s Kitchen and Bar and The Basement Bar, 515 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis
  • Sisters’ Sludge (relocated), 3746 23rd Ave S, Minneapolis | A fresh start for the popular Minneapolis cafe, including beer and wine.
  • Benedict’s, 845 E Lake St, Wayzata | A “modern diner” focused on breakfast fare.
  • Twin Cities 400 Tavern, 1330 Industrial Blvd NE, Minneapolis | A new collaboration between Scalzo Hospitality and Parasole.
James Norton / Heavy Table
  • Five Watt Northeast, 861 E Hennepin Ave | A second location for the popular Eat Street coffeehouse and roastery, including an expanded food menu. As featured in the Hot Five.
  • Rebel Donut Bar, 1226 2nd St NE, Minneapolis | More action within the “fancy doughnut” sphere, but in this case, miniaturized.
  • The Market House Collaborative, 289 5th St E, St Paul | Now open: OctoFish Bar. As per the Shea designers: “The space will include a seafood market, a casual seafood restaurant, a boutique butcher shop, and a bakery, and we can’t wait to kick off.” Vendors are reported to include The Salty Tart bakery, a Peterson Meats full-service butcher shop, Almanac Fish Market.
James Norton / Heavy Table

The Tap: Beer and Sausages

Banner for the Tap: Food and Drink News

This week in the Tap: reflections on the primacy of beer and sausages in local cuisine, a look ahead at upcoming restaurants in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.

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.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

BEER AND SAUSAGES

I grew up in Wisconsin, so my connection to beer, bratwurst, and bratwurst boiled in beer and then consumed with beer is pretty close to elemental. It turns out that the sausage connection in heavily German-descended Minnesota is just as strong, and one of the most enjoyable things about the fine-food revolution of the past 10-or-so years has been watching plainspoken German food boom alongside fusion dishes and exotica from all over the world.

A recent visit to the newly opened Waldmann Brewery and Wurstery put a fine point on the brewery boom, and also called to mind quality sausage operations like Gerhard’s and Red Table (to say nothing of dozens of lesser known but also excellent country butcher shops and the stalwart and always excellent Kramarczuk’s). Waldmann’s sausages were good enough to eat without a bun (although the house mustards were certainly appreciated), and while the bratwurst and currywurst were both undoctored classic renditions (no gummi bears, for example), they were done with an attention to detail and quality that were noteworthy. It’s exciting to see new ventures putting out food that is both traditional and humble. If you build a regional cuisine on heartfelt renditions of simple foods, you can eventually stack a tower up to the (Michelin) stars.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Equally great at Waldmann: the stellar, malty but not syrupy Oktoberfest beer on tap. And that’s my transition to the idea that late September through early October is an absolutely absurd time to try to write about beer around here. Between Märzens, big special releases (like Darkness), and all the fresh-hopped stuff coming out, it’s truly harvest season in the beer world. I’ve been beset with beers to taste and write about, and I’ve been mostly floundering, but here’s a quick pass at a few noteworthy sips.

James Norton / Heavy Table

Lift Bridge puts an emphasis on quick travel time between hop vine and brew kettle, and that comes through in the light, piney, almost perfumed and grassy notes of the clear and delicate Harvestör fresh hop pale ale (6 percent ABV, 50 IBU). Like a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau, the bottle stokes your enthusiasm in part because you know its contents are ephemeral. Pop it open, enjoy it with friends, and wait another year for it to come back again.

James Norton / Heavy Table

The glass of Surly Wet Hopped West-Coast IPA (6.1 percent ABV, 90 IBU) that we tried at Pizzeria Lola gave the evening’s special (a pizza topped with carnitas, corn, and Hatch peppers) a run for its money, and that’s not easy — the pizza was one of the best we’ve had all year. Wet is more dank and funky than Harvestör (or most of its fresh-hopped colleagues) with a bit of bite up front and more of a malt presence. It’s got an almost chewy richness, but there’s still a clear, stone-fruity/almondlike note at the back that’s irresistible. We liked the stuff at Lola more than the Wet we tried in cans. Both were good, but the draft stuff tasted even lighter and more ephemeral.

Fair State’s IPA is now available in strikingly designed, brightly colored cans. They’re the ideal vessels for the beer within, which is also bold, but cunningly designed. This juicy, floral IPA is almost more aroma than beer. It practically floats out of the glass into your face, suffusing your senses with flowers. On your tongue and on the way down it offers a substantial but balanced stone-fruit bite that leaves a lingering, pleasant bitterness that is chased away with every subsequent sip. IPAs can be blunt instruments. This one is subtle and lovely without being underpowered or one-note.

James Norton / Heavy Table

And on another note entirely: Indeed’s Rum King (10.5 percent ABV, 55 IBU), which is an imperial stout aged in rum barrels. I’ve been taking care of a 4-year-old for the past four days, so when at the end of Saturday night I had a Rum King waiting for me, it was less “a beer” than “a cocktail passport to a 90-minute trip to a world of tropical adventure.” It’s a beer so thick and sweet and boozy and fruity that it could comfortable pass as a well-mixed cocktail at a tiki bar (although those tend toward the light rums accented by tropical and other citrus fruit, and this one is all molasses, raisins, and vanilla). Like Darkness (and others of its ilk), Rum King is an experience — you can kick your feet up, fire up Bojack Horseman, and check out from all your cares for a little while. It’s pretty much magic poured out of a can. It’s also pretty much the opposite of Harvestör, so prepare yourself for emotional whiplash if you taste them both in one evening. How are both of these liquids called “beer”?

NOW OPEN:

  • NOLO’s Kitchen and Bar and The Basement Bar, 515 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis
  • Twin Cities 400 Tavern, 1330 Industrial Blvd. NE, Minneapolis | A new collaboration between Scalzo Hospitality and Parasole.
  • Five Watt Northeast, 861 E Hennepin Ave | A second location for the popular Eat Street coffeehouse and roastery, including an expanded food menu. As featured in the Hot Five.
  • Rebel Donut Bar, 1226 2nd St NE, Minneapolis | More action within the “fancy doughnut” sphere, but in this case miniaturized.
  • The Market House Collaborative, 289 5th St E, St Paul | Now open: OctoFish Bar. As per the Shea designers: “The space will include a seafood market, a casual seafood restaurant, a boutique butcher shop, and a bakery, and we can’t wait to kick off.” Vendors are reported to include The Salty Tart bakery, a Peterson Meats full-service butcher shop, Almanac Fish Market, and the OctoFish Bar on the casual seafood restaurant side of things.
James Norton / Heavy Table
Paige Latham Didora / Heavy Table
  • Bardo, 222 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | A new “modern American bistro” in the old Rachel’s spot in Northeast, with chef/owner Remy Pettus. Our review of the cocktail program.

The Tap: Restaurant Openings and Closings in Early October

Banner for the Tap: Food and Drink News

This week in the Tap: A look ahead at upcoming restaurants in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.

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.

NOW OPEN:

James Norton / Heavy Table
Paige Latham Didora / Heavy Table
  • Bardo, 222 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | A new “modern American bistro” in the old Rachel’s spot in Northeast, with chef/owner Remy Pettus. Our review of the cocktail program.
  • Tillie’s Farmhouse, 232 Cleveland Ave N, St. Paul | Seasonal cuisine, some of it with a Scandinavian influence, with ingredients from local farms. In the former Trotter’s Cafe space.
  • Wonders Ice Cream, 298 University Ave W, St. Paul | A shop selling the latest craze (?), rolled ice cream. See also: Sota Hot and Cold at 394 University Ave W.
Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

The Tap: Fulton Gets a Food Truck

Banner for the Tap: Food and Drink News

This week in the Tap: Fulton launches a dedicated food truck for its taproom, and a look ahead at upcoming restaurants in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Fulton Beer Starts Up (and Then Parks) Its Own Food Truck

Food trucks are nomads. They come and go freely, changing their location with rapid (and sometimes maddening) frequency. Their fast-moving nature is part of their appeal, but if you’re a brewery taproom depending upon their help to supply the food part of the food-plus-beer combination that customers love so much, you might just want to bank on something more predictable.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Enter the dedicated taproom food truck. Fulton Beer has rehabbed a gorgeous vintage Airstream trailer into a mobile (but taproom-based) Taproom Kitchen, and put veteran chef Scott Pampuch (above) at the helm. Pampuch has rotated through a few high-profile gigs over the past few years, but he’s probably best known as the founding chef of Corner Table, a restaurant that opened strong and never wavered, even after its change in ownership.

Although the Fulton Taproom Kitchen offers a menu that’s casual and accessible (think sausages, pretzels, a charcuterie plate), its sourcing is impeccable. The Kitchen works with partners including Red Table Meats, Tangletown Gardens, Baker’s Field, Johnny Pops, and Lowry Hill Meats, and Pampuch adds house-made touches to everything he serves. We tried a handful of his offerings at Monday’s media preview, held in preparation for this afternoon’s official public debut, and found most of them to be on the money.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

The Lonely Brat ($7), for example, had a lovely coarse grind and perfect seasoning, and the pickles (above) in the charcuterie-laden Nosh Plate ($9 for the small) had terrific crunch and a pleasant hint of sweetness. The Downtown Hot Dog from Sentyrz Market ($7) was all beef with a nice snap to the casing. Not too salty, not too greasy. A couple of dishes (the $6 War and Peace Tipsy Pie, the $9 Cheese Wurst) could use improvement, but the menu was on point as a whole.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

The menu’s highlight is the Porchetta ($7), slow roasted pork loin and crisp pork belly (the latter a Pampuch signature) with fresh arugula, locally grown tomatoes, and juniper aioli on a ciabatta roll. It’s sloppy, it’s juicy, and it’s finger-licking good.

To our knowledge, Fulton is the first area taproom to jump on the natural synergy of taproom and house-owned food truck (although, see Surly, with its in-house beer hall restaurant), but it likely won’t be the last. — James Norton with tasting notes and photos from Brenda Johnson

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.

NOW OPEN:

James Norton / Heavy Table
  • Seventh Street Truck Park, 214 W 7th St, St. Paul | A food hall with a rotating collection of trucks and three separate bars. Our review here.
  • Bardo, 222 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | A new “modern American bistro” in the old Rachel’s spot in Northeast, with chef/owner Remy Pettus.
  • Tillie’s Farmhouse, 232 Cleveland Ave N, St. Paul | Seasonal cuisine, some of it with a Scandinavian influence, with ingredients from local farms. In the former Trotter’s Cafe.
  • Wonders Ice Cream, 298 University Ave W, St. Paul | A shop selling the latest craze (?), rolled ice cream. See also: Sota Hot and Cold at 394 University Ave W.
  • Delicata1341 Pascal St, St. Paul | A pizzeria and gelateria by Matty O’Reilly, J.D. Fratzke, and Noah Barton.

The Tap: Early September Restaurant Openings and Closings

Banner for the Tap: Food and Drink News

This week in the Tap: A look ahead at upcoming restaurants in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.

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.

NOW OPEN:

James Norton / Heavy Table
  • Seventh Street Truck Park, 214 W 7th St, St. Paul | A food hall with a rotating collection of trucks and three separate bars. Our review here.
  • Bardo, 222 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | A new “modern American bistro” in the old Rachel’s spot in Northeast, with chef/owner Remy Pettus.
  • Tillie’s Farmhouse, 232 Cleveland Ave N, St. Paul | Seasonal cuisine, some of it with a Scandinavian influence, with ingredients from local farms. In the former Trotter’s Cafe.
  • Wonders Ice Cream, 298 University Ave W, St. Paul | A shop selling the latest craze (?): rolled ice cream. See also: Sota Hot and Cold at 394 University Ave W.
  • Delicata1341 Pascal St, St. Paul | A pizzeria and gelateria by Matty O’Reilly, J.D. Fratzke, and Noah Barton.
  • Kaiseki Furukawa, 33 1st Ave N, Minneapolis | Classic kaiseki (progressive small courses) dining at Kaiseki Furukawa, sister restaurant to Kado no Mise. $168 per plate (including gratuity and tax).
  • Barrel Theory Beer Company, 248 E 7th St, St. Paul | As per the Growler: “A partnership between Surly Brewing Company’s former director of technology Brett Splinter, former Surly brewer Timmy Johnson, and CPA Todd Tibesar.” Our preview is here.
Becca Dilley / Lake Superior Flavors
  • Hoops Brewing, 325 S Lake Ave, Duluth | Expectations have been high for this new brewery, a project of Dave Hoops, formerly of Fitger’s. And our first tastes indicate those expectations were warranted.
  • 12welve Eyes Brewing, 141 E 4th St, St. Paul | Brewery and taproom in the Pioneer Endicott Building in Lowertown. Our overview is here.