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

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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 Late 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 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.

NOW OPEN:

  • 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.
  • Wooden Hill Brewing, 7421 Bush Lake Road, Edina | The first brewery in Edina has a taproom and kitchen.
  • 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.
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The Tap: Restaurant Openings and Closings for Mid-March

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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

East Lake Checklist: Ingebretsen’s to Pasteleria Gama

WACSO / Heavy Table

The beauty of a busy thoroughfare like Lake Street is the history that quietly builds up along its sidewalks. It’s not a museum, perfectly curated for your learning pleasure. It’s living history. Unpolished. Ever changing. You become part of it by just being there. In a couple of blocks you see the immigrant experience that formed the city we are today. Businesses established by first-generation Americans sit side by side. A century-old Scandinavian market operates just down the block from a new Somali/Ethiopian restaurant and a Mexican bakery. There’s no telling how things will change decades from now, but we think you might find a few tasty reasons below to visit these businesses today. In a way, you’d be shaping history. — M.C. Cronin

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

This week’s checklist crew: WACSO, M.C. Cronin, James Norton,  Tim McIntosh, Becca Dilley

OTHER EAST LAKE STREET CHECKLIST INSTALLMENTS: Lake Plaza, Gorditas el Gordo to Pineda Tacos, Taqueria Victor Hugo to Safari Restaurant, El Sabor Chuchi to The Rabbit Hole, Midtown Global Market, Miramar to San Miguel Bakery, Mercado Central, Ingebretsen’s to Pasteleria Gama, La Alborada to Quruxlow, Midori’s Floating World to El Nuevo Rodeo, Urban Forage to Himalayan, Blue Moon Coffee Cafe to Merlin’s Rest, Hi Lo Diner to The Bungalow Club

n WACSO / Heavy Table

ABOUT THIS PROJECT

The East Lake Checklist is the third Heavy Table illustrated travelogue to explore a major gastronomic thoroughfare in Minneapolis and/or St. Paul. The East Lake Checklist is the Heavy Table’s follow-up to our 55-restaurant survey of independent eateries on Central Avenue and our 72-restaurant series about restaurants on the Green Line. We’ll publish five-restaurant installments biweekly until we’ve documented every nonchain spot on East Lake Street between 35W and the Mississippi River. (We’re estimating 75 spots, but we’ll see how it shakes out.)

This series is made possible by underwriting from Visit Lake Street. Heavy Table retains editorial control of the series — as with Central Avenue and the Green Line, this tour will be warts-and-all.

“From the river to the lakes, visitors and residents can shop local and be social on Lake Street. More information at VisitLakeStreet.com.”

 

WACSO / Heavy Table

Ingebretsen’s
1601 E Lake St, Minneapolis

It’s hard to imagine East Lake Street without Ingebretsen’s. The place has been slinging Scandinavian specialties like picked herring, Swedish meatballs, and fruktsoppa (fruit soup) on Lake Street since many of our great grandparents were in cloth diapers: 1921 to be exact. So, tradition runs deep here. You can feel it in the wood floors, in the Swedish horses on the gift store shelves, and in the hints of rosemåling you find here and there. You even sense it in the people who work here.

WACSO / Heavy Table – CLICK FOR LARGE VERSION

One of the guys behind the counter — we’re pretty sure he was an Ingebretsen — gave us a history lesson. He told us Ingebretsen’s was one of the first delis in the city to get refrigerated glass cases back in the 1930s. An interesting detail made all the more so by the fact that earlier we’d been looking through those very same cases selecting a salmon filet. Those refrigerators have been running for almost 100 years. So, why can’t we buy one that last longer than five years these days?

WACSO / Heavy Table

We visited Ingebretsen’s after the New Year and missed out on the — apparently ridiculous — Christmas rush. “We go from our busiest time of the year to our slowest time of the year almost overnight,” said our friend behind the counter. Traditions run deep. It’s easy to see why this place is so incredibly loved by the families of the Nordic immigrants who helped shape the Twin Cities. — M.C.

*** FOOD NOTES ***

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

It’s hard to know where to go with a deli spread as wide and varied as the one at Ingebretsen’s (everything from fruit soup to lutefisk to luncheon meats), so we kept it simple: a package of lefse ($7), a half-pound of smoked, pepper-studded salmon ($8.50), and a half-pound of whitefish ($5.50). The lefse was delicate, almost feathery light, and papery thin, with a legit potato flavor through and through.

We thought the salmon was wonderful — evenly smoked with a pronounced (but not acrid or overly aggressive) smoky flavor, a tender, moist texture, and good, evenly distributed hits of black pepper. The whitefish was simple as can be — neutral in flavor with only a hint of smoke, a blank canvas on which to paint other flavors. — James Norton

 

WACSO / Heavy Table

Halwo Kismayo
2937 Bloomington Ave S, Minneapolis

A couple of us spotted this place while parking and peeked into the front window just to make sure it was actually open. Our plan was to go wrangle our full group and return, but a gentleman came out and insisted we come in right away. The patrons gathered in the main room welcomed us with open arms.

WACSO / Heavy Table

They treated us as friends immediately, happily filling us in on details about the restaurant, smiling and joking with us. They told us the place had been more of a cafe, but it recently reopened with a full kitchen. They said it wasn’t a cheap endeavor, but it was worth it, because, according to the entire group, it has the best sambusas in town. These guys couldn’t have been bigger advocates for the place if they were owners. In fact, if they weren’t owners they should get a commission for the sales job they were throwing down.

WACSO / Heavy Table

The decor is straightforward. There’s an order counter and a few tables in the front room, and there’s a small room with additional seating in the back. Eventually, the rest of our group joined us and we were seated in the back room.

Unfortunately, the restaurant was out of sambusas, so we’ll have to come back sometime. Something tell us we’d be welcomed. — M.C.

*** FOOD NOTES ***

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

Heavy Table Hot Five: Feb. 16-22

hotfive-flames

Each Friday, this list will track five of the best things Heavy Table’s writers, editors, and photographers have recently bitten or sipped. Have a suggestion for the Hot Five? Email editor@heavytable.com.

shepherd-song-banner-ad-horiz-3The Hot Five is a weekly feature created by the Heavy Table and supported by Shepherd Song Farm.

shepherd-song-green-keyline

Jane Rosemarin / Heavy Table

1-new - one - hot fiveWinter Rose Pastry at Rose Street Patisserie
I’ve seen this before … almost. In the spring of 2016, John Kraus offered a cheerful raspberry-and-white-chocolate version of this pastry to celebrate the opening of Rose Street Patisserie. The winter version is more subdued in color (a faded rose?) but has the compelling, deep flavor of gianduja (Piedmont, Italy’s ground-hazelnut milk chocolate in the form of tiny prisms wrapped in gold foil). The Winter Rose is a gianduja mousse with a caramel cremeux (a kind of pudding) center. The creamy elements sit on a crunchy hazelnut cookie slicked with marmalade. It was a joy to break a bit of the surrounding chocolate spiral and eat it with a forkful of mousse and cookie. Please don’t utter the word Nutella!
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Jane Rosemarin]

Joshua Page / Heavy Table

2-new - two - hot fiveOat Milk Cappuccino at Peace Coffee
During our recent break from dairy, a barista at Peace Coffee recommended an oat milk cappuccino (Peace uses Oatly). Though skeptical, we took his suggestion. And it was damn good. Unlike watery dairy alternatives, oat milk is creamy, froths nicely, and blends really well with espresso. It has a pleasant, subtle oat flavor, but is otherwise neutral. While not as sweet as milk, it’s one hell of an alternative. Even though we’re back on dairy, we’re still ordering “oat caps.” (Tip: The Seward Co-op on 38th Street sells Oatly.)
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Joshua Page]

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

3-new - three hot fiveRoast Duck at Hip Sing BBQ
Our half Red Duck at Hip Sing arrived glistening, and it proved to be wonderfully tender, tasting like well-cooked dark chicken meat with a rich, earthy sauce that had traces of hoisin and soy. It was fatty; there were little bones; but who cares? This is pick-it-up-with-your-fingers-and-gnaw-to-your-heart’s-content meat.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from a story by Amy Rea]

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

4-new four hot fiveSomali Soup at O-City
The soup that started our recent East Lake Checklist visit to O-City was complicated enough that we could have broken it into three Hot Five items all by itself. First of all, it was a creamy take on vegetable soup — deeply (but not overwhelmingly) spicy-hot, comforting-but-not-boring. Second, with the addition of a squeeze of lime, it picks up a beautiful, bright, acid note that changes its character. And third, you can stir in some of the hot, hot, hot spicy green sauce that’s on your table and give it a roaringly fierce kick.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from an upcoming East Lake Checklist by James Norton]

Paige Latham Didora / Heavy Table

5-new -fiveHam and Gruyere Crepe at Penny’s Coffee
The Ham and Gruyere Crepe at Penny’s Coffee in downtown Minneapolis is a satisfying meal in an unlikely place. Located on the ground floor of a nondescript office building, Penny’s has a substantial menu in addition to premium coffee and pastries. The crepes are served with a frisée-and-herb salad, a crisp counterpoint to the creamy ham and cheese.
[Last Week on the Hot Five: #4 | Submitted by Paige Latham Didora]

The Tap: After the Party

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This week in The Tap: Assessing the status of #BoldNorth after one of the world’s biggest parties, 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.

Ben Hejkal / Heavy Table

After the Party

The Super Bowl has come and gone, and we won’t know for months — maybe years, maybe forever — whether it actually shifted the national perception of Minneapolis-St. Paul (or, if you must, the #BoldNorth). For every story optimistic about the area’s ambitious rebranding, there was something like the Onion’s recent headline: Minneapolis Shocked to Discover Thousands of Super Bowl Attendees Left Without Seeing Rest of City.

But if you wandered the hundreds of totally-, semi- or non-exclusive events this past weekend, you picked up on a warm vibe despite the classic Minnesota winter weather. There seems to be a general recognition (as passed around on Twitter and other social networks) that people around here are pretty nice, and (halftime show notwithstanding) the Super Bowl and its attendant hoopla came off with exactly the blend of Scandinavish efficiency and “ope, shucks” self-deprecation that we all hoped for. Celebrities popped up at local restaurants, a few legitimately thoughtful things were written about the local cultural scene, and Andrew Zimmern was everywhere.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Where are we left, moving forward? Well, not surprisingly, our high-end restaurants (from Spoon and Stable to Meritage to Bar La Grassa and more) held up just fine. We don’t lack for dining that can legitimately wow (or at least satisfy) well-heeled visitors from wherever.

Also — less than surprisingly — we are bad, as a metro area, at showing off some of our most interesting street and first-generation food, most prominently the Mexican fare of East Lake Street (and elsewhere) and the Southeast Asian food of University Avenue (and elsewhere). If there was much of substance beyond this excellent Deadspin piece on East Lake Street, we didn’t see it. This isn’t a knock on government or business. It’s hard enough to put a world-caliber event together in your well-traveled downtowns without trying to shine a spotlight on other parts of the cities. And wealth wants to hang out with wealth. Super Bowl tourists were overwhelmingly well-heeled (some of them private-jet rich) and negotiating between their world and a bare-bones pho shop or taqueria would take moxie and planning.

Next time, then — if we’re smart — we’ll push the best we’ve got, wherever it is. If you think of New York, or Los Angeles, or Miami, or Austin, or Chicago, you think of rich, bold, polyglot dining scenes. We’ve got one of those too, it’s just a matter of framing it. — James Norton

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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Sonder Shaker, 130 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | Early 2018 | 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.
  • Venn Brewing, 3550 E 46th St Suite 140, Minneapolis | A changing selection of brews in this taproom near Minnehaha Park.
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 in the former Cafe Maude space. Helmed by Asher Miller. Bite review here.

The Tap: The New Equilibrium

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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 Early December

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 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.
  • 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.
Courtesy of Urban Forage
Courtesy of Urban Forage

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.

Heavy Table Hot Five: Nov. 17-23

hotfive-flames

Each Friday, this list will track five of the best things Heavy Table’s writers, editors, and photographers have recently bitten or sipped. Have a suggestion for the Hot Five? Email editor@heavytable.com.

shepherd-song-banner-ad-horiz-3The Hot Five is a weekly feature created by the Heavy Table and supported by Shepherd Song Farm.

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Jane Rosemarin / Heavy Table
Jane Rosemarin / Heavy Table

1-new - one - hot fiveSeafood Chowder at Corner Table
This was an eye-catching dish that warmed and comforted on a chilly evening while offering enough brightness to keep us interested. The clams, resting on a dollop of brandade, were fresh and meaty. The brandade, a puree of potatoes and whitefish (although traditionally made with cod), was rich and nutty. The house-made oyster crackers were crunchy, tender, and light. Bits of crisp celery offered a contrast to the creamy broth and confit potato slices. And to top it all, the sparkling smoked roe provided explosions of briny depth.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Jane Rosemarin]

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

2-new - two - hot fiveDuck a la Presse at Meritage
As we wrote in our story about Meritage’s (extremely) special duck dish, Duck a la Presse isn’t just an entree, it’s an entire complicated, beautiful, and somewhat brutal process that plays out tableside, from duck deconstruction to squeezing to sauce-making. The end product is worth the fuss and expense. It’s one of the richest and most delicious duck dishes we’ve tried.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from a story by James Norton]

Paige Latham Didora / Heavy Table

3-new - three hot fiveBreakfast Bowl at Coalition
Coalition in Edina now occupies the old Pearson’s Family Restaurant space. Their hearty breakfasts are a far cry from the former classic diner fare. Try the satisfying Breakfast Bowl, made with farro, spinach, avocado, bacon, dried cherries, and creme fraiche. Though it sounds, in part, like health food, it’s flavorful and filling.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Paige Latham Didora]

James Norton / Heavy Table

4-new four hot fiveFried Bologna Sandwich at Bull’s Horn
The Fried Bologna Sandwich at the newly opened Bull’s Horn boasts meat that was smoked in house, a deviled egg schmear, a lot of lettuce, pickles, and spicy mustard. Hand to God, the first thing we thought of when we bit into it, with all its fatty, earthy meatiness, was that we were eating a decent corned beef sandwich.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from an upcoming review by James Norton]

Jane Rosemarin / Heavy Table
Jane Rosemarin / Heavy Table

5-new -fiveChocolate Zucchini Bread at Corner Table
Karyn Tomlinson, the new chef de cuisine at Corner Table has taken an eat-your-vegetables kids’ snack and transformed it into something stupendous. She infuses her chocolate-zucchini bread with custard and tops it with a rich caramel sauce to yield a moist cake that tastes like a chewy brownie, but with a lighter crumb. The bread is served warm with a slab of creme fraiche ice cream on the side. Contrasts in flavor, texture, and temperature keep this dessert in exquisite balance.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Jane Rosemarin]

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.