The Gray House, Cupcake St. Paul, Rusty Taco Minneapolis, and more

Readers: Win Heavy Table pint glasses

The Tap loves restaurant tips from readers, so we’re awarding a Heavy Table pint glass to the best tipster each month. The Tap is the metro area’s comprehensive restaurant buzz roundup, so if you see a new or newly shuttered restaurant, or anything that’s “coming soon,” email Tap editor Jason Walker at jason@heavytable.com.

June’s winner: Tara Kumar of Minneapolis

The Gray House (opens this summer)

610 W Lake St, Minneapolis

Taking advantage of the well-kept space that housed the recently shuttered Risotto, chef / owner Ian Gray is nearly set to open his gastropub, The Gray House.

His concept: a farm-fresh, locally sourced menu of 16-25 items — half seasonal staples and half changing every day or, as Gray said, “me going to the farmers market in the morning and being inspired.”

The menu will include a roast chicken with seasonal vegetables and pan sauce that he cooked at his last spot, Trattoria Tosca, as well as some more creative touches.

“The one that keeps sticking in my mind is a chicken and waffles sandwich,” he said. “That’s the extent of where we could go and have fun with [the menu]. And instead of bread we’ll be doing house-made versions of Cheez-its and Wheat Thins, and making our own ice cream.”

The restaurant is inspired partly by Gray’s wife (and restaurant co-owner), Katie, and several trips they’ve made to Britain to re-visit her heritage. To that end, Gray’s menu will also include cheeses, puff pastry, and other examples of English food.

“The English approach to food being farm-fresh and locally sourced and just kind of creating things on a whim almost is very inspiring,” he said.

The Gray House will have six rotating taps, focused on easy-drinking, British-leaning beers from local breweries. There will be a wine list curated by Katie Gray that will focus on reasonably priced, seasonal varieties; liquor is planned eventually.

“I wanted whiskey really bad, but that’s down the line,” Gray said.

Gray hopes to open in mid- to late-August.

Cupcake (St. Paul location scuttled; MOA location added)

949 Grand Ave, St. Paul

Cupcake saga, take III: Awhile back, Kevin VanDeraa, owner of the popular Minneapolis bakery / cafe Cupcake, announced plans to open a new store on Grand Ave in St. Paul. Hooray, right?

Not exactly, as VanDeraa and the neighborhood were at odds over alcohol and — gasp! — number of parking spots. VanDeraa threatened to pull the plug, supportive mayor Chris Coleman got involved, and everything seemingly was worked out. VanDeraa had hoped to open his Grand Ave store this summer.

Now, VanDeraa is scuttling the Grand Ave plans altogether and heading for the Mall of America, which is likely thrilled to have the “Cupcake Wars” champ on board. I’ve heard of neighborhoods fighting to keep out porn shops and other houses of ill repute, but cupcakes?

Oh, well. Cupcake at the megamall opens Aug. 1.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Rusty Taco (now open)

522 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | 612.278.5630

The second metro location of Texas-based chain Rusty Taco is now open in Northeast Minneapolis — just down Hennepin from Brasa — and with a full liquor license. Our experience with Rusty Taco has been markedly hit-or-miss; now, if your visit is a “miss,” you can at least drown your sorrows in some tequila. Tacos are $2.50 and include varieties like brisket, fried chicken and baja shrimp.

NOW OPEN

  • Somos Peru, 6009 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis. | 612.244.3400

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

CLOSED / CLOSING:

  • :D-Spot, 1993 Burns Ave, St. Paul
  • Alix in Candyland, 5400 France Ave S, Edina
  • Homemade Pizza Company, 830 Lake St E, Wayzata
  • Coffee Gallery, 1011 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Mill City Cafe, 2205 California St NE, Minneapolis

COMING UP:
Minneapolis

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

  • Blue Door Pub, 3448 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens in August.
  • Indeed Brewing, 711 15th Ave NE, Minneapolis. Opens in August. | 612.643.1226
  • The Gray House, 610 W Lake St, Minneapolis. Opens in August.
  • Rincon 38, 3801 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens this summer. | 612.408.7063
  • Cafe Maude at Loring, 1612 Harmon Pl, Minneapolis
  • Bar Louie, 1320 Lagoon Ave, Minneapolis. Opens this summer.
  • Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub, 2724 E 38th St, Minneapolis. Opens early September. | 612.328.1450
  • Well Seasoned, 920 E Lake St, Minneapolis (Midtown Global Market) | 612.886.2489
  • New Bohemia, 233 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • :D-Spot, Dinkytown, Minneapolis. Opens in August.
  • Tangiers Eatery and Lounge, 116 First Ave N, Minneapolis. Opens in September.
  • The Lynn on Bryant, 50th and Bryant, Minneapolis. Opens this fall.
  • New Don Saunders restaurant, 2115 W 21st St (old Kenwood Cafe), Minneapolis
  • Dangerous Man Brewing, 1300 2nd St NE, Minneapolis | 612.377.4164
  • The Original Just Turkey Restaurant, 3758 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Yogurt Lab, 80 8th St S, Minneapolis (IDS Center skyway); 5007 France Ave S, Minneapolis; 309 SE Oak St, Minneapolis
  • Fitger’s Brewhouse, 107 3rd Ave N, Minneapolis. Opens late 2012.
  • Burch, 1942 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. Isaac Becker’s planned steakhouse in old Burch Pharmacy; opens in late 2012/early 2013.
  • World Street Kitchen, 2743 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens late 2012.
  • 612 Brew taproom, 945 Broadway St NE, Minneapolis. Opens late 2012.
  • Unnamed rooftop restaurant in old Shinders, 733 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • Unnamed Kim Bartmann restaurant, 1014 E 38th St, Minneapolis
  • Mill City Cafe, NE Minneapolis. Still searching for new location.

St. Paul

  • Foxy Falafel, 791 Raymond Ave, St. Paul. Opens this summer.
  • Bon Vie Cafe / A Piece of Cake, combining later this summer at 485 Selby Ave, St. Paul | 651.846.0016
  • Louis, 211 7th St W, St. Paul. Cossetta’s market opening new rooftop restaurant; opens this summer. | 651.222.3476
  • Damera Ethiopian Bar & Restaurant, 823 University Ave, St. Paul
  • Chopstiks Cafe, 501 University Ave, St. Paul
  • MN Saloon, 395 Robert St N, St. Paul. Opens this summer.

Greater Twin Cities Area

The Tap is the Heavy Table’s guide to area restaurant openings, closings, and other major events. The Tap is compiled and published biweekly by Heavy Table writer Jason Walker. If you have tips for The Tap, please email Jason at jason@heavytable.com.

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About the Author

Jason Walker

Jason Walker was born and raised in Kansas, where he grew up loving his grandmother’s homemade noodles and weekly fried fish. A summer internship in Milwaukee turned Jason and his wife, Leita, into die-hard fans of the Northwoods culture, and they moved to Minneapolis in 2006. Immediately the quality of food and drink in the Twin Cities was impressive – that even the most unassuming bar usually had a decent menu – and Jason knew he was home. Now living in the Fulton neighborhood with two kids, Jason grows tomatoes, cans voraciously, and badgers his neighbors with conversations about restaurants.

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6 Comments

  1. the homemade pizza by whole foods: ferme

  2. Ashley 07/19/2012 Reply

    OK, is Somos Peru *actually* open? I drove by it in May when it was said to have been opened, and it was non-operational.

  3. Jason Walker 07/20/2012 Reply

    I got an email that said Somos Peru was open and had decent food – but awful service. I hope they straighten things out …

  4. Ashley 07/24/2012 Reply

    Hey, that won’t keep me away–my husband is from Peru, and service there seems to be secondary to the food, which is usually fine as the food is amazing. We’ll feel right at home. Thanks for the update.

  5. Jason Walker 07/24/2012 Reply

    Ashley, I’d love to hear what you and your husband think of Somos Peru … email me at jason@heavytable.com if you’re so inclined. I’m hoping to get there soon.

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