The Wedge & Wheel and More

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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.

Our most recent pint glass winner is Jeannie Kenevan.

Becca Dilley Photography

Becca Dilley Photography

The Wedge & Wheel (opens late summer)
Stillwater, MN, Address TBA

If all goes well, Stillwater will be getting a gourmet cheese shop by the end of summer, run by the kind of curd nut whose enthusiasm will ensure a constant influx of new and delicious varieties.

“I love cheese, that’s the beginning of it,” says  The Wedge and Wheel owner Chris Kohtz, who is in the process of finalizing a lease for his space. “It’s the tie to the land — it’s the localness of it — just like wine, it’s a great expression of where it came from, of breeding the animal, of what the animal was fed and how it was raised, and how the cheesemaker accentuated or changed that.”

The Wedge & Wheel is nearly three years in the making. Kohtz, the former distribution director for American Public Media and a current River Market Co-Op board member, cites a trip to London as his inspiration — “I walked into La Fromagerie and Neal’s Yard [Dairy] and a couple other shops and said, ‘well, this is absolutely what I need to do.'”

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Kohtz plans to divvy up his precious cooler space between regional, national, and international cheeses.

“I would like to focus at least half of the business on American-made [cheese] — the American artisan movement has just been booming and I don’t think it’ll be slowing down,” says Kohtz, who blogs about cheese at WedgeInTheRound.com. “There are some newer cheese shops that are focused exclusively on American cheese… but I’ve spent a lot of time talking to the people who will be my customers and they’ve let me know they’d really appreciate a cut-to-order service on the east side of the Cites that would also bring in the best from Europe and overseas.”

The shop, says Kohtz, will tap into the countryside of the Upper Midwest: “There are a lot of great young American cheesemakers who are blending what they’ve learned from Switzerland or England or wherever and putting their own unique twist on that.”

Becca Dilley Photography

Becca Dilley Photography

Citing cheesemakers including Andy Hatch (Uplands, pictured above), Marieke Penterman (Holland’s Family Farm), and Chris Roelli (Roelli Cheese Haus), he adds: “I think Wisconsin has been doing some really fabulous stuff … the West Coast, certainly … Minnesota has not been as strong, but there are some great cheesemakers here and there’s room for more.”

The shop, he hopes, will help grow the local talent pool. “I know there are people thinking about getting into it and wondering what it will take, and I hope I can provide an economy and a focal point for those people making cheese, even around the corner.”

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The Buttered Tin (now open)
237 7th St E, St. Paul, MN 55101

Saint Paul’s Buttered Tin successfully completed its $10,000 Kickstarter (final total: $10,801) and is now open for business. Based on a media preview last Thursday, the shop’s emphasis will be on everyday food for residents of the up-and-coming Lowertown neighborhood, as opposed to entering the sometimes over-precious and overpriced cupcake / macaroon rat race as Pastry Chef’s Alicia Hinze’s resume and Cupcake Wars experience might have suggested.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

(Pictured above, left to right: Chef / Kitchen Manager Jason Schellin, Owner Jennifer Lueck, Owner / Pastry Chef Alicia Hinze, Assistant Pastry Chef Anna Berzelius.)

The preview bites we sampled were bright and balanced, with an emphasis on familiar flavors done with subtle twists. The Latin-inspired, avocado-bedecked Huevos Rancheros Benedict ($8) was a particular standout, served on a surprisingly delicate cornbread round.

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45th Parallel Summer Solstice Festival (June 22 from 1-7pm)
1570 Madison Avenue, New Richmond, WI

Blues, booze, and food trucks: These are the ingredients going into 45th Parallel‘s first annual Summer Solstice Festival this coming Saturday in New Richmond, WI. The $5 entry fee includes at least four liquor sample tickets (the number is still being nailed down), plus live music, tours of the distillery on the hour, the opportunity to buy street food, and some enticing-sounding cocktails.

Drinks will include a Referent horseradish vodka-focused Bloody Mary, adult lemonades with fresh lemonade and limoncello, the usual gin and tonics (etc.), and “a couple of whiskey drinks,” according to the distillery’s Ryan Brown.

“I’m kind of tugging on [owner] Paul [Werni]’s arm on that one,” says Brown, “because he likes to leave the whiskey unadulterated.”

John Garland / Heavy Table

John Garland / Heavy Table

The event will feature three food trucks: the locally legendary Chef Shack, A Wandering Fire, and Bee’s Ice Cream.

A Wandering Fire is a project of Maaren and Todd Schweim; Todd is also the Dancing Dragonfly Winery‘s marketing director. The truck is a portable high-temperature wood-fired pizza oven in the style of Big River Pizza, and it can cook a pie in 90 seconds flat.

“It’s not like cheese and pepperoni pizza,” says Brown. “They’re doing artisan stuff like roast duck and mushrooms, doing lots of different combinations of flavors. They’re super cool.”

John Garland / Heavy Table

John Garland / Heavy Table

Bee’s Ice Cream is the project of Breanna Simon, a young New Richmond resident whose summer vocation caught the eye of Huffington Post and KARE-11.

Brown says that festival is partly an opportunity to make up for a weather-cursed whiskey release event this spring and partly an opportunity to establish a new annual tradition.

“It’s great to get people together,” says Brown. “We’re synonymous with vodka, but we make six or eight other things, so it’s great to have people come in and have that ‘ah-ha’ moment.'”

NOW OPEN

CLOSED / CLOSING:

  • Lucy’s, 3025 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis
  • Birdhouse, 2517 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Biella, 227 Water St, Excelsior, MN 55331
  • Franklin Freeze, 2328 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis | 612.568.2630; has re-opened as “Pita King”
  • Little Sushi on the Prairie, 8353 Crystal View Rd, Eden Prairie

COMING UP:

Minneapolis

  • Izzy’s Ice Cream, 1100 2nd St S, Minneapolis, MN | Opens summer 2013.
  • Keen Eye Coffee, 2803 E 38th St, Minneapolis, MN | Opens June.
  • Lake & Irving, 1513 W Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN | Opens August.
  • Verdant Teahouse, 2111 E Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN | 612.284.7032 | Opens July.
  • La Loma Tamales, old Tensuke Sushi spot in Medical Arts Building, Minneapolis, 825 Nicollet Mall
  • North 45°, 1313 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis | 612.332.6000.
  • Ling & Louie’s Kitchen, 9th St and Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
  • The Tangiers, 116 1st Ave N, Minneapolis | 612.599.2651. Opens May 2013.
  • The Nicollet Diner, 1428 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis.
  • Tiny Diner, 1014 E 38th St, Minneapolis | 612.822.6302
  • Marin, 901 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens June 23.
  • Unnamed Gastrotruck restaurant, 2400 University Ave NE, Minneapolis. Opens in 2013.
  • Rocky and Shem’s Ice Cream Shoppe, 56th St and Chicago Ave, Minneapolis. Opens in 2013.
  • Sandcastle, Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis. Doug Flicker’s concessionaire restaurant at the lake. Opens spring 2013.
  • Town Hall Tap, 5019 34th Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Loose-Wiles Freehouse, 701 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis. Opens September.
  • Kitty’s Corner Cafe, 806 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis

St. Paul

Greater Twin Cities Area

  • Tin Bins, near the corner of Main and Nelson Streets, Commander Grain Elevator, Stillwater. May 2013.
  • Sakana Sushi and Hibachi, Plymouth. June.
  • Travail and The Rookery, Robbinsdale. Fall 2013.
  • Forever Yogurt, The Shops at West End, I-394 & 100. Opens before summer of 2013.
  • Egg and Pie Diner, 222 N Chestnut St, Chaska | 612.227.6999
  • Hammerheart Brewing, 7785 Lake Dr, Lino Lakes. Opens in 2013. | 651.964.2160
  • Sawatdee, 13300 Technology Dr, Eden Prairie. Opens in 2013.
  • Osaka Seafood and Steakhouse, Woodbury Lakes, Woodbury. Opens in 2013.
  • Punch Pizza, City Centre Dr, Woodbury. Opens June 2013.
  • Black Sea, 1581 E County Road E, White Bear Lake
  • Crooked Pint Ale House, Apple Valley; another location possible at 40th St. and Lyndale Ave.

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.

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James Norton

James Norton is editor and co-founder of the Heavy Table. He is also the co-author of Lake Superior Flavors, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a regular on-air contributor to Minnesota Public Radio.

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