2011 Year in Review: Notable Openings and Closings

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.

November’s winner: Matthew Ayres of Minneapolis

Year in Review 2011: Notable Openings

Kate N.G. Sommers / Heavy Table

Tilia: Steven Brown’s Linden Hills charmer is the ideal neighborhood restaurant. Kids at Tilia each get a little toy kit as well as a thoughtful menu: stir-fried shrimp, buttery noodles, cream of tomato soup. Adults enjoy delectables like potted meat and a melt-in-your-mouth reuben while pondering 21 tap beers. Coupled with Cafe Twenty Eight (see below) it was a one-two punch few neighborhoods anywhere could match.

Breakfast and lunch at Sun Street Breads in Minneapolis
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Sun Street Breads: Solveig Tofte’s biscuit-heavy bakery already feels like an old friend. Her comfortable interior, creative sandwiches and breakfasts, and skillfully made breads create nothing but sheer happiness, and the coffee and beer selection isn’t bad, either. Sun Street recently began dinner service, too.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Harriet Brewing: Owner Jason Sowards opened his brewery on Minneapolis’ Minnehaha Ave in early 2011, and Harriet has already garnered significant attention throughout the metro beer scene. Harriet’s flagship Westside IPA leads the brewery’s Belgian-influenced roster, and Sowards has begun introducing innovative seasonal and specialty beers. A growing list of over 40 bars and restaurants offer Harriet on tap, and growlers are available from Wednesday-Saturday at the brewery.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The Bachelor Farmer: Eric and Andrew Dayton opened the most talked-about restaurant in town in late summer, earning great reviews and packing the house for chef Paul Berglund’s menu of Nordic-inspired contemporary cuisine. With oft-lauded bartender Pip Hanson’s Marvel Bar downstairs, the Daytons have entered the restaurant business with a bang.

Amsterdam Bar & Hall: Downtown St. Paul got a jolt in the form of Amsterdam, a bar, restaurant, and rock club opened by the Oulmans of Minneapolis’ 331 Club. There are Dutch and Belgian beers, Dutch-inspired cocktails, small sandwiches called broodjes, and a bunch of small plates. Open late and with its strong local-music connections, Amsterdam lends a hip vibe to downtown.

Kate N.G. Sommers / Heavy Table

Republic: Matty O’Reilly did a number on the old Sgt. Preston’s, creating a warm hangout with an impeccable tap list and a solid menu of bar-food favorites. Across the street from Town Hall Brewery, the West Bank now has one hell of a beer corner.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Masu Sushi & Robata: Restaurant rock star Tim McKee entered the sushi game last spring, and Heavy Table’s James Norton wrote of Masu in his review: “From its clear concept to its smart-as-a-whip Japanese pop culture interior to its quirky, well-executed food, the place feels legitimately cosmopolitan.” Sushi places open all the time, but Masu is a special one that sets the bar for the genre in Minnesota.

Year in Review 2011: Notable Closings

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Cafe Twenty Eight: It’s open until Dec. 31, but the departure of Linda Haug’s superb restaurant will leave a void for many. The restaurant was known for its locally sourced, thoughtful menu, a solid brunch, and always having Surly’s latest thanks to brewmaster Todd Haug being a co-owner.

Liberty Frozen Custard: Owners Steve and Vicky Uhr closed their popular South Minneapolis custard shop in January. Opening in 2004 as a quaint, retro space housed in a former service station, Liberty was considered one of the best ice cream / custard shops in the Twin Cities. The building was immediately snapped up by next door’s Tangletown Gardens and is now open as Wise Acre Eatery.

Fishman's challah
Fishman's whole wheat crown challah for the High Holy Days

Fishman’s Delicatessen: It was last February that this local kosher standby closed. Known for its challah, Fishman’s was one of the few of its kind left in the city.

Pearson’s Edina: The longtime geographically-challenged sellers of lutefisk, Swedish meatballs, and lefse (the restaurant was a block east of Edina in Minneapolis) sold and abruptly closed up shop in February. Now, though, the space has been divided into the breakfast-and-lunch diner 50th Street Cafe and Pig & Fiddle, a Euro-style pub. Pearson’s was unique, that’s for sure, and on that busy corner was nice for a guaranteed table after its dinner rush ended about 6.

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Town Talk Diner: Continuing last winter’s trend of high-profile closings was the Town Talk, whose most recent incarnation started with a huge bang and boasted a colorful, upscale diner menu and talented bartender Nick Kosevich. The quality had gone severely downhill, though, and in January, spurred partially or largely by an expensive embezzlement situation, owners Charlie and Jimmy Theros gave up the ghost. It’s a matter of time, though, before somebody tries again in the same old spot with that so-cool sign.

Il Gatto: Almost exactly two years after it opened, Figlio successor Il Gatto flopped despite a 2010 Tim McKee-designed revamp, powerful owners (Parasole), and a high-profile location at Hennepin and Lake.


  • Colossal Cafe, 2315 Como Ave, St. Paul | colossalcafe.com
  • Valley Tap House, 14889 Florence Tr, Apple Valley | 952.431.2337 | Find it on Facebook
  • West Bank Diner, 324 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.333.2211 | Find it on Facebook
  • Five Guys, 8360 3rd St N, Oakdale | 651.330.1780 | fiveguys.com
  • Lucid Brewing, 6020 Culligan Way, Minnetonka. On tap now at various locations; growler sales begin in January. | lucidbrewing.wordpress.com
  • Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee, 1830 Glenwood Ave N, Minneapolis | 612.377.4476 | venturenorthbwc.org
  • Eat Street Pizza, 1931 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis (inside The Nicollet) | 612.874.9125 | eatstreetpizza.com
  • Famous Dave’s, 590 Prairie Center Dr, Eden Prairie. New fast-casual prototype. | famousdaves.com
  • Zamboni Pizza, 184 7th St W, St. Paul | 651.225.2999
  • Kopplins Coffee, 2038 Marshall Ave, St. Paul (new location) | 651.698.0457 | kopplinscoffee.com
  • Social House, 2919 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | 612.824.6300 | socialhousempls.com
  • Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon, 546 Commons Dr, Woodbury | 651.357.1050 | wildbills-sportssaloon.com
  • Fulton Brewing, 414 6th Ave N, Minneapolis. Now open for growler sales. | fultonbeer.com
  • Rye Delicatessen & Bar, 1930 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis | Our take
  • Jason’s Deli, 7565 France Ave S, Edina | 952.358.9900 | jasonsdeli.com
  • Krung Thep Thai Cuisine, 2523 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.874.7716
  • Kyoto Sushi, 13751 Grove Dr, Maple Grove | 763.488.1588
  • Turkey to Go, Alliance Bank Center, St. Paul | turkeytogo.com
  • Lemongrass Bol de la Vie, 8505 Valley Creek Rd, Woodbury (inside Kowalski’s) | lemongrassboldelavi.com
  • The Donut Cooperative, 2929 E 25th St, Minneapolis | 612.353.6089 |thedonutcooperative.com
  • My Burger, 3100 Excelsior Blvd, Minneapolis | Find it on Facebook
  • Ernie’s Pub & Grille, 14351 Nicollet Ct, Burnsville | 952.435.2867 | erniespub.com
  • Stout’s Pub, 1611 Larpenteur, Falcon Heights | 651.789.8888 | stoutspub.com
  • Mezz Lounge, 14401 Burnhaven Dr, Burnsville | 952.892.3456 | mezzlounge.com
  • Pig & Fiddle, 3808 W 50th St, Minneapolis | 952.955.8385
  • Menchie’s, 750 Cleveland Ave, St. Paul | 651.797.6428 | Find it on Facebook
  • Pittsburgh Blue, 3200 Galleria, Edina | 952.567.2700 |pittsburghbluesteak.com
  • Smashburger, 2138 Ford Pkwy, St. Paul | smashburger.com
  • Queen’s Cafe, 2700 E Lake St, Minneapolis
  • Mesa Pizza, 1440 W Lake St, Minneapolis | mesapizzamn.com
  • Rare Steak and Sushi, 755 Prairie Center Dr (inside Lifetime Fitness), Eden Prairie | 952.829.8484 | rarempls.com
  • Technique, 1440 Northland Dr, Mendota Heights | 651.286.2400 | Our take
  • No-Neck Tony’s, 231 Myrtle St, Stillwater | 651.342.1261 | nonecktonys.com
  • The Four Firkins, 5630 36th St, St. Louis Park | 952.938.2847 | thefourfirkins.com
  • Mojo Monkey Donuts, 1169 7th St W, St. Paul | 651.224.0142 | Find it on Facebook
  • Maeve’s Cafe, 300 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis | 612.379.1033 | Our take


  • Il Gatto, 3001 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • Duplex, 2516 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • Fru-Lala, 1315 4th St SE, Minneapolis
  • Gangchen, 1833 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis. Re-opening as Tibet Kitchen.
  • Coffee Buzz, 5690 West 36th St, St. Louis Park
  • Baldy’s BBQ, 1813 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis
  • La Sirena Gorda, 920 E Lake St (Midtown Global Market)
  • Cafe Twenty Eight, 2724 W 43rd St, Minneapolis. Closing Dec. 31. | 612.926.2800 | cafetwentyeight.com


  • Eat Street Social, 14 W 26th St, Minneapolis. Opens Dec. 31.
  • Blood and Chocolates, 495 Selby Ave, St. Paul. Opens late January. | 651.492.4799 | Find it on Facebook
  • Butcher and the Boar, 1121 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. Opens in January. | Find it on Facebook
  • Turkey to Go, Baker Center, Minneapolis. Opens in January. | turkeytogo.com
  • Which Wich, 2073 Ford Pkwy, St. Paul. Opens in January. | whichwich.com
  • Sweet Ducky Cupcakery, 117 W Churchill St #2, Stillwater. Opens in February. | Find it on Facebook
  • American Joe, 344 Wabasha St N, St. Paul
  • Zest! Bar and Grill, 525 Diffley Rd, Eagan | 651.468.9053 | zesteagan.com
  • Eli’s East Food and Cocktails, 815 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | 612.331.0031 | Find it on Facebook
  • Bar Louie, 1320 Lagoon Ave, Minneapolis. Opens spring 2012. | barlouieamerica.com
  • Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis. Opens April 2012.
  • Smokehouse Brewpub, E 38th St and 28th Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens May 2012. | smokehousebrewpub.com
  • Rodizio Grill, 12197 Elm Creek Blvd N, Maple Grove. Opens in 2012. | rodiziogrill.com
  • Dangerous Man Brewing, 1300 2nd St NE, Minneapolis | 612.377.4164 | dangerousmanbrewing.wordpress.com
  • The Original Just Turkey Restaurant, 3758 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis | originaljustturkey.com
  • Still-unnamed gastropub, 89 S 10th St, Minneapolis (former The Inn, Subo, Hell’s Kitchen space)
  • Tibet Kitchen, 1833 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Blue Door Pub, 3448 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis | thebdp.com
  • Humble Pie, 822 W 36th St, Minneapolis. Kim Bartmann’s revamp of Gigi’s. | 612.825.0818
  • El Loro, 2535 W Highway 10, Mounds View
  • Five Guys, 12555 Castlemoor Dr, Eden Prairie; 4105 Vinewood Ln N, Plymouth | fiveguys.com
  • Cupcake, 949 Grand Ave, St. Paul | cup-cake.com
  • Burger Night, Minneapolis
  • Fasika, University Ave and Dale St, St. Paul | fasika.com
  • Rincon 38, 38th St and Grand Ave, Minneapolis
  • Yogurt Lab, 3104 Excelsior Blvd, Minneapolis
  • Selma’s Ice Cream, 3419 Saint Croix Trl S, Afton. Opens in 2012.
  • Cranky’s Bicycle Bar, E Lake St, Minneapolis | Find it on Facebook

The Tap is The Heavy Table’s guide to area restaurant openings, closings, and other major events. The Tap is compiled by Heavy Table writer Jason Walker, and will be published biweekly. If you already subscribe to our newsletter, look for an emailed version of The Tap every other week — otherwise, you can find it on the website on alternating Tuesdays.

If you’ve got tips for The Tap, please email Jason Walker at jason@heavytable.com. The Tap’s Twitter feed has moved to@heavytable.

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