Editor’s Note: Grain Stack is now closed.
On the third floor of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, perched above the Children’s Theatre lobby and Dale Chihuly’s Sunburst, the new Grain Stack has quietly taken shape over the last month. The space that previously held the D’Amico-curated Mezzanine has been worked over by Stock & Badge, the Erick Harcey-Dogwood-Rustica collective (though Harcey has recently taken a back seat to focus on revamping Victory 44 and opening Bent Arrow in the old In Season space).
Named after MIA’s prized Monet, Grain Stack is open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday, with extended evening hours on Thursdays. It’s a counter-service cafe, offering a limited but intriguing menu of refined lunch fare. The salmon pastrami sure looks like an echo from Rustica, just as the “perfect burger” does from Victory 44.
The salads and soups are listed on the menu under “starters,” and that’s exactly what they are — small piles dwarfed by gigantic plates, hardly enough for even a light lunch. Though we expect that may change somewhat. The cheerful, attentive staff seems rather keen on delivering feedback to the kitchen, and we overheard portion size being a common lament.
For a full meal, museum patrons should order one of five sandwiches, served on Rustica bread with a side salad or potato wedges. We quite enjoyed the beef tongue Reuben ($12). The thick, tender pieces of tongue were a delightful corned beef stand-in. Griddled panini-style, it’s certainly not the overstuffed, Swiss-dripping deli Reuben you may be used to. Rather, it’s a succinct, streamlined version with all the right flavors in tow — more focus than flourish, more Cézanne than Gauguin.
Also, check out the new Dogwood Coffee outpost on the MIA’s ground floor. They’ll have Rustica baked goods and a few deli sandwiches at the ready, along with some local beer on tap to help you act like you understand Fauvism.
Grain Stack at the MIA, 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN; 612.870.3000