Birchwood Kickstarter and A Cupcake Social Storefront

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From the Birchwood Cafe website
From the Birchwood Cafe website

Birchwood Cafe (Renovation Kickstarter starts next week)
3311 E 25th St, Minneapolis, MN

Eighteen years after the Birchwood Cafe in Seward opened its doors, the neighborhood landmark is ready to usher in a new era. Birchwood owner Tracy Singleton is kicking off an ambitious Kickstarter campaign to finance a major renovation of the restaurant.

“We are going to be asking for $100,000 and our campaign will run for 29 days, from Sunday Oct. 27, until Sunday Nov. 24 at 8pm,” Singleton told us via email. The renovation will add 1,400 square feet to the cafe, increase seating in the dining room and create an optionally private dining room space, boost the restaurant’s refrigeration and storage capacity, and add “increased firepower” to its often swamped kitchen.

“My employees don’t have the right facilities to do their job,” said Singleton in a second interview, by phone. “We started with four burners and now we have six. If you see what comes off those six burners at brunch, you would be amazed — and you would be amazed that no one has died in the process. We’ve crammed so many cooks back there at brunch to kick out how much food we do … .”

And if you’ve ever been to brunch or even a busy dinner at the Birchwood you know what Singleton is talking about: the line out the door, the chaos, the highly compressed energy of an overstuffed kitchen working overtime to get the food out.

Renovations will also address the environmental footprint of the restaurant. “We want to remodel in a way that’s in line with the values of the Birchwood,” says Singleton. “We want to put in a solar array on the roof of the addition, and a rain garden that will help with storm water management … we’re adding some higher energy efficient equipment for heating and air conditioning. And we’re trying to do a vestibule, but if we can’t, we’ll do some kind of air curtain.”

For Singleton, the Kickstarter is not just a way to upgrade Birchwood’s capacity; it’s a way to reaffirm the restaurant’s link with its neighborhood. “Here’s a way you can participate and grow with us — it tightens that relationship we have with the community,” she says. The relationship between the cafe’s building and Seward goes back to well before Singleton’s time — the Birchwood was originally a dairy, and later a grocery store that was at the heart of the neighborhood’s identity. When Singleton discovered the Birchwood’s location, it had fallen on some rough times.

“Originally we were advised against investing in this location because this neighborhood was considered ‘less than savory,'” she recalls, citing an era in which many were afraid to drive down Franklin Avenue at night “without a bulletproof vest.” “Now Seward is super sweet! We’ve put Seward on the map. Not only that, but in the Twin Cities we’ve helped grow a local food scene that’s the envy of the nation. I think this location is worth investing in again.

“If you look back on the growth of the local food movement in the Twin Cities,” Singleton continues, “I think we’ve really played a role in growing and leading the effort to pay attention not just to where the food comes from, but how it comes to your plate. And I’m really excited that what we’ve been doing has become more and more relevant.”

Birchwood’s Kickstarter campaign kickoff and 18th Anniversary Party runs from 5-9pm on Sunday, Oct. 27, and will feature local beer (Harriet, Summit, Indeed, Surly, and Rush River), wine donated by the Wine Company and Vintage One, local musicians, firemen and a fire truck at 6pm, plus a live launch of the campaign on a big screen and special guest appearances by local food activist Megan O’Hara and her husband, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. Among the rewards being offered by the Kickstarter campaign will be dinners cooked at the new Birchwood by guest chefs including J.D. Fratzke, Mike Phillips, Steven Brown, Joe Hatch-Surisook, Alex Roberts, and more. The campaign’s social media tag is #gobirchwoodgo.

From A Cupcake Social's website
From A Cupcake Social’s website

A Cupcake Social (Opens Late November, 2013)
3800 28th Ave S, Minneapolis

After three years of slinging cupcakes through the window of their food truck, A Cupcake Social has officially outgrown its panel van. The gals behind the mobile “gourmet cupcake boutique,” Jess Stone and Suzette Herr, are putting down roots and opening up a brick and mortar location in South Minneapolis on the corner of 38th Street and 28th Avenue.

“The number one question we get from customers is, ‘Where is your store?’ says Stone. “This made us realize there is a demand for our products beyond our food truck. Our thought is we need to give customers what they want, when they want it, and the limited hours and locations of the food truck can’t do that.”

In addition to cupcakes, the new location will allow them to expand their menu of homemade ice creams beyond vanilla bean, which is the only flavor currently offered in the truck. They also plan to use the space to host kid birthday parties, where diminutive would-be pastry chefs can decorate their own cupcakes.

Cupcake Social certainly didn’t waste any time cozying up to their new neighbors across the street, Northbound Brewery. For Northbound’s one-year anniversary, they created a cupcake that incorporated their Smokehouse Porter and Smoked Bacon, which they intend to make a somewhat regular menu item at the shop.

Like most in the food truck game, the pair plans to put away their mobile bakery for the winter very soon. The scheduled late-November opening of their storefront cupcakery should ensure your Raspberry Burst desires are sated throughout the cold, dark days that lay ahead.

– Ryan Burk

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table
Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Common Roots Cafe (Fundraiser for Jefferson Elementary)
2558 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis

From an email from Common Roots founder Danny Schwartzman: “[Today] from 3 pm to 11 pm we will be donating 100% of all sales towards a new salad bar for Jefferson Elementary. We’ve been working with the Minneapolis Nutrition Services for a number of years now and are really happy to see they’ve been making great progress in the schools. They have been rolling out salad bars with fresh produce and health grains across the district. We need to raise $15,000 to cover the costs of the salad bar at Jefferson and are hopeful that [today] will take a big bite out of that goal.”

Nicollet Diner (Construction underway)
1428 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis

From the Facebook page of the Nicollet Diner: “After many unforeseeable delays, expenses, changes and adventures I am excited to report things are finally back on track and only moving forward! If you have been by the last few weeks you may have noticed crews working. We have now completed demolition and are working on some structural details this week. Next week we will finally be able to see progress in the space as the build out begins. More to come, we sincerely appreciate your support!”


Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
  • The Torpedo Room (at Eat Street Social), 18 W 26th St, Minneapolis | Our visit
  • Perro Creek Tavern, Bayport, MN
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table


  • The Bikery, 904 4th St S, Stillwater
  • True Thai, 2627 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis | A re-opening is promised
  • Jerabek’s New Bohemian, 63 W Winifred St, St Paul
  • Heidi’s, 2903 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis | Closing end of 2013 | A re-boot is promised
  • Lavvu Coffee House, 813 4th St SE Minneapolis
  • St. Louis Park Woodfire Grill, 6501 Wayzata Blvd, St. Louis Park
  • Little Tel Aviv, 3238 W Lake St, Minneapolis
  • Sally’s Saloon and Eatery, 712 Washington Ave SE | Closed for remodeling until summer 2014
  • Buster’s on 28th, 4204 S 28th Ave, Minneapolis | Temporary closure due to fire



  • Kyatchi, 3758 Nicollet Ave. South
  • Sociable Cider Werks, 1500 Fillmore St NE, Minneapolis
  • Little Szechuan Stadium Village, 304 Oak St SE, Minneapolis
  • Warming House Drinking Chocolate winter food truck | December 2013
  • A Cupcake Social, near 38th St and 28th Ave | November 2013
  • Lyn 65 Kitchen and Bar, Richfield
  • Mango Sushi and Desserts, 233 Cedar Ave | 2013
  • The Triton, 1610 Harmon Pl, Minneapolis | Late Fall 2013
  • Betty Danger’s Country Club, 2519 Marshall St, Minneapolis | Early Spring 2014
  • Hammer & Sickle Vodka Bar, 1300 Lagoon Ave, Minneapolis | Fall 2013
  • Coup d’état, Uptown Minneapolis | Late Fall 2013
  • Day Block Brewing Company, 1105 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis | Fall 2013
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
  • Sonora Grill, (second location) 3300 E Lake St | Winter 2013
  • Insomnia Cookies, 402 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis | 2013
  • Russell and Desta Klein projects: Brasserie Zentral, Cafe Zentral, Foreign Legion wine bar, wine shop to be named, Soo Line Building | 2014
  • Minnesota Honey Company, 4956 Xerxes Ave S, Minneapolis, 612.388.4304 | Opens autumn 2013
  • The Rabbit Hole, Midtown Global Market | Opens 2013
  • Ray J’s, 500 Central Avenue SE (old Arone’s location) | Opens 2013
  • Heyday, 2702 Lyndale Ave, Minneapolis | Opens February 2014
  • La Fresca, 4750 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis | Opens October 2013
  • Lake & Irving, 1513 W Lake St, Minneapolis | Opens November 2013 | Our preview
  • Ling & Louie’s Kitchen, 9th St and Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
  • The Nicollet Diner, 1428 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Tiny Diner, 1014 E 38th St, Minneapolis | 612.822.6302
  • Unnamed Gastrotruck restaurant, 2400 University Ave NE, Minneapolis | Opens 2013
  • Rocky and Shem’s Ice Cream Shoppe, 56th St and Chicago Ave, Minneapolis | Opens 2013
  • Loose-Wiles Freehouse, 701 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis | Opens 2013

St. Paul

  • Cafe 99 in the old Bascali’s Brick Oven Space, 1552 Como Ave. South, St. Paul
  • Untitled seafood-themed project by the owners of the Strip Club, Lowertown, St. Paul
Courtesy Urban Growler
Courtesy Urban Growler

Greater Twin Cities Area

  • Patrick’s Bakery Tarte Flambee restaurant, I-94 & Hemlock Ln, Maple Grove, MN | January 2014
  • Jake’s Wayback Burgers, 8470 City Center Dr, Woodbury | 2013
  • Castle Danger Brewery, Two Harbors brewery expansion and taproom | 2014
  • Jordan Brewery, Jordan, MN | 2013
  • Cafe Sol, Burnsville | Opening in doubt

    Courtesy of Honey & Rye Bakehouse
    Courtesy of Honey & Rye Bakehouse

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

Readers: Win The Secret Atlas of North Coast Food

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 September and October. 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