Dakota Junction in Mound, Brasa Beef Dinner, and More

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Rendering from Dakota Junction Facebook page
Rendering from Dakota Junction Facebook page

Dakota Junction (Opens week of Sep. 30) 2281 Commerce Blvd, Mound, MN
Explicitly celebrated farm-meets-table dining tends to happen pretty far from the farm and deep in the city, where deep-pocketed¬†Omnivore’s Dilemma-reading locavores can provide a solid client base for food that is definitionally more expensive than even the finest of cooked-from-bags food service cuisine. But the soon-to-open Dakota Junction restaurant in Mound, MN, will stand that idea on its head — it sits a mere mile down the Dakota Rail Regional Trail from Gale Woods Farm, which is intended to be the restaurant’s green living heart.

Founder Stephanie Bolles (whose career in restaurants includes German food in New Ulm, Mexican in Mankato, corporate food service with Morton’s of Chicago and Planet Hollywood, and a long stint as general manager at the Nicollet Island Inn) was inspired by Gale Woods and decided to build her restaurant around its bounty: “[Husband Matt Bolles and I] loved the farm and everything that came from it,” she says. “And when it came to dining out in the area, we were disappointed that there weren’t too many options for fresh, good, healthy food.” The Bolles saw an opening — a lack of restaurants on the Dakota bike trail — and seized it. “This piece of land is directly on the trail,” she says, “and it was about being somewhere where 400,000 people a year would pass by our doorfront.

Bolles hired the architects Mohagen Hansen of Wayzata and tasked them with building a restaurant from the ground up. “There used to be a train station in Mound that resembles the building that we built,” she says. “I wanted the kitchen to feel like my kitchen at home, because that’s my most favorite thing — to be in my kitchen and entertaining. I wanted people on bikes to feel comfortable coming in, and also people at night — so that it still feels like a special place.” As for the critical detail of food, Bolles says: “I’m working with local farms to source my eggs and my meat. My mother-in-law is Mexican and she went to school for cooking as well, and she has passed on some of those recipes to me. We’ll be making incredible tamales with fresh corn from the farm — we do ’em two different ways, sometimes with pork, sometimes with cheese and jalapenos — so, that’ll be a staple item. We’ll have shredded beef and shredded chicken tacos, too.” Fresh salads and panini will anchor the lunch menu, geared toward bikers on the trail who want something fresh and healthy to grab and go. “And at night we’ll do a few more pastas and heavier entrees,” she says. And for those who want a little tipple with their farm-sourced food, Dakota Junction will oblige with beers from West Metro favorites Lucid and Excelsior, brews from Schell’s (no true New Ulm native could resist), and an ever-varied wine list. brasa-beef-dinner-menuBrasa Beef, More Beef, and Beer Dinner (Oct. 8) Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 at Brasa in St. Paul
Beef and beer lovers, rejoice: Brasa Rotisserie of St. Paul is hosting a special Beef, More Beef, and Beer Dinner on Tuesday, Oct. 8 from 6-9:30pm. We talked about the meal with Brasa sous chef and dinner co-planner Charlie Rund. “We decided we wanted to feature local beers and local farms, and that idea became distilled into the beef dinner,” says Rund. “So many people are doing things with pork — pork is king right now — we wanted to bring beef back.” “The beef is from Niman,” says Rund of the pasture-raised meat to be served at the event. “They hold to our ideas of slow food and the Slow Food movement — it’s less industrial and more concerned about the well-being of the animals.” When asked for a highlight, he singled out the beef short ribs, which exemplify the equatorial influences on Brasa’s menu: “They’ll be served English-cut style — the sauce on them is molasses and lemongrass, with ginger and garlic.”

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The short ribs will be paired with the Excelsior Bitteschlappe Brown Ale: “The brightness of the ginger and the lemongrass really come together with the brown ale,” Rund notes. Beer lovers should note the other brews served during the event: Indeed Sweet Yamma Jamma sweet potato ale (“kind of like a pumpkin ale, but we like this one a little more”), Brau Brothers Hundred Yard Dash, and Boom Island Brimstone Tripel. Rund says that Brasa may do an ongoing series of special dinners: “This is the litmus test,” he says. “We’re going to see if this works, and if this works, we’re going to start experimenting even more with these ideas. It all depends on how this one rolls out.” Tickets for the Oct. 8 Brasa dinner are available for $50 at Eventbrite.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Lucia’s comes to Lakewinds Co-ops Fans of Lucia’s Restaurant and Lucia’s To Go in Uptown can find some Lucia Watson-concocted eats at Lakewinds co-ops. Lucia’s-branded vinaigrette, granola, sea salt, cookie dough, dog treats, and coffee are now available at the co-ops. We tasted our way through some samples (no, not the dog treats) that were sent to us, and found both good quality and steep prices. We thought the house-blend coffee ($9 for a 10-oz. can of whole beans) was mild yet multidimensional and a pleasant start to a cool autumn morning, and that the maple mustard vinaigrette ($9 for a 12-oz. bottle) had a maple syrup-based sweetness that benefited from the contrasting acidity of cider vinegar and the depth lent by grainy mustard. It’s a classic dressing done right. Both chocolate sea salt cookie dough and chocolate chip cookie dough yielded good cookies, comparable to homemade, but $13 for 16 smallish cookies is a dubious value. And we really enjoyed the light, flaky texture and surprisingly delicate flavor of the French Sea Salt and French Sea Salt with Peppercorns and Herbs, but if $17 for a four-ounce jar of sea salt seems like a reasonable price to you, please note that the Heavy Table is seeking patrons willing to invest six figures (or more) to guarantee its ongoing viability as a gastronomic resource for the Upper Midwest. Lakewinds, with stores in Minnetonka, Chanhassen, and soon-to-be Richfield, has been a member-owned food cooperative since 1975.


Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table


  • Nuff Sandwiches, 2851 Johnson Street, Minneapolis | No public confirmation, but also not open for business.
  • Sally’s Saloon and Eatery, 712 Washington Ave SE. Closed for remodeling until summer 2014.
  • Ursula’s Wine Bar and Cafe, 2125 4th St, White Bear Lake
  • Guayaquil, 1526 E Lake St, Minneapolis
  • Peter’s Grill, 114 S 8th St, Minneapolis
  • Buster’s on 28th, 4204 S 28th Ave, Minneapolis | Temporary closure due to fire.

COMING UP: Minneapolis

  • A Cupcake Social, near 38th St and 28th Ave | November 2013
  • Lyn 65 Kitchen and Bar, Richfield
  • Mango Factory, 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
  • Eat Street Buddha Kitchen Lounge, 2550 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis | September 30
  • Coup d’√©tat, 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
  • 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.
  • Lake & Irving, 1513 W Lake St, Minneapolis | Opens August.
  • 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 September.

St. Paul

  • Cafe 99 in the old Bascali’s Brick Oven Space, 1552 Como Ave S, St. Paul
  • Untitled seafood-themed project by the owners of the Strip Club, Lowertown, St. Paul
  • Seventh Street Social, 2176 W 7th St | September 2013

    Courtesy Urban Growler
    Courtesy Urban Growler

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 the Heavy Table. If you have tips for The Tap, please email James Norton at editor@heavytable.com. 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 editor@heavytable.com.