French Hen on Selby Offers French-Inspired Fare

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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

October’s winner: John Champe of Minneapolis

French Hen (now open)

518 Selby Ave, St. Paul | 651.222.6201

One Selby Ave stretch is suddenly awash in breakfast-lunch options.

Earlier in 2012, Bon Vie Cafe owner Mary Zahasky moved her cafe a block away and combined it with her A Piece of Cake bakery. Now, Robin Rivard, owner of Bon Vie’s old building, has opened French Hen, a French-inspired cafe serving breakfast, lunch, coffee, and baked goods. Rivard runs the neighboring Fleur de Lis flower shop and decided she wanted a more complementary business.

“I own the building and have been in the spot since 1983,” Rivard said. “We’ve had many different restaurant tenants and I wanted something that would work together with the flower shop to the benefit of both businesses, so I decided to try my hand in the restaurant business after years away.”

Rivard said French Hen serves “French comfort food” like croque monsieur and madames, French onion soup, and other small plates, salads, and sandwiches. There are also specialties like the Creole Market, which is andouille sausage and root vegetable hash with hollandaise and creole spices, and the French Quarter sandwich, served on a croissant bun with andouille and cheese.

Baking is done in house by Cafe Latte veteran Judy Deck and includes a variety of breads and treats like apple turnovers, pumpkin ginger spice cake, and triple chocolate truffle cake. There’s espresso, free wi-fi, and beer and wine is on a bring-your-own basis but may be expanded in the future, Rivard said.

But about that proximity to Bon Vie …

“We’re trying to be different enough so that there’s room for everyone,” she said. “The menus are quite different, and we have a lot more lunch and salad options, too.”

French Hen is open until 4pm weekdays and 2:30pm weekends.

Kinney Creek Brewery (now open)

1016 7th St NW, Rochester | 507.282.2739

Just opened over the weekend, Kinney Creek is Rochester’s first brewery since the 1920s. Brewmaster Donovan Seitz first got the bug during a visit to the Samuel Adams brewery in Boston, and after a few years of development got Kinney Creek and its taproom off the ground. Seitz brews a wide variety of styles and has 11 beers in all, including a mocha stout, a smoked porter, and an IPA. He’s currently offering a limited-edition bourbon ale, too.

Look for John Garland’s profile of Kinney Creek for the Tap Room Directory later this week.

Brau Brothers Brewpub (in development)

911 Michigan Rd, Marshall

The terrific Brau Brothers brewery in tiny Lucan has plans in the works for a brewpub about 25 miles away on the outskirts of Marshall. Last week, the Marshall City Council approved a conditional use permit for the building, taking the brewpub one step closer to reality.

It’s a ways down the road, but assuming the Brau Brothers brewpub eventually opens, it, like Kinney Creek, is another terrific sign for Minnesota’s statewide beer scene. I was in Willmar recently and was excited to find a terrific local craft beer selection at the gigantic Westside Liquor.

Publika Tea and Coffee Union (now open)

1315 4th St SE, Minneapolis | 612.378.0700

Publika Tea and Coffee Union opened recently in Dinkytown, serving Dogwood coffee, snacks, and baked goods, and bubble tea. The new shop is already touting its craft-coffee aspirations and last week hosted a “latte art throwdown” where baristas competed by making the prettiest drinks. Ooh, la la.

But hey, Dogwood coffee is some good stuff, and it’s nice to know there’s yet another place to get it.

Bullpen Sports Saloon (now open)

395 Robert St N, St. Paul | 651.335.7503

Just opened yesterday in the old Buttery space in downtown St. Paul, Bullpen Sports Saloon hopes to find a niche by touting the “state’s biggest bloody mary bar” on weekends. The menu is basic bar food — apps, burgers, dogs, etc. — but any new bar in downtown St. Paul is newsworthy. Plus, it was a shame to see that beautiful old corner space vacant.



  • King and I Thai, 1346 LaSalle Ave S, Minneapolis. Closing Dec. 17. | 612.332.6928
  • The Public House, 700 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis
  • Kikugawa, 43 Main St SE, Minneapolis
  • Tii Cup, 6521 Nicollet Ave, Richfield. Closing end of 2012. | 612.594.6521
  • Southeast Asia Kitchen, 406 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis
  • Axel’s Bonfire, 3000 Harbor Ln N, Plymouth
  • Pierre’s Bistro, 2221 W 50th St, Minneapolis


  • Northgate Brewing, 3134 California St NE, Minneapolis | 612.234.1056
  • Smack Shack, Washington Ave N and 6th Ave N, Minneapolis.
  • Blue Door Pub, 3448 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Dangerous Man Brewing, 1300 2nd St NE, Minneapolis | 612.209.2626
  • One Two Three Sushi, 80 S 8th St (IDS Center Skyway), Minneapolis. Opens early 2013.
  • The Original Just Turkey Restaurant, 3758 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Rincon 38, 3801 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.408.7063
  • Red Cow, 3624 W 50th St, Minneapolis. Opens in 2013.
  • Burch, 1942 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. Isaac Becker’s planned steakhouse in old Burch Pharmacy; opens in late 2012 / early 2013.
  • 612 Brew taproom, 945 Broadway St NE, Minneapolis. Opens late 2012. | 612.217.0437
  • Origami, 1352 Lagoon Ave, Minneapolis. Moving from Minnetonka location.
  • Seward Cafe, 2129 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis. Opening for dinner service. | 612.332.1011
  • Broders Wine Bar, 2221 W 50th St, Minneapolis
  • Parka, 4023 E Lake St, Minneapolis. Opens early 2013.
  • Tiny Diner, 1014 E 38th St, Minneapolis | 612.822.6302
  • Spill the Wine, Lake and Bryant, Minneapolis. Moving from downtown location in April 2013. | 612.339.3388
  • Morrissey’s Irish Pub, 913 W Lake St, Minneapolis. Opens early 2013.
  • Rocky and Shem’s Ice Cream Shoppe, 56th St and Chicago Ave, Minneapolis. Opens late 2012 / early 2013.
  • Sandcastle, Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis. Doug Flicker’s concessionaire restaurant at the lake. Opens spring 2013.
  • Town Hall Tap, 5019 34th Ave S, Minneapolis

St. Paul

  • Bangkok Thai Deli, 333 University Ave, St. Paul. Moving from old location; opens early December. | 651.224.4300
  • Sakana Sushi & Asian Bistro, 740 Cleveland Ave S, St. Paul
  • Bang Brewing, 2320 Capp Rd, St. Paul. Opens in 2013.

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 Heavy Table writer Jason Walker. If you have tips for The Tap, please email Jason at