Grlk and A Big Move for Verdant Tea

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A fresh and local twist on a Lebanese favorite and a burgeoning local tea business changes its game in today’s edition of The Tap.

shepherd-song-tap-logo-final-keylineThe Tap is a biweekly feature created by the Heavy Table and supported by Shepherd Song Farm. “We raise 100 percent grass-fed lambs & goats traditionally, humanely, and sustainably.”


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

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Grlk (now for sale)
Via website

When condiment shopping, serious food lovers like flavors that are clear, clean, and strong — when your condiment knows its own identity, it’s that much easier for it to play nicely with other ingredients.

A new Minneapolis-made spread called Grlk (pronounced “garlic”) has a perspective that’s clear as day: eat it on a cracker and you’ll be struck be a Olympian lightning bolt of rich, pungent garlic flavor. It’s made with garlic, non-GMO canola oil, organic lemon juice, organic sea salt, and purified water and goes for $8 a jar via the Grlk website. Jars stay good for 6-8 weeks in the fridge, and each contains 6-7 cloves of garlic.

Grlk is a modern interpretation of a traditional Mediterranean spread called toum. “I grew up calling it ‘garlic sauce’,” says Grlk founder Peter Chehadeh, whose father is Lebanese and brought his own mother’s and grandmother’s recipes to America with him. “It usually accompanies grilled meats as a saute addition, as well a condiment and a marinade. … My mother adapted it to other things, such as sauteing vegetables or seafood, or using it as a condiment instead of using mayo or salad dressing.”

We tried Grlk on a cracker (insanely strong), as a foundational spread for a pizza bagel (tastiest pizza bagel … in history?), and tossed with spaghetti, ham, butter, peas, and sun-dried tomatoes (a fantastic 15-minute lunch project).

Grlk’s texture is creamy and uniform, thanks to its blender-based production method. “My grandmother in Lebanon blended it by hand — it was a little more runny, like a vinaigrette,” says Chehadeh.

At the moment, Chehadeh is handling his own local distribution direct to customers, making Grlk to order the day the order arrives and delivering it that evening or the next day. “I want to give the customer the most fresh product possible so they can use it as long as possible,” he says.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

New Verdant Tea retail and brewery space (early 2015)
2009 E 24th St

The always-evolving Verdant Tea teahouse / restaurant / food-business incubator / gastronomic hydra thing is changing its game once more. Owners David and Lily Duckler are moving to the Snelling Distribution Center at 2009 E 24th St, next to the United Noodle warehouse. The new space is expected to open in early 2015 and will include brewing and bottling space (for Prohibition Kombucha, Verdant Tea chai, and Tree Fort Soda), a taproom, and retail sales space for tea.

Meanwhile, as per their press release, Verdant will leave its distinctive imprint on its current Seward neighborhood location:

[The Ducklers] have sold the Seward restaurant and bar concept to executive chef Katriel Menendez, and his business partners, effective Dec. 1. The restaurant name Verdant will be licensed by Verdant Tea to Menendez and his team, and David Duckler will continue to curate the bar’s cocktail menu, which features many of Verdant’s teas, Prohibition Kombucha and Tree Fort Soda as well as craft liquors. The restaurant will continue to operate at its location on Franklin Avenue.



  • Michael’s restaurant in Rochester (closing after New Year’s Eve)
  • Citizen Cafe
  • Lynden’s Soda Fountain (closed until April 21, 2015)
  • Terra Waconia — closing end of February 2015
  • JJ’s Coffee + Wine Bistro (Lake Calhoun Location — 1806 W Lake St — due for a “fun rebrand”)
  • The Left Handed Cook | Our review
  • Mosaic Cafe | Our review
  • Surly taproom (closing Oct. 25; reopening bigger and better as the Beer Hall in December)



  • Du Nord Craft Spirits sample room, 2610 E 32nd St, Minneapolis | 2015
  • GYST Fermentation Bar, 25 E 26th St, Minneapolis | November 2014
  • Pilgrimage, 2403 E 38th St, Minneapolis | 2015
  • Nighthawks, 3753 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis | December 2014
  • Seward Co-op Friendship Store, 317 38th St E | Summer 2015
  • Erick Harcey project TBD, 4312 Upton Ave, Minneapolis | Feb. 2015
  • 56 Brewing, 3134 California St NE, Minneapolis | 2015
  • Prairie Dogs, 610 West Lake St, Minneapolis | Late 2014
  • Urban Forage Winery and Cider House, East Lake Street, Minneapolis | Fall 2015
  • Lost Falls Distillery, 1915 E 22nd St, Minneapolis | 2015
  • Bradstreet Crafthouse, 1930 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | January 2015
  • The Herbivorous Butcher, Minneapolis | 2015
  • Pizzeria Lola concept TBD, 165 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis
  • Eastlake Brewery, Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis | Fall 2014
  • Surly Brewing Beer Hall, 520 Malcolm Ave SE, Minneapolis | December 2014
  • Vellee Deli, Baker Center at 30 S 7th St, Minneapolis | December 2014
  • Sassy Spoon, 5011 34th Ave S, Minneapolis | December 2014
  • Black Sheep Coal-Fired Pizza (new location), 2550 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis | Mid-December 2014
  • Corner Table project: Revival mid-South / fried chicken restaurant | 2014
  • Betty Danger’s Country Club, 2501 Marshall St, Minneapolis | 2014
  • The Bachelor Farmer Cafe Project To Be Named, 200 N 1st St, Minneapolis | 2015

St. Paul

Greater Twin Cities Area and Beyond

  • Pub 819 (replacing Hopkins Tavern), 819 Main Street, Hopkins | December 2015
  • Wicked Wort Brewing Co., 4165-4175 W Broadway, Robbinsdale | Fall 2015
  • Belle Vinez Winery, River Falls, WI | 2015
  • Skaalvenn, 8601 73rd Ave N, Suite 28, Brooklyn Park | Awaiting licensing approvals
  • Voyageur Brewing Co., 233 W Hwy 61, Grand Marais | Early 2015

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