Lake & Irving and Copper Hen Cakery

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Erica Dao / Courtesy of Lake & Irving
Erica Dao / Courtesy of Lake & Irving

Lake & Irving (Opens early November)
1513 W Lake St, Minneapolis

The old (emphasis on “old,” at this point) Blue Sky Creamery location on Lake Street is getting a profound makeover. The location will soon become Lake & Irving, an American food-meets-global cuisine chef-driven neighborhood restaurant (chew on that series of descriptors, foodies) dispensing Furikake Chicken and Misoyaki Salmon (above) instead of cones and shakes.

Lake & Irving is the handiwork of the Ikeda Brothers. Chris and Andrew have been immersed in the food industry since washing dishes and bussing tables in their teens, subsequently training with the Culinary Institute of America (Chris in New York, Andrew in Napa) and working in restaurants in Napa and Hawaii.

“I know we always wanted to come back home and [start a restaurant], and that’s where it all started,” says Chris. “It was always in the grand scheme. A lot of people ask: ‘How do you leave paradise? How do you leave wine country and the islands for the snowy tundra of Minnesota?’ But the caliber of restaurants and all the microbreweries going on right now… we’re one of the hottest food cities in the nation.”

Chris explains that the brothers are hoping to cater to locals with Lake & Irving, rather than targeting the hard-drinking mainstays of Chino Latino and the like: “In our market, we’re trying to be more culinary focused, with the wine and craft beer as the complement to the food, as opposed to the other way around,” he says. “Our food is American food with global influence. We have Japanese heritage — our great-grandfather is 100 percent Japanese, and that comes out in our food sometimes. Our standard base is American food, but we’re bringing in our interaction with food from all over the world.”

Menu items will include duroc heritage pork from Compart Family Farms in Nicollet, MN, burgers featuring Patisserie 46 buns, a kalua pork sandwich, and a brunch service featuring chicken and waffles and, as Chris tells it, “a smoked brisket hash with a sous vide poached egg on top and caramelized onion and grilled peppers that’s phenomenonal.”

The decor and exterior are meant to echo the comfort level of the food, says Andrew. “Our goal is to re-image the exterior to conform to the neighborhood’s architecture — we’re looking for an early 20th century look — definitely warm and cozy, uncluttered, and relaxed. We’ll have a nice L-shaped bar, and a portion of the bar will be open to the open kitchen. We’ll have a lot of wood, a lot of cherry — it’ll be a warm kind of atmosphere.”

And while food will come first, it’ll also be a great place to get a local beer or glass of wine, he adds. “We’ll have one of the more exciting beer programs in the area,” he says. “We’ll use a lot of local breweries like Bad Weather — their Windvane is pretty killer. We’ll have seasonal, rotating beers — I’m a beer drinking myself, and from spending my time out in Napa, I was exposed to West Coast IPAs and all that stuff… but the stuff we’ve got going on around here is pretty spectacular.”

Lake & Irving’s beer will be dispensed from a 14-tap tower that will also feature red and white house wines and a rootbeer.

Andrew adds: “We’re really excited to be back in Minneapolis — it’s going to be great to take all the things we learned on the East and West Coasts, and way out in the middle of the ocean, and bring it back home… it’s kind of cool for us.”

From The Copper Hen Cakery on
From The Copper Hen Cakery on

Copper Hen Cakery (Opens April 1, 2014)
Location TBD

Farm-to-table restaurants are becoming a bit easier to track down; restaurants tenuously claiming to be farm-to-table are becoming downright common. But the idea of a farm-to-table bakery is a fresh one that animates the plans for the Copper Hen Cakery, an unusual bakery and nightspot hybrid.

The husband-and-wife team of Chris and Danielle Bjorling seems to have the skills to pull it off — she’s an experienced commercial baker, and he’s a CPA with experience in start-ups, taxes, and real estate. For the Bjorlings, the Copper Hen is about a sense of place:

“We live in South Minneapolis, and we’ve always wanted a place that serves beer and wine, isn’t a bar, and is fun to go to,” says Chris; in short, “a late-night dessert place!” interjects Danielle.

“We really like the whole idea of being local,” says Chris. “We live in Minnesota, which has awesome agriculture and just in our backyard you can pretty much source everything you can see. We believe in using all-natural things from agriculture in Minnesota.”

“All our dairy will be sourced from local farms,” says Danielle. “And hopefully our flour — and fruit, seasonally for sure, for our hand pies.” Local fruit will also go into the bakery’s planned line of syrups and jams, and the Copper Hen will sell local honey as well.

The couple have turned to Kickstarter in order to get a jump start on the business: “The cool thing about Kickstarter is that it’s this opportunity for all this feedback,” says Chris. “You’d think that it would mostly be friends and family, but we’ve found at least 50 percent of the people backing us are people from the community. Danielle is just unbelievable with the gift that she has, making these all natural [baked goods], with all-natural dyes, and it’s hard to communicate that — so how do you do that? Kickstarter lets us get the product out there.”

Danielle adds: “A lot of Kickstarter projects, you don’t get a lot when you give — but we wanted to give a lot more at each reward level, because we wanted people to taste our stuff. We want to get it into their hands, so a lot of our levels — what we’re giving, if you were to buy it at retail after we’ve opened, it would be more expensive.”

The Bjorlings plan to offer gluten-free options and natural dyes and sprinkles. Mason jar cakes (about one and half times the size of a typical cupcake) will be one of their signature items — a blueberry bacon “breakfast” cupcake is another.

“It’s totally unique to us,” says Danielle. “I used a family recipe as the base and put my own twist on it. It’s all natural nitrate-free bacon and fresh blueberries that are baked into our crumble cake recipe until it’s golden brown, and it’s topped off with our cream cheese frosting and a touch of Minnesota maple syrup, and then garnished with another piece of bacon and more blueberries.”

The Bjorlings are hoping to open the doors of the Copper Hen Cakery on or before April 1, 2014.

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

True Thai (closed)
2627 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis

City Pages reports that after years of trials and tribulations (including the death of a beloved chef) True Thai restaurant may have closed its doors for good. Our calls during business hours yesterday went unanswered. If the closure is true and permanent, it’s a real loss — despite a notable recent decline in quality of food and service, the restaurant (co-owned by Anna Fieser, above) was a Seward neighborhood institution and a regular winner of Best Of accolades. (This sad story also suggests something generally useful: If you take advantage of an unexplained fire sale on restaurant gift certificates, redeem those things quickly.) UPDATE: City Pages reports that True Thai has closed, but promises to re-open.

The Alley Sports Tavern (apparently closed)
100 N 6th St, Minneapolis

Multiple tips from customers and neighbors have stated that The Alley Sports Tavern has closed its doors; unanswered calls to the The Alley during business hours yesterday suggests that the bar has closed at least temporarily.

Heavy Table / Tricia Cornell
Heavy Table / Tricia Cornell

Little Tel Aviv (closed)
3238 W Lake St, Minneapolis

Well-regarded falafel joint Little Tel Aviv has closed, to be replaced by an outpost of the sadly less-well-regarded Falafel King franchise.

Lavvu Coffee House (closed)
813 4th St SE, Minneapolis

We were rooting for the brutally spiced coffee and pizza waffles of Lavvu Coffee in Dinkytown, but circumstances have conspired to push “North America’s only Sami-inspired / themed coffee shop” out of business.


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


  • True Thai, 2627 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis | A re-opening is promised
  • The Alley Sports Tavern, 100 N 6th Street, Minneapolis
  • 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
  • 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.



  • 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 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
  • 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
  • Lake & Irving, 1513 W Lake St, Minneapolis | Opens November 2013
  • 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

  • Jake’s Wayback Burgers, 8470 City Center Dr, Woodbury | 2013
  • Blucy’s Roadside in Blaine
  • Castle Danger Brewery, Two Harbors brewery expansion and taproom | 2014
  • Dakota Junction, 2281 Commerce Blvd, Mound | Opens week of Sep. 30.
  • Jordan Brewery, Jordan, MN | 2013
  • Prairie Tap House, Eden Prairie Center | Opens September 2013.
  • Cafe Sol, Burnsville | Opens September 2013.

    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


  1. Elizabeth

    Alley bar is closed for construction. I heard that the owners didn’t tell the waitstaff before closing.

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