Minnesota Cheese Festival, Eat Street Buddha Kitchen and More

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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.

July / August Winner: Jeremy Banks

Eat Street Buddha Kitchen
Eat Street Buddha Kitchen

Eat Street Buddha Kitchen and Lounge (Opens Sep. 30)
2550 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis

The spirit of Azia lives on — at the end of this month, a new Asian fusion, sushi-slinging would-be hotspot called the Eat Street Buddha Kitchen and Lounge will open up at Nicollet and 26th St.

Executive Chef Grant Halsne (above) comes to Buddha with a background to match his mandate: training at Stella’s Fish Cafe should put him in the mindset to sling fresh oysters (Buddha hopes to offer two each of East and West Coast varieties), and his time spent at 20.21 at the Walker should prep him for the sort of high-end showmanship that helps a fusion place distinguish itself amid a sea of rivals.

Within a few moments of chatting, Halsne was talking about sourcing fish: “We’re excited about using Skuna Bay salmon — it’s fresh, but it’s sushi grade — they put a parasite-destruction [additive] in the feed so you can serve it fresh without freezing it, so it has a velvety texture.”

Noodles will play a role at Buddha, and for those dishes Halsne had a lucky strike: “We locally sourced our noodles from a company called Canton,” he says, referring to the South Minneapolis company across the street from Everett’s Meats. “They’re making all of our noodles from scratch — our chow fun noodles, our pad thai noodles, our ramen noodles. To be able to get fresh Asian-style noodles in Minnesota… I never thought, you know?”

Dumplings will play a role at Buddha, too, during its weekend brunch. “We’re doing some dim sum — a limited menu of probably six items,” says Halsne. “We’re doing all house-ground meat and rolling [the dumplings] ourselves. We’re putting extra effort into them. And we’ll offer things like a bulgogi Benedict, or a crabcake Benedict with lemongrass Hollandaise.”

Los Angeles-trained sushi chef Tony Gambucci says that his California pedigree will be an asset behind the sushi bar at Buddha. “I’m trying to bring some of that West Coast influence back here,” he says. “When I’m back on the West Coast I see a lot of stuff there I don’t see here, whether it’s plating [techniques] or unique rolls and sashimi offerings…”

“When you come in here, you’ll try rolls you haven’t tried anywhere else,” he adds. “Our Buddha roll (above) is very different. There’s no rice. It’s filled with crab and halibut and rolled in nori, and then wrapped in salmon and topped with spicy scallops and roasted garlic aioli, and then I bake it — the presentation is amazing, and it tastes great.”

Gambucci is also a visual artist, a talent he deploys while plating his dishes, using sauces to paint pictures and enhance the visual impact of his food. “You can get a California roll anywhere, but they way it’s plated can really play on your perception of taste,” he says.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Minnesota Cheese Festival (Sep. 14-15)
Minnesota State Fair Grounds, St. Paul

The Minnesota Cheese Festival is back for another year of cheese and conversation, bringing together more than 15 cheesemakers at the Minnesota State Fair grounds.

Festival founder Whitney McChane (above) was confronted with hordes of cheese-hungry guests last year, a situation that led to unwieldy lines and social media backlash against the event. This year, she says, it’ll be different: a two-day, two-session-per-day format will help spread the crowds out and help guarantee access to samples, demonstrations, and more.

“We took a look at what contributed to that and restructured the format of that event, not only to avoid the long lines, but also to increase the quality of the event for the attendees — so we could cater more directly to the Minnesota cheese lover,” she says.

Cheese lovers should be particularly excited about the still brand-new (and currently Kickstarting) Redhead Creamery of Brooten, MN, McChane says. “They’ll be there with their cheddars and cheese curds. I’ve tried their cheddars and they’re absolutely spectacular, and it’s so exciting to try out Minnesota’s first artisanal cheddar cheese.”

Jill Lewis / Heavy Table
Jill Lewis / Heavy Table

She also raves up the new offering from Alemar Cheese, Good Thunder. “It’s a washed rind cheese that pairs well with so many things,” she says. “As we were going through and figuring out our pairing demonstration, we were hard-pressed to find something we didn’t LOVE with Good Thunder.”

Beyond cheese samples, the event will feature cooking demonstrations, workshops, seminars on dairy farming, a booth featuring the Fortify food community, wine and beer pairing demonstrations, and a dairy animal petting zoo featuring a cow, a calf, a goat, and a sheep. “It’s an evolution of the event — we’ve realized that cheese-lovers come in all shapes, sizes, and ages,” McChane says.

McChane also hopes the event will help the newly established Minnesota Cheese Guild get on its feet. “There are a lot of opportunities to donate even small amounts to the Minnesota Cheesemakers’ Guild to help them achieve nonprofit status, which can be an expensive and time-consuming process,” she says.

Heavy Table readers can take advantage of a special 25% discount on Minnesota Cheese Festival tickets.


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.

    Uchu in Plymouth, MN
    Natalie Champa Jennings / Heavy Table
  • Uchu, 4130 Berkshire Ln N, Plymouth
  • Johnny Tequila’s Drinking Taco, 430 N 1st Ave, Minneapolis



  • 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 | Sep. 30
  • 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
  • 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
  • Baldy’s BBQ, 1501 SE University Ave, Minneapolis | Opens 2013.
  • La Fresca, 4750 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis | Opens October.
  • Keen Eye Coffee, 2803 E 38th St, Minneapolis | Opens summer 2013.
  • 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

  • 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 Pint Glasses

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 July and August. 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.


  1. Lori

    I’m wondering why you continue to say that Bullwinkle’s is closed when it is not?? I was just in there over the weekend. They were surprised to hear this!!

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