This week in the Tap: a popular food truck gets set to open a bricks-and-mortar location in Lakeville, and an upcoming food truck takes beer-battered fish to the masses by way of the taprooms.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Motley Crews Heavy Metal Grill (going bricks and mortar as The Heavy Metal Grill)
20851 Holyoke Ave, Lakeville, MN
According to Motley Crews Heavy Metal Grill founder Marty Richie, his truck was booked for almost 400 events in 2014. “In a 365-day year,” he added, with a laugh. That powerful public yen for Motley Crews’s fare (including Phillys and brat burgers) and what Richie describes as a lack of restaurants in Lakeville have created an opening for a jump to bricks and mortar. And so this week, Richie signed a long-term lease for a spot in downtown Lakeville (above) that is set to open June 1.
Richie worked with Metro Equity Management to lock down the space located near the Lakeville Area Arts Center and next door to a (yet unnamed) microbrewery. “They’ve been wonderful people to work with,” he says of Metro Equity. “We reached out to them about the property, and they loved the concept, they loved the truck, and they loved us — so we all jumped in bed for 10 years today.”
Richie sees the plan and the space as a perfect fit for their idea. “I think Lakeville will embrace a new restaurant, particularly a burger joint,” he says. “There’s really nowhere in Lakeville to get a burger and a beer. It’s pretty barren out here.”
The Heavy Metal Grill’s June opening is timed to give Richie time to gear up for Lakeville’s big summer festival, the Pan-O-Prog, which runs from July 4 through 12. “I want to work the bugs out before the tsunami comes,” says Richie. “That’s 20,- 25,000 people, and we’re in the heart of Pan-o-Prog, so we’ll be just inundated.”
The restaurant’s menu will expand upon the truck’s limited, sandwich-driven offerings, says Richie. “We’re going to offer the classics [from the truck menu], and add to them. We’re going to do burgers, and some deep-fried stuff, like fresh-cut fries and Buffalo shrimp. We’re going to do some wings and a Jucy Lucy, and if everything goes as planned, we’re going to do brick oven pizza. We’re also going to have a full bar.”
As for the truck, it’ll slow down, but it won’t go idle. “The trend has been when a truck opens a bricks-and-mortar location, the truck gets parked and forgotten,” says Richie. “I don’t want to do that; I want to stay true to my roots.”
Motley Crews joins an increasingly long list of local trucks that have made the leap to bricks and mortar, including World Street Kitchen, Red Wagon Pizza, Sushi Fix, and Sassy Spoon. Vellee Deli is set to open a space in downtown Minneapolis later this year, and gourmet hot dog pop-up Prairie Dogs is gearing up to open its own space on Lake Street.
Urmila Ramakrishnan contributed to this report.
Brooks High Beer Battered (Kickstarter in progress)
It’s hard to hit the food truck sweet spot of simple-enough-to-sling-from-a-truck yet intriguing-enough-to-draw-a-crowd. The two founders of Brooks High Beer Battered are betting on a new twist on a Minnesota classic — the walleye sandwich. “Fish is definitely something near and dear to Minnesotan hearts, so we wanted to do something with that,” says Pete Toft. Toft met business partner Brett Drake while working at the Tin Fish in Minneapolis, and they’re hoping to harness their experience to create a reinvention of a classic Upper Midwestern comfort food.
“We knew we didn’t want to just do the typical beer batter,” says Toft. “As much as it’s a delicious food, it’s not anything new or unique, and we recognized this boom of the craft beer scene that’s been going on in the Midwest and all over the country.” The answer: team up with breweries, and use their lightest and darkest beers to turn out battered fish that reflects the flavor and character of the brew.
Brooks High Beer Battered has teamed up with three breweries to date and is hoping to work with a few more. At the moment, the truck will visit (and use beer from) Bauhaus Brew Labs, Tin Whiskers Brewing Company, and LynLake Brewery.
“When we batter something, we want to make something that evokes the flavors of the craft beer,” says Toft. “So many beer battered fish places come up with something that is pretty greasy in the end. We wanted to do something that didn’t have that and also included the unique ideas that come with the beer.”
The Brooks High Beer Battered truck is shooting for an early summer launch with a focused menu including light and dark battered sandwiches, a sampler platter (walleye bites with both light and dark batter), cheese curds, hand-cut fries, and a few rotating dishes drawn from updates of Midwestern favorites like mac and cheese.
Toft and Drake are nearly halfway to their $25,000 goal on Kickstarter and offer rewards with a solid retail value — a $12 pledge, for example, nets a sandwich and an order of fries. “The outpouring of support has been great,” says Toft. “It’s humbling and exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time.”
- Red Cow (third location), 208 First Ave N, Minneapolis | Our review of the Edina location
- Voyageur Brewing Co., 233 W Hwy 61, Grand Marais
- Afro Deli, 7th Place Pedestrian Mall, St. Paul
- Mon Petit Chéri Bakery, 2401 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis
- New Bohemia, 8040 Olson Memorial Hwy, Golden Valley | Our review of the Northeast location
- Anelace Coffee, 2402 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis
- Sassy Spoon, 5011 34th Ave S, Minneapolis | As featured in the Hot Five
- Cold Front, 490 Hamline Ave S, Minneapolis
- The Wedge Table, 2412 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis | As featured in the Tap
- Peace Coffee, Capella Tower, Minneapolis
- Peppers and Fries, 3900 E Lake Street, Minneapolis
- Salsa a la Salsa, 2841 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis
- Du Nord Cocktail Room, 2610 E 32nd St, Minneapolis | Our visit
- Catrina’s Mexican Restaurant, 1091 Geneva Ave N, Oakdale
- Himalayan, 2910 E Lake St, former Kong’s | Our lunch buffet visit
CLOSED / CLOSING:
- Twisted Fork (Feb. 28) | Our review
- Spill the Wine
- Wuollet Bakery, Hennepin Ave location
- Pracna on Main
- Heartland Market (reopening April 2015)
- Nye’s Polanaise Room (closing 2015)
- Tattersall Distilling | Summer 2015
- Shag Sushi, 730 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis | 2015
- St. Genevieve, 5003 Bryant Ave S, Minneapolis | Mid-2015
- Il Foro, City Center, Minneapolis | Spring 2015
- Nighthawks, 3753 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis | Early 2015
- 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 | Spring 2015
- Prairie Dogs, 610 West Lake St, Minneapolis | Early 2015 | Our visit to the Prairie Dogs pop-up
- Urban Forage Winery and Cider House, East Lake St, Minneapolis | Fall 2015
- Lost Falls Distillery, 1915 E 22nd St, Minneapolis | Early 2015
- Bradstreet Neighborhood Crafthouse, 1930 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | Early 2015
- The Herbivorous Butcher, Minneapolis | 2015
- Pizzeria Lola concept TBD, 165 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis | 2015
- Vellee Deli, Baker Center at 30 S 7th St, Minneapolis | Early 2015
- Corner Table project: Revival mid-South / fried chicken restaurant | 2015
- The Bachelor Farmer Cafe Project To Be Named, 200 N 1st St, Minneapolis | 2015
- Colossal Cafe (third location) 1342 Grand Ave, St. Paul | Spring 2015
- Workhorse Coffee Bar, 2399 University Avenue Saint Paul | Early 2015
- Emmett’s Public House, 695 Grand Ave, St. Paul (former Dixie’s on Grand party room) | Early 2015
- Sidhe Brewing Company, 990 Payne Ave, St. Paul | Spring 2015
- Wabasha Brewing Company, 429 Wabasha St, St. Paul | Winter 2015
- 11 Wells Cocktail Room, Historic Hamm Building, St. Paul | Spring 2015
- Lexington (new ownership), 1096 Grand Ave, St. Paul | Spring 2015
- Saint Dinette, 280 E 5th St, St. Paul | Early 2015
Greater Twin Cities Area and Beyond
- Ruscello, Minnetonka | October 2015
- Tamarack Tap Room, 8418 Tamarack Village, Woodbury
- Crepe and Cake, Plymouth | March 2015
- Gator’s Grilled Cheese Emporium, 955 E Sheridan, Ely | Spring 2015
- The King and I Thai (reopening), 760 Highway 110, Mendota Heights | 2015
- Grand Rounds Brewing Company, 4 3rd St SW, Rochester | 2015
- Wicked Wort Brewing Co., 4165-4175 W Broadway, Robbinsdale | Fall 2015
- Belle Vinez Winery, River Falls, Wis. | April 2015
- Skaalvenn, 8601 73rd Ave N, Suite 28, Brooklyn Park | Awaiting licensing approvals
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 email@example.com.