North Coast Nosh V, El Burrito Mercado, Hard Times Cafe, Figlio / Sopranos, Sandcastle, and more

Readers: Win Heavy Table pint glasses

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

June’s winner: Tara Kumar of Minneapolis

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

North Coast Nosh V

The Heavy Table and Open Arms of Minnesota are hosting the fifth edition of the North Coast Nosh locavore sip-and-sample series Aug. 17. Purveyors on hand include Summit Brewing, Corner Table, Caves of Faribault, Alemar Cheese, Gai Gai Thai, Lift Bridge Brewing, Harriet Brewing, Patisserie 46, Peace Coffee, and more. Also at Nosh V is the Food Truck Court: MidNord Empanada Truck, Sassy Spoon, Saucy Burt’s, Smack Shack, and Vellee Deli. Get tickets here before they sell out; proceeds benefit Open Arms and support Heavy Table.

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

El Burrito Mercado (now open)

920 E Lake St, Minneapolis (Midtown Global Market)

Giving the Midtown Global Market a bit of ying to Holy Land’s yang, El Burrito Mercado just opened in the Market’s southeast corner with a Latin grocery and Mexican deli with both made-to-order dishes and grab-and-go containers.

Well-known for its St. Paul location that opened in 1979, the new El Burrito is easily big enough to be a real anchor for the Global Market. The Silva family’s recipes are all about traditional, affordable Mexican food, and the new El Burrito’s menu will hinge on guisado, a versatile stew with chicken, pork, beef, or vegetables.

“Guisados are really hard to master,” said Milissa Silva-Diaz, who owns El Burrito with her brother, Tomas Silva Jr. “I take pride that my Mom worked really hard to learn to cook these. She studied cookbooks and went to Mexico and experimented, and after all these years she’s nearly mastered it.”

Silva-Diaz said not much would change from the St. Paul location, except that some of the deli and grocery items would include more varieties of Central and South American foods, like pupusas. There will be breakfast, too, with chilaquiles, huevos con chorizo or nopalitos, and a dish called cecina con huevos al gusta that consists of salt-cured strips of beef and eggs.

“There’s not going to be a whole lot new or different, just the traditional Mexican food,” she said. “We tried really hard to not do any fusion, to not Americanize it, to keep it as authentic with fresh ingredients as possible.”

You might also be thinking: Does the Global Market really need another Mexican restaurant? When asked, Silva-Diaz said she was confident there was room for all.

“Everybody comes from a different part of Mexico, and you make things differently even from family to family,” she said. “So even from El Burrito to La Loma the tamales are different. I love theirs as well; so it’s not that one is better, they’re just different. Manny’s has the tortas. Sonora Grill has a more eclectic, fusion thing going on. Los Ocampos is really big on tacos and sopes, the corn-based stuff. Our focus is on the guisado.”

El Burrito Mercado is now open, but will have an official grand opening party from noon to 3 p.m. on Aug. 5 that will include, among other things, a burrito-eating contest. Start training.

Hard Times Cafe (closing temporarily for remodel)

1821 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis | 612.341.9261

Delightfully grungy even by West Bank standards, the much-loved, communally owned Hard Times Cafe is closing temporarily while flooring behind the counter is replaced. Considering the cafe is open from 6 a.m. to 4 a.m. daily, it makes sense that closing entirely is the only way to accomplish any renovation.

Hard Times is closing Aug. 1 but hopes to reopen by later in the month. And I hope they’re using reclaimed-wood flooring, because anything brand-new would just look out of place.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Figlio / Sopranos

5331 W 16th St (Shops at West End), St. Louis Park

Miss Figlio? For nostalgia’s sake, maybe, but I’m nonplussed that the awkwardly conceived Sopranos (above) is closing and will be replaced by a revamped version of Figlio.

You may recall that a couple years ago Figlio closed and was rebranded as Il Gatto, which had its selling points but was publicly received with a collective sigh. Il Gatto closed late last year (Primebar just opened in the space; look for more in the next edition of The Tap).

Well-respected chef J.P. Samuelson is staying on for the new restaurant, which will be owned by the Crave mini-empire and is set to open Sept. 24. Sopranos already has closed.

Sandcastle (opens spring 2013)

Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis

Chef Doug Flicker, who already operates the small Minneapolis restaurant Piccolo, has been awarded the right to be the new concessionaire at Lake Nokomis. His concept, Sandcastle, should open next spring and was chosen among three finalists for the new restaurant at the lake. Look for more on Sandcastle in the next edition of The Tap.



  • Murray’s, 26 South 6th St, Minneapolis. Closed for renovation; will re-open in early September. | 612.339.0909
  • Coffee News Cafe, 1662 Grand Ave, St. Paul
  • Sopranos, 5331 W 16th St (Shops at West End), St. Louis Park
  • :D-Spot, 1993 Burns Ave, St. Paul
  • Alix in Candyland, 5400 France Ave S, Edina
  • Homemade Pizza Company, 830 Lake St E, Wayzata


  • Azia Market Bar & Restaurant, 2550 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.813.1200
  • Smack Shack, Washington Ave N and 6th Ave N, Minneapolis. Opens this summer.
  • Little Tijuana, 17 E 26th St, Minneapolis. Reopening this summer. | 612.872.0578
  • Blue Door Pub, 3448 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens in August.
  • Indeed Brewing, 711 15th Ave NE, Minneapolis. Opens in August. | 612.643.1226
  • The Gray House, 610 W Lake St, Minneapolis. Opens in August.
  • Rincon 38, 3801 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens this summer. | 612.408.7063
  • Cafe Maude at Loring, 1612 Harmon Pl, Minneapolis
  • Bar Louie, 1348 Lagoon Ave, Minneapolis. Opens this summer.
  • Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub, 2724 E 38th St, Minneapolis. Opens early September. | 612.328.1450
  • Well Seasoned, 920 E Lake St, Minneapolis (Midtown Global Market) | 612.886.2489
  • New Bohemia, 233 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • :D-Spot, Dinkytown, Minneapolis. Opens in August.
  • Nightingale, 2551 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens in September.
  • Tangiers Eatery and Lounge, 116 First Ave N, Minneapolis. Opens in September.
  • The Lynn on Bryant, 50th and Bryant, Minneapolis. Opens this fall.
  • Five Guys, 2300 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • The Kenwood, 2115 W 21st St, Minneapolis
  • Dangerous Man Brewing, 1300 2nd St NE, Minneapolis | 612.377.4164
  • The Original Just Turkey Restaurant, 3758 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Yogurt Lab, 80 8th St S, Minneapolis (IDS Center skyway); 5007 France Ave S, Minneapolis; 309 SE Oak St, Minneapolis
  • Fitger’s Brewhouse, 107 3rd Ave N, Minneapolis. Opens late 2012.
  • Burch, 1942 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. Isaac Becker’s planned steakhouse in old Burch Pharmacy; opens in late 2012 / early 2013.
  • World Street Kitchen, 2743 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens late 2012.
  • 612 Brew taproom, 945 Broadway St NE, Minneapolis. Opens late 2012.
  • Union, 733 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. Opens in November.
  • Unnamed Kim Bartmann restaurant, 1014 E 38th St, Minneapolis
  • Mill City Cafe, NE Minneapolis. Still searching for new location.
  • 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.

St. Paul

  • Foxy Falafel, 791 Raymond Ave, St. Paul. Opens Aug. 3.
  • Bon Vie Cafe / A Piece of Cake, combining later this summer at 485 Selby Ave, St. Paul | 651.846.0016
  • Louis, 211 7th St W, St. Paul. Cossetta’s market opening new rooftop restaurant; opens in August. | 651.222.3476
  • Summit Brewing Taproom, 910 Montreal Cir, St. Paul. Opens late September. | 651.265.7800
  • Damera Ethiopian Bar & Restaurant, 823 University Ave, St. Paul
  • Chopstiks Cafe, 501 University Ave, St. Paul
  • MN Saloon, 395 Robert St N, St. Paul. Opens this summer.

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

One Comment

  1. Eric

    Have to agree when it comes to this time honored, traditional Mexican food there is always room for more. MGM just added a great addition in El Burrito. I grew up less than a mile from the original on the West Side of St.Paul and it is the same as it ever was, perfecto.

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