This week in the Tap: Fulton launches a dedicated food truck for its taproom, and a look ahead at upcoming restaurants in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.
Fulton Beer Starts Up (and Then Parks) Its Own Food Truck
Food trucks are nomads. They come and go freely, changing their location with rapid (and sometimes maddening) frequency. Their fast-moving nature is part of their appeal, but if you’re a brewery taproom depending upon their help to supply the food part of the food-plus-beer combination that customers love so much, you might just want to bank on something more predictable.
Enter the dedicated taproom food truck. Fulton Beer has rehabbed a gorgeous vintage Airstream trailer into a mobile (but taproom-based) Taproom Kitchen, and put veteran chef Scott Pampuch (above) at the helm. Pampuch has rotated through a few high-profile gigs over the past few years, but he’s probably best known as the founding chef of Corner Table, a restaurant that opened strong and never wavered, even after its change in ownership.
Although the Fulton Taproom Kitchen offers a menu that’s casual and accessible (think sausages, pretzels, a charcuterie plate), its sourcing is impeccable. The Kitchen works with partners including Red Table Meats, Tangletown Gardens, Baker’s Field, Johnny Pops, and Lowry Hill Meats, and Pampuch adds house-made touches to everything he serves. We tried a handful of his offerings at Monday’s media preview, held in preparation for this afternoon’s official public debut, and found most of them to be on the money.
The Lonely Brat ($7), for example, had a lovely coarse grind and perfect seasoning, and the pickles (above) in the charcuterie-laden Nosh Plate ($9 for the small) had terrific crunch and a pleasant hint of sweetness. The Downtown Hot Dog from Sentyrz Market ($7) was all beef with a nice snap to the casing. Not too salty, not too greasy. A couple of dishes (the $6 War and Peace Tipsy Pie, the $9 Cheese Wurst) could use improvement, but the menu was on point as a whole.
The menu’s highlight is the Porchetta ($7), slow roasted pork loin and crisp pork belly (the latter a Pampuch signature) with fresh arugula, locally grown tomatoes, and juniper aioli on a ciabatta roll. It’s sloppy, it’s juicy, and it’s finger-licking good.
To our knowledge, Fulton is the first area taproom to jump on the natural synergy of taproom and house-owned food truck (although, see Surly, with its in-house beer hall restaurant), but it likely won’t be the last. — James Norton with tasting notes and photos from Brenda Johnson
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 email@example.com.
- Seventh Street Truck Park, 214 W 7th St, St. Paul | A food hall with a rotating collection of trucks and three separate bars. Our review here.
- Bardo, 222 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | A new “modern American bistro” in the old Rachel’s spot in Northeast, with chef/owner Remy Pettus.
- Tillie’s Farmhouse, 232 Cleveland Ave N, St. Paul | Seasonal cuisine, some of it with a Scandinavian influence, with ingredients from local farms. In the former Trotter’s Cafe.
- Wonders Ice Cream, 298 University Ave W, St. Paul | A shop selling the latest craze (?), rolled ice cream. See also: Sota Hot and Cold at 394 University Ave W.
- Delicata, 1341 Pascal St, St. Paul | A pizzeria and gelateria by Matty O’Reilly, J.D. Fratzke, and Noah Barton.
CLOSED / CLOSING:
- Obento-Ya (will be replaced with a second Ramen Kazama location)
- Golden’s Deli
- Bulldog Northeast (closing Oct. 5 and reopening the next week as The Stray Dog)
- Sssdude-nutz (moving from bricks and mortar to food truck)
- The Craftsman (will reboot with new management as The Beacon)
- Red’s Savoy, 421 7th St E, St. Paul (mid-September)
- St. Clair Broiler (end of September)
- Butcher Block
- Thanh Do, Saint Louis Park
- Wild Rice of Bayfield, Wis. (Oct. 14)
- Victory 44 (Upton 43, also helmed by Erick Harcey, is moving to the North Loop, and the Dirty Bird is closing).
- Tanpopo (one of our favorite spots; closed just as the promising Kado no Mise and Kaiseki Furukawa came online. Kyatchi will open a new location in the space. Sunrise, sunset).
- Sidhe Brewing (reopening as Culhane Brewing in Lowertown, St. Paul).
- Sunrise Inn (The venerable 3.2 bar will reopen as Bull’s Horn Food and Drink under the aegis of Doug Flicker).
- Popol Vuh and Central | Fall | A two-restaurants-in-one (a la Birdie and Nighthawks) high-concept/street-food purveyor with a Mexican emphasis. From the team behind the successful Lyn65 in Richfield.
- NOLO’s Kitchen and Bar and The Basement Bar, 515 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis | September
- The Sioux Chef Restaurant at Water Works | 2019
- Five Watt Northeast, 861 E Hennepin Ave | October | A second location for the popular Eat Street coffeehouse and roastery, including an expanded food menu.
- Hai Hai, 2121 University Ave NE, Minneapolis | Early Fall | New Southeast Asian restaurant at the former Double Deuce location by the team behind Hola Arepa.
- Rebel Donut Bar, 1226 2nd St NE, Minneapolis | Soon | More action within the “fancy doughnut” sphere, but in this case miniaturized.
- Haskell’s Wine Bar, 901 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis | Soon | A wine bar and lunch counter in the Young Quinlan building by the famed and venerable liquor store folks.
- Minnesota Barbecue Company, 816 Lowry Ave NE, Minneapolis | 2017 | A Kansas-City-style barbecue place to be led by Chef Kale Thome of the Travail team (and a Kansas native). Doing pop-ups around town until the official opening.
- Great Northern Smokehouse, 3238 W Lake St, Minneapolis | 2017 | Another barbecue spot in the former Falafel King on Lake and Lyndale.
- Funky Grits, 805 E 38th St, Minneapolis | Autumn | A soul food spot in the home of the short-lived Hell’s Chicken and Fish.
- Malcolm Yards Market, 501 30th Ave SE, Minneapolis | 2018 | A food market that will capitalize on its proximity to Surly’s massive brewery/restaurant complex.
- Eureka Compass Vegan Food, 629 Aldine St, St. Paul | 2017 | Now open a few day each week for lunch and dinner in the space the owners will renovate now that their Kickstarter campaign has succeeded.
- Waldmann Brewery and Wurstery, 445 Smith Ave, St. Paul | October | “A craft brewery specializing in German lagers and a wurstery offering a variety of house-made sausages.” Another Kickstarter campaign success.
- The Market House Collaborative, 289 5th St E, St Paul | October 10, with Salty Tart a bit later | As per the Shea designers: “The space will include a seafood market, a casual seafood restaurant, a boutique butcher shop, and a bakery, and we can’t wait to kick off.” Vendors are reported to include The Salty Tart bakery, a Peterson Meats full-service butcher shop, Almanac Fish Market, and the OctoFish Bar on the casual seafood restaurant side of things.
- Keg and Case revitalization of the Schmidt Brewery, 928 W 7th St, St. Paul | 2018 | Featuring restaurants by the teams behind Corner Table, Hola Arepa, and Five Watt, plus Sweet Science ice cream.
- 11 Wells, Millwright Cocktail Room, Historic Hamm’s Brewery, St. Paul | Postponed to “at least 2018” | Multi-state distribution is keeping them busy.
Greater Twin Cities Area and Beyond
- Back Channel Brewing Collective, 4787 Shoreline Drive, Spring Park | Autumn
- Oakhold Farmhouse Brewery, Midway Township | Late 2017 | Brewer Caleb Levar expects to be brewing in a month or two, pending a final inspection.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.