This week in the Tap: Thoughts on the food hall boom, a look ahead at upcoming restaurants, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.
All Hail the Food Hall
With the upcoming openings of Keg and Case, The Market House Collaborative, and Malcolm Yards, the Twin Cities is poised to see a monster boom in food hall spaces — indoor spaces containing some combination of fish, meat, and produce markets, restaurants, quick-service counters and stalls, and drinking establishments. The somewhat chaotic Midtown Global Market has been slinging a wide variety of sometimes excellent food for more than a decade, making the upcoming boom feel a bit delayed. It’s welcome nonetheless. Anyone who has ever been to a top-flight food hall like Chelsea Market in New York or the Ferry Building in San Francisco knows that they have the power to transform and help define a scene. And anyone who has been to any of the ethnic food halls like Mercado Central or the Hmong Village knows that they can contain a wealth of culinary wonders that are almost entirely off the mainstream map.
Whenever we get a lot of something (think: crudo) there’s an immediate and understandable tendency for diners to worry that the hot new thing is a mere fad. Sometimes (think: crudo) it certainly is, but sometimes (think: taprooms and cocktail rooms) it’s not — it’s a meaningful change in the way people eat and drink. The food hall seems like an idea whose time has very much come for a few major reasons:
Scalability — The boom in food and drink businesses in recent years means that there are a lot of new players, and a lot of smaller players trying to grow. Having halfway steps between the home kitchen and a stand-alone, bricks-and-mortar restaurant is a great way to help the scene grow organically. Food trucks have been that halfway step for many of the best new restaurants in the region. Food halls may well serve that role for the next decade or two.
Co-location and Community — Food halls can help their members co-market and collaborate. Chefs and food artisans are naturally prone to share and work together, and being cheek-by-jowl in a market setting boosts those opportunities to cross-pollinate. And for visitors, the close proximity of multiple vendors can make a food hall a one-stop destination for dining, drinking, and shopping.
The Sense of Discovery — Because tenants in food halls often hold short-term leases and smaller shops are often expanding or graduating to new digs, food halls tend to host a shifting roster of vendors, which means that if you visit every month or two, you’re likely to stumble upon new discoveries that reward your patronage. And when you’re showing out-of-town visitors around the area, few things can top a well-curated food hall for making a good impression. — James Norton
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.
- Barrel Theory Beer Company, 248 E 7th St, St. Paul | As per the Growler: “A partnership between Surly Brewing Company’s former director of technology Brett Splinter, former Surly brewer Timmy Johnson, and CPA Todd Tibesar.” Our preview is here.
- Hoops Brewing, 325 S Lake Ave, Duluth | Expectations have been high for this new brewery, a project by Dave Hoops, formerly of Fitger’s.
- Portillo’s, 8450 Hudson Rd, Woodbury | First Minnesota outpost of the famous Chicago hot dog empire.
- 510 Lounge & Private Dining, 510 Groveland Ave, Minneapolis | Private event space and open-to-the-public lounge run by Chef Don Saunders (The Kenwood).
- Gray Duck Tavern, 345 Wabasha St, St. Paul | “Comfort food from all over the world.”
- 1.2.3. Pasta, 6508 Cahill Ave, Inver Grove Heights | Fresh pastas, pizza, and more from the owners of La Grolla.
- The Lynhall, 2640 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis | “A market-inspired cafe, event space, kitchen studio, and incubator kitchen.”
- Town Hall Station, 4500 Valley View Rd, Edina | The latest in the growing Town Hall mini-empire.
- Rise Bagel Company, 530 N 3rd St, Minneapolis | Quality bagels in a town hungry for them.
- The Original on 42nd, 1839 E 42nd St, Minneapolis | A sandwich shop in the former Colossal Cafe location.
- StormKing Barbecue, 16½ W 26th St, Minneapolis | A new Texas-style barbecue window from the team behind the adjacent Black Sheep Pizza.
CLOSED / CLOSING:
- Brewer’s Table at Surly (in early August).
- Wild Rice of Bayfield, WI (Oct. 14).
- Dulono’s Pizza (closing its Uptown spot and consolidating business in the North Loop after 60 years on West Lake Street).
- Trotter’s (changed owners; re-opening as Tillie’s Farmhouse [see below]).
- Tanpopo (one of our favorite spots; closed just as the promising Kado no Mise and Kaiseki Furukawa come online. Kyatchi will open a new location in the space. Sunrise, sunset).
- Jerusalem’s (building to be demolished; closing end of August).
- 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 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
- Bardo, 222 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | Summer | A new “modern American bistro” in the old Rachel’s spot in Northeast, with chef/owner Remy Pettus.
- Hai Hai, 2121 University Ave NE, Minneapolis | Early Fall | New Southeast Asian restaurant by the team behind Hola Arepa at the former Double Deuce location.
- Rebel Donut Bar, 1226 2nd St NE, Minneapolis | Soon | More action within the “fancy doughnut” sphere, but in this case miniaturized.
- Barbecue Joint Name TBA, 816 Lowry Ave NE, Minneapolis | 2017 | A Kansas-City-style barbecue place “with no chairs and tables” opened by some combination of the Travail team.
- Funky Grits, 805 E 38th St, Minneapolis | Late Summer | A soul food spot in the home of the short-lived Hell’s Chicken and Fish.
- Kaiseki Furukawa, 33 1st Ave N, Minneapolis | Soon | Classic kaiseki (progressive small courses) dining at Kaiseki Furukawa, sister restaurant to the already open Kado no Mise.
- 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 nights each week in the space they hope to renovate if their Kickstarter campaign is successful.
- Delicata, 1341 Pascal St, St. Paul | Summer | A pizzeria and gelateria by Matty O’Reilly, hopefully evoking the glory days of Fat Lorenzo’s.
- Waldmann Brewery and Wurstery, 445 Smith Ave, St. Paul | September | “A craft brewery specializing in German lagers and a wurstery offering a variety of house-made sausages.”
- 12welve Eyes Brewing, 141 E 4th St, St. Paul | Summer | Opening in the Pioneer Endicott Building.
- The Market House Collaborative, 289 5th St E, St Paul | Fall | As per Shea: “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.”
- 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.
- Tillie’s Farmhouse, 232 Cleveland Ave N, St. Paul | Summer | Seasonal cuisine, some of it with a Scandinavian influence — with ingredients from local farms — in the former Trotter’s Cafe. Trotter’s menu remains until the summer reopening.
- 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 | Summer
- Deconstructed, 705 Century Ave N, Suite B, Maplewood | Soon | A new pasta and pho spot by the owner of :D-Spot.
- Oakhold Farmhouse Brewery (formerly Oude Oak) Midway Township | 2017 | Construction on this new brewery just south of Duluth is under way.
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.