The 2012 Great Spring / Summer Openings Roundup

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

May’s winner: Jane Pennington of Minneapolis

Late Spring Opening Roundup

The Tap has had quite a lengthy “Coming Soon” list, and that’s changing at a rapid pace. Several high-profile new restaurants have opened in the past couple of weeks; here’s a quick rundown of what’s newly available for you to check out.

Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis

Opening with a focus on not just food and drink but also live music, Icehouse is yet another piece in the quickly energizing Eat Street nightlife scene. Co-owned by Matthew Bickford, who helped develop the North Loop’s terrific Be’wiched Deli, Icehouse opened in a big ol’ historic building, a former ice warehouse. It serves gastropubby food and small plates as well as deli meats, lots of beers, and a cocktail list curated by Johnny Michaels of La Belle Vie.

Birdhouse, 2516 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.377.2213

Stewart and Heidi Woodman didn’t take long updating the old Duplex into their version of a “sustainable” eatery, serving plates that are vegetarian-friendly, healthy, and organic. Meat is available but typically as an add-on, and portions are kept small to feed the sustainable theme by keeping calorie counts reasonable. Don’t go here expecting anything like Heidi’s, the Woodmans’ fine dining establishment around the way, and keep the small portions in mind if you usually eat like a caveman.

J.J.’s Coffee Company & Wine Bar, 1806 W Lake St, Minneapolis

Within spitting distance of Lake Calhoun comes J.J.’s, which brings to Minneapolis its brand of wine, coffee and light fare that began at the original location in Eden Prairie. Owner Jenny Jundt hit a nerve with the original J.J.’s, giving suburbanites a cozy place to hang out all day with a warm, comforting space that had decent but unassuming food in the chain-heavy city; now, Minneapolitans can see what she’s all about. Being across from the lake can’t hurt, I imagine, but she will have plenty more competition here.

Cowboy Jack’s, 126 5th St N, Minneapolis | 612.224.9950

Right next to Target Field, Cowboy Jacks is a huge rustic-themed bar and restaurant with a mechanical bull and … well, you probably can guess the rest. Its location will draw the baseball fans as well as the bros, that’s for sure, but probably not the fooderati. It also serves a weekend “rehab menu” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Did I mention there’s a mechanical bull?

Royal Orchid, 4022 Central Ave NE, Columbia Heights | 763.789.9999

Originally on Eat Street but most recently with locations in Roseville and the Baker Center skyway in downtown Minneapolis, Royal Orchid has reinvented itself in Columbia Heights. Its website says that the new restaurant’s menu will “maintain a focus on traditional Thai dishes but will also begin introducing unique dishes that will set us apart from the other Thai restaurants.” Like Thai-style caramel cinnamon rolls? That sounds awfully intriguing.

Wings N Things, 324 W Broadway, Minneapolis | 612.735.0637

The North Side needs more restaurants that aren’t fast food chains, although Wings N Things is probably the polar opposite of the aforementioned Birdhouse regarding healthfulness of menu. Fish, chicken and waffles, wings, cheese curds and a few sandwiches round out the menu … there’s even hard-to-find fried okra. Most everything may be deep-fried, but Wings N Things revamped a ratty old building right off I-94 into a clean little space, and it’s just outside downtown.

Maruso Street Food and Cocktails, 715 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | 612.333.0100

Speaking of opening in a once-ratty building, Maruso Street Food and Cocktails is now open and sticks to the trend of “food truck-style” restaurants. There’s a full bar and several decent taps, and chef Andrew Garrison’s globally inspired menu consists of Asian-style bowls, a few sandwiches, and small plates like pierogies, spring rolls, wings and shrimp. Located in the former To Soho store between Barfly and the Skyway strip club, Maruso deserves quite a bit of credit for investing in an otherwise scuzzy block.



  • Mill City Cafe, 2205 California St NE, Minneapolis. Closed, but planning to open in new location.
  • Coffee Gallery, 1011 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis. Closing this summer. | 612.215.2626
  • Viva Brazil, 913 W Lake St, Minneapolis
  • Tschida Bakery, 1116 Rice St, St. Paul
  • Chai’s Thai, 414 1/2 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Minnehaha Coffee, 4554 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis


  • Fika, 2600 Park Ave S (American Swedish Institute), Minneapolis | 612.871.4907
  • Mosaic Cafe, 3019 Minnehaha Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.746.1504
  • Somos Peru, 6009 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis. | 612.244.3400
  • El Burrito Mercado, 920 E Lake St, Minneapolis (Midtown Global Market). Opens in June.
  • Azia Market Bar & Restaurant, 2550 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.813.1200
  • People’s Organic, IDS Center Crystal Court, Minneapolis. Opens July 2.
  • Smack Shack, Washington Ave N and 6th Ave N, Minneapolis. Opens in July.
  • Primebar, 3001 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens this summer. | 612.235.4295
  • Blue Door Pub, 3448 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens in August.
  • Rincon 38, 3801 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens this summer. | 612.408.7063
  • Little Tijuana, 17 E 26th St, Minneapolis. Reopening this summer. | 612.872.0578
  • Cafe Maude at Loring, 1612 Harmon Pl, Minneapolis
  • Bar Louie, 1320 Lagoon Ave, Minneapolis. Opens this summer.
  • Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub, 2724 E 38th St, Minneapolis. Opens this summer. | 612.328.1450
  • Well Seasoned, 920 E Lake St, Minneapolis (Midtown Global Market) | 612.886.2489
  • New Bohemia, 233 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • Indeed Brewing, 711 15th Ave NE, Minneapolis. Opens this summer. | 612.643.1226
  • Tangiers Eatery and Lounge, 116 First Ave N, Minneapolis. Opens in September.
  • The Lynn on Bryant, 50th and Bryant, Minneapolis
  • New Don Saunders restaurant, 2115 W 21st St (old Kenwood Cafe), Minneapolis
  • Dangerous Man Brewing, 1300 2nd St NE, Minneapolis | 612.377.4164
  • The Original Just Turkey Restaurant, 3758 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Rusty Taco, 522 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • Sorrento Cucina Italiana, 623 Marquette Ave (Northstar Center Skyway), Minneapolis
  • Yogurt Lab, 80 8th St S, Minneapolis (IDS Center skyway); 5007 France Ave S, Minneapolis.
  • Dilla’s Ethiopian Restaurant, 1813 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis | 612.290.1701
  • 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, 945 Broadway St NE, Minneapolis. Opens late 2012.
  • Unnamed rooftop restaurant in old Shinders, 733 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • Unnamed Kim Bartmann restaurant, 1014 E 38th St, Minneapolis

St. Paul

  • Cupcake, 949 Grand Ave, St. Paul. Opens this summer.
  • La Loma, Town Square skyway (6th and Cedar), St. Paul. Opens this summer.
  • MN Saloon, 395 Robert St N, St. Paul. Opens July 13.
  • Foxy Falafel, 791 Raymond Ave, St. Paul. Opens this summer.
  • Bon Vie Cafe / A Piece of Cake, combining later this spring at 485 Selby Ave, St. Paul | 651.846.0016
  • Louis, 211 7th St W, St. Paul. Cossetta’s market opening new rooftop restaurant; opens this summer. | 651.222.3476
  • Damera Ethiopian Bar & Restaurant, 823 University Ave, St. Paul
  • Chopstiks Cafe, 501 University Ave, St. Paul

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