The Tap loves restaurant tips from readers, so we’re awarding two Heavy Table pint glasses 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 email@example.com. June’s winner: Jeannie Kenevan of St. Paul
The Nicollet (now open)
Good news for Minneapolis’ Stevens Square neighborhood arrived recently with The Nicollet, a coffee shop and restaurant in a high-profile Franklin and Nicollet address. Owner Jeremy Konecny (below) has taken the latest stab at reviving the ample space, which recently housed Tillie’s Bean and was once the popular Acadia Cafe, with an evolving menu and high-quality coffee.
The Nicollet could eventually house a bar and more extensive restaurant with a small coffee bar and a bakery case, but Konecny said that was “a ways down the road.”
“Before that, I want to know that the food and coffee works really well, too, and the food is right now our next issue,” he said. “We’ve got great coffee, we really do, fantastic coffee, we’ve got great staff, and right now it’s getting the food out. That’s what the neighborhood was asking for next: ‘Where’s the food? Where’s the food?’”
The Nicollet’s menu includes interesting small plates like a shirred egg with ham, shredded jack cheese, sour cream and chives; egg salad on crostini; and “Lincoln Logs,” or spring rolls. Also are a couple pizzas, like shrimp alfredo and spicy margherita with prosciutto, and sandwiches like the One Mean Gene of roasted red pepper cream cheese, blue-jack cheese, and pastrami on ciabatta.
Konecny is really connecting with the regulars. On The Tap’s recent visit One Mean Gene’s namesake was sitting at the next table. When told of the reporter in his midst, the actually quite affable Gene fell over himself praising both the Nicollet’s sandwiches and its importance to the neighborhood.
“We do a lot of things that are just a little bit different from everybody else,” Konecny said. “A lot of it is locally sourced products. We are trying to stay fresh, never sandwiches that are delivered, sit out a few days. Fresh, wholesome food, nothing too complicated but a little different.”
Having worked in espresso shops for many years, Konecny is a coffee buff first, and The Nicollet sources its coffee from a California veteran who uses an old-fashioned method: a wood-burning roaster.
“We get our coffee from a little old Italian man named Carlos, and he is out of Oakland, CA,” Konecny said. “He actually uses a roasting method that involves stoking a fire, unlike the gas or electric roasters that are used now. It really allows you to go deeper into the roast without it being dark-roasted coffee.
“[Oak] is an element that he doesn’t have to play with every time. It’s very similar to a master barbecue artist. They use the same wood all the time because that way they can rely on the wood they are using. They know the characteristics of the wood.”
The Nicollet is also working to create some unique teas with herbs that Konecny said are readily available but not typically used in teas.
“Mood-altering is not really the term, but a tea that when it says calming is actually truly going to be calming,” Konecny said. “Teas that when they say uplifting are really going to be very uplifting. We’re going to have names, The Nicollet Slouch, where I just want you to be slouching in your chair for half an hour.”
Some teas even will use herbs that require buyers to be over 18. Who knew?
“There are certain herbs that you can only buy if you’re over 18, and I don’t think it’s meant lightly,” Konecny said. “With psychotropic herbs, they’re not meant to be ingested by an ounce at a time, which some kids would obviously want to do. We’re not doing anything remotely similar to that, but in their right nature of being steeped, it has the ability to relax you.”
The Nicollet has a live-music space, and is hosting a limited concert schedule. Konecny said he eventually hopes to be open long hours, early morning to late at night, as business demands. A veteran of Minneapolis’ The Roastery and Nina’s Coffee Cafe in St. Paul, among others, Konecny is thrilled to own his own shop.
“Everyone’s got their dream, this is mine, sit in a coffee shop all day and get paid for it,” he said. “It’s not bad for a long-haired guy who likes to listen to music all day.
“I think I’m really lucky, I’m getting in at the beginning of the Eat Street genre and time, with its amazing Vietnamese, there’s amazing Thai, pretty good Chinese, there’s good Mexican food, Jerusalem Cafe is great, but American food? Good sandwiches and a cup of coffee? Pretty few and far between. So I think we’ll fill a void that needs to be here.”
Viva Brazil (coming soon)
913 W Lake St, Minneapolis | 612.871.4239 | vivabrazilrestaurant.com
Despite the recent ousting of chef Eric “Big E” Austin, Viva Brazil is set for a soft opening, possibly this week. The new Brazilian restaurant, in the LynLake space that recently housed Favor Cafe and Restaurant Miami, has no food menu posted yet, understandable due to the Austin rift.
But it has unveiled a drink menu, which caught The Tap’s eye with its caipirinhas, described as the national drink of Brazil and made with a base of cachaca (rum derived from sugarcane juice), sugar, and lime. Also available, in addition to a short wine and beer list, are batidas, a smoothie-like drink also made with cachaca. And just in time for the dog days.
Rosa Mexicano (opens late August)
6th and Hennepin, Minneapolis (City Center) | rosamexicano.com
Giant banners line the windows of the future Rosa Mexicano, a New York-based chain of upscale Mexican restaurants making its first foray to Minnesota. Rosa Mexicano’s menu reads a little like Tejas on steroids, with a list of seafood, steaks, and enchiladas heavy on spices, salsas, and sauces rather than the overly-cheesed glop at your average Mexican chain. Tableside guacamole and homemade tortillas are other trumpeted features.
Considering the only other nearby Mexican restaurant was the mercifully shuttered Chevy’s a block down Hennepin, and other options are fast-casual skyway joints like Chipotle and Esquina, the arrival of Rosa Mexicano is somewhat, well, exciting.
The Public House (coming soon)
700 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis | 612.455.1213 | thepublichousempls.com
The former home of the North Washington Cafe and, before that, Java J’s, wasn’t dormant for long: The Public House, a new bar and restaurant with an affordable menu, plans to open in early August. The space will include beer and wine and will focus on small plates like beef tenderloin, asparagus and poached egg, ahi tuna, and pork crostini alongside salads, soups, several cheese and meat plates, and desserts.
At first glance, The Public House should bring an affordable, approachable spot for a quick drink or bite in the North Loop. A Facebook page says the owners hope to open the first week of August, when there are already events scheduled, including one with Crispin Cider.
- Ansari’s Mediterranean Grill, 1960 Rahn Cliff Ct, Eagan (reopen again after fire) | 651.452.0999 | ansarisgrill.com
- Pizza Town, 1600 W Broadway, Minneapolis | 612.522.9999
- Grand Szechuan, 187 Cheshire Lane N, Plymouth | 763.404.1770 | grandszechuanmn.com
- Osaka, 6440 Wayzata Blvd, Golden Valley | 763.398.6808 | osakausa.com
- Palumbo’s Pizzeria, 454 Snelling Ave S, St Paul | 651.698.0020 | Our take
- Kinsen, 1300 Lagoon Ave, Minneapolis | 612.367.4595 | kinsennoodlesandbar.com
- :D-SPOT, 705 Century Ave N, Suite B, Maplewood | 651.730.7768 | Our take
- Asia Bistro, 10060 City Walk Dr, Woodbury | 651.788.9108 | asiabistrowoodbury.com
- RedRossa Italian Grille, 1901 Killebrew Dr, Bloomington | 952.814.2910 | redrossa.com
- Element Pizza, 96 Broadway St NE, Minneapolis | 612.379.3028
- Catalina’s, 2301 37th Pl, Columbia Heights | 612-695-7531
- Muddy Waters Bar and Eatery, 2933 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.872.2232 | muddywatersmpls.com
- Wilde Roast Cafe, 65 Main St SE, Minneapolis | 612.331.4544 | wilderoastcafe.com
- Pandolfi, 3904 W 50th St, Edina | 612.801.7567 | Our take
- American Grill, 3752 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis
- Mill Valley Kitchen, 3900 Excelsior Blvd, St. Louis Park | 952.358.2000 | millvalleykitchen.com
- Gather, 1750 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | 612.253.3410 | walkerart.org/gather
- Turtle Bread, 4205 E 34th St, Minneapolis. | turtlebread.com
- Wise Acre Eatery, 5401 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.822.4769 | Our take
- Blue Point, 4400 W 78th St, Bloomington | 952.767.9711 | bluepointrestaurantandbar.com
- Las Tortillas Mexican Restaurant, 15051 Crestone Ave, Rosemount | 651.332.2200 | lastortillas.net
- Republic, 221 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.338.6146 | Our take
- Bread & Pickle, 4135 W Lake Harriet Pkwy, Minneapolis | 612.767.9009 | breadandpickle.com
- Crave, 825 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | 612.332.1133 | craveamerica.com
- Las Teresita’s Mexican Grill, 5748 34th Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.727.1791
- Candy Alley, 4813 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.354.3881 | candyalley.com
- The Nook, 492 Hamline Ave S, St. Paul (reopen again after fire) | 651.698.4347 | Our take
- The Lowry Cafe, 2207 Lowry Ave N, Minneapolis | 612.284.7087 | Find it on Facebook
- Bullfrog Cajun Bar, 1111 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | 612.339.0638 | Find it on Facebook
- Wuollet Bakery, 200 S 6th St. (U.S. Bank Plaza skyway), Minneapolis | www.wuollet.com
CLOSED / CLOSING:
- Soul Daddy, Mall of America, Bloomington
- Cake Eater Bakery, 2929 East 25th St, Minneapolis
- Urban Harvest, 2311 18th Ave NE, Minneapolis
- Jun Bo, 7717 Nicollet Ave S, Richfield
- Blue Ox Coffee Company, 3740 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens this month. | 612.825.6650 | blueoxcoffeecompany.com
- Viva Brazil, 913 W Lake St, Minneapolis | 612.871.4239 | vivabrazilrestaurant.com
- The Bachelor Farmer, 50 2nd Ave N, Minneapolis. Opens this month. | TheBachelorFarmer.com
- El Loro Mexican Restaurant, 5689 Blaine Ave, Inver Grove Heights
- Little Szechuan, 5377 16th St, Shops at West End, St. Louis Park | littleszechuan.com
- The Lowry, 2112 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens early August. | blueplaterestaurantcompany.com
- Urban Bean, 2401 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens late July / early August. | urbanbeancoffee.com
- The Public House, 700 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis. Opens early August. | 612.455.1213 | thepublichousempls.com
- Mi Sinaloa, 3801 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis
- Claddagh Coffee, 458 W 7th, St. Paul | 612.940.9805 | Find it on Facebook
- Maeve’s Cafe, 300 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis | 612.379.1033 | Find it on Facebook
- Pat’s Tap, 3510 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens this summer. | 612.822.8216 | Find it on Facebook
- Andale Taqueria y Mercado, 7700 Nicollet Ave S, Richfield. Opens this summer. | 651.230.6498
- Adagio Cafe, 5001 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens this summer. | Find it on Facebook
- Fasika, University Ave and Dale St, St. Paul (new Frogtown Square). Opens this summer. | fasika.com
- Humble Pie, 822 W 36th St, Minneapolis. Kim Bartmann’s revamp of Gigi’s. Coming this summer. | 612.825.0818
- McCormick’s Pub, 331 Broadway Ave S, Wayzata | mccormickswayzata.com
- Rosa Mexicano, 6th St and Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis (in City Center next to Fogo de Chao). Opens late August. | rosamexicano.com
- Zen Box Izakaya, 225 Portland Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens in August. | zen-box.com
- Pig & Fiddle, 3808 W 50th St, Minneapolis. Opens late August / early September
- Eat Street Social, 14 W 26th St, Minneapolis. Opens this fall.
- Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis. Opens this fall.
- Cranky’s Bicycle Bar, E Lake St, Minneapolis. | Find it on Facebook
- La Crepe Nanou, Huey’s 24 / 7 Diner, The Wine Loft, Shops at West End, St. Louis Park. Opening this fall. | lacrepenanou.com | hueys247diner.com | thewineloft.net
- Pittsburgh Blue, 3200 Galleria (former Kozy’s), Edina. Opens this fall. |pittsburghbluesteak.com
- Mesa Pizza, 1440 W Lake St, Minneapolis. Opens this fall. | mesapizzamn.com
- Mojo Monkey Doughnuts, 7th St W, St. Paul
- Crooked Pint Ale House, 501 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis
- Still-unnamed “Montreal-style” deli, 1930 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis (former Auriga). Opens in early fall.
- Stout’s Pub, 1611 Larpenteur Ave, Falcon Heights. Opens this fall.
- Toppers, 1154 Grand Ave, St. Paul; 702 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis | toppers.com
- Five Guys, 230 7th St, St. Paul; 8360 3rd St N, Oakdale | fiveguys.com
- YO!Sushi | Company says five metro locations coming, first in Minneapolis in 2011 | yosushi.com
The Tap is The Heavy Table’s guide to area restaurant openings, closings, and other major events. The Tap is compiled by Heavy Table writer Jason Walker, and will be published biweekly. If you already subscribe to our newsletter, look for an emailed version of The Tap every other week — otherwise, you can find it on the website on alternating Tuesdays.
If you’ve got tips for The Tap, please email Jason Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow The Tap on Twitter at @jasonwalkermpls.