Verdant Tea Heads for Seward and More

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Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Verdant Tea Minneapolis Tasting Room (opening in July)
2111 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN | 612.284.7032

When we talked to the team at Verdant Tea last summer, we were struck by the ambition of a locally based Chinese tea importation business that works with small farmers in a province that makes some of the most obscure (and most distinctive-tasting) tea in the world.

That ambition will carry the company into a teahouse located on Franklin Avenue in the old Seward Coop space. The Verdant team plans to open its teahouse in July.

“We did a lot of thinking and research about where to set up — we considered Seattle, and we considered California, but we ended up picking Seward because of its really vibrant energy,” says Verdant Tea president David Duckler (above). “People here are really active and really interested in the local food movement.”

The Tasting Room is intended as more than a way for Verdant to sample its product — Duckler promises a more holistic approach to the enjoyment of tea.

“When I first started envisioning this project, I thought of it as a showroom… and then I went to China,” says Duckler. “I just got back a week ago. I spent a lot of time with the [tea] farmers in Laoshan and I was really reminded of the roots of why I fell in love with tea, which is the hospitality culture of drinking tea…. coming into someone’s home, being given a fresh cup, and bonding over that cup.”

The tasting room will offer flights of tea (“people will be able to try multiple teas from the same farm, or a sampler of teas across different categories,” says Duckler), a “chai microbrewery,” flash chilled tea mixology, and food offerings prepared in cooperation with Birchwood and paired to complement tea. A possible collaboration with artisan ice cream maker Sweet Science is underway, and Duckler is talking to other Seward businesses (such as the Northern Clay Center) to find potential overlap and ways to work together.

Look for Verdant Tea (and tea classes, and events) at Seward Coop coming later this summer.


The Buttered Tin (opens mid-June)
237 7th St E, St. Paul

Lowertown, St. Paul will have a new place to breakfast (and snack) if business partners Alicia Hinze and Jennifer Lueck have anything to say about it. The two founders of The Buttered Tin come from baking and PR backgrounds, respectively, and describe the shop’s concept as a shared vision.

“It’s a combination of things that we love — bakery and breakfast,” says Hinze, laying out the menu in broad strokes. “We’re calling it ‘farm food’ — fresh, seasonal, with simple ingredients,” adds Lueck. While the bakery hasn’t confirmed its farm purveyors yet (they’re waiting on the final selection of a chef / team manager), Lueck says that they’ll be local to the region.

The menu will feature American classics. For breakfast, that means an old-fashioned egg sandwich, a hashbrown omelet, and Bananas Foster French toast, among others. And dessert will loom large.

“The pies I make — the crust is all handmade, and all butter,” says Hinze. “The pies are going to be fantastic. Cakes are my specialty – a few of my personal favorites my German chocolate, the red velvet, and my almond cake.” The latter is dense, but, adds Hinze, lightened by the application of a layer of white chocolate mousse.

You can find The Buttered Tin on Kickstarter, too — the company is attempting to raise $10,000 from the community to get their business on its feet. “It’s really unique way to get people invested in the process,” says Lueck. “Financially, yes, we’re relying on people to meet our goal, but because it’s really a neighborhood bakery / cafe, you’ll feel like if you’ve donated, you’re invested in success of the business.”

Haiku Japanese Bistro (opens Friday, May 24)
754 Highway 110, Saint Paul, MN

Haiku Japanese Bistro is set to open this Friday in Mendota Plaza. The restaurant is owned by Jonathan Li, who also owns Osaka Sushi & Hibachi restaurants in Golden Valley and Fargo.

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table
Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Minnesota Food Truck Fair (June 30 in Uptown, admission now free)
754 Highway 110, Saint Paul, MN

After taking a press and social media shellacking last year for an overcrowded mess of an event, the Minnesota Food Truck Fair is back again to take another stab at it, 3-8pm June 30 in Uptown, Minneapolis. This time around, there’s no charge for admission (although trucks will be charging for their food), and 28 trucks and other vendors have been confirmed.

The event takes place “along two blocks in Uptown, south of Lake Street on Hennepin Avenue to 31st Street and east to Holmes Ave.”


Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
  • Morrissey’s Irish Pub, 913 W Lake St, Minneapolis | 612.465.8555
  • Franklin Restaurant, 137 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis. Formerly Azima.


  • Franklin Freeze, 2328 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis | 612.568.2630; has re-opened as “Pita King”
  • Little Sushi on the Prairie, 8353 Crystal View Rd, Eden Prairie
  • Ideal Diner, 1314 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis
  • Kat’s Kitchen, St. Paul Skyway
  • Primebar, 3001 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • Cupcake Caramel by Sweets Bakeshop, 4747 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis; 2042 Marshall Ave, St. Paul
  • Kinsen Noodles and Bar, 1300 Lagoon Ave, Minneapolis



  • Verdant Teahouse, 2111 E Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN | 612.284.7032 | Opens July.
  • Haiku Japanese Bistro, 754 Highway 110, Saint Paul, MN | 651.340.1888. Opens May.
  • La Loma Tamales, old Tensuke Sushi spot in Medical Arts Building, Minneapolis, 825 Nicollet Mall
  • Ariana Kebob and Gyro Bistro, 7115 Cedar Lake Rd, Saint Louis Park, MN | 52) 546-8000. Opens late May.
  • North 45°, 1313 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis | 612.332.6000. Opens late April.
  • Ling & Louie’s Kitchen, 9th St and Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
  • The Tangiers, North Loop. 116 1st Ave N, Minneapolis | 612.599.2651. Opens May 2013.
  • The Nicollet Diner, 1428 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens this spring.
  • Terzo, 2221 W 50th St, Minneapolis. New wine bar from Broders; opens this spring.
  • Tiny Diner, 1014 E 38th St, Minneapolis | 612.822.6302
  • Marin, 901 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens summer 2013.
  • Unnamed Gastrotruck restaurant, 2400 University Ave NE, Minneapolis. Opens in 2013.
  • Rocky and Shem’s Ice Cream Shoppe, 56th St and Chicago Ave, Minneapolis. Opens in 2013.
  • Sandcastle, Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis. Doug Flicker’s concessionaire restaurant at the lake. Opens spring 2013.
  • Town Hall Tap, 5019 34th Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Loose-Wiles Freehouse, 701 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis. Opens September.
  • Kitty’s Corner Cafe, 806 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis


St. Paul

Greater Twin Cities Area

  • Tin Bins, near the corner of Main and Nelson Streets, Commander Grain Elevator, Stillwater. May 2013.
  • Sakana Sushi and Hibachi, Plymouth. June.
  • Travail and The Rookery, Robbinsdale. Fall 2013.
  • Forever Yogurt, The Shops at West End, I-394 & 100. Opens before summer of 2013.
  • Egg and Pie Diner, 222 N Chestnut St, Chaska | 612.227.6999
  • Hammerheart Brewing, 7785 Lake Dr, Lino Lakes. Opens in 2013. | 651.964.2160
  • Sawatdee, 13300 Technology Dr, Eden Prairie. Opens in 2013.
  • Osaka Seafood and Steakhouse, Woodbury Lakes, Woodbury. Opens in 2013.
  • Punch Pizza, City Centre Dr, Woodbury. Opens June 2013.
  • Black Sea, 1581 E County Road E, White Bear Lake
  • Crooked Pint Ale House, Apple Valley; another location possible at 40th St. and Lyndale Ave.

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