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Here’s All the Big Restaurant News You Might’ve Missed in March

The triumphant return of Keefer Court, Aster Café's plans for a new 200-cap restaurant and venue, and much more—including a food shop for the Sculpture Garden?—in the latest Racket Restaurant Roundup.

Instagram: @soyendesserts / @eggflip.mn|

Left: So Yen’s brioche donuts, right: EggFlip opens in the Minneapolis skyway

Three-quarters of the Racket squad was at Target Field this morning eating their way through the new foods you'll find at Twins games in 2024. But not this Racket staffer! March is over, which means I was busy toiling away on the very list you'll read below. Covering food and drink isn't always a glamorous gig, folks.

On to the roundup!

Now Open

A Bar of Their Own

Minnesota’s first women’s sports bar was met with a big ol’ line on opening day (March 1), and things don’t seem to have slowed much throughout the month—we’ll have a story about that later this week, in fact. Swing by A Bar of Their Own (2207 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis) any time to catch your favorite women’s sports, or follow along on Instagram to see what they’ll be screening from day to day.

TokiDoki Burger

A burger joint from the Ramen Kazama crew, TokiDoki Burger (3406 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis) balances Japanese and American influences on a menu that includes sandwiches and snacky fare. The burgers are big, and so are the flavors.

Rollicious Nori + Rice 

Dinkytown has a new spot for onigiri and sashimi in Rollicious Nori + Rice (1316 Fourth St. SE Ste. 7, Minneapolis), where you can also get Spam musubi, hand rolls, and specials like the Dinkytown Roll: tempura shrimp, crab meat, deep-fried cucumber, spicy mayo, masago, and green onions.

EggFlip

New in the Minneapolis skyway (601 S. Marquette Ave. #208, Minneapolis), EggFlip’s sandwiches, bowls, and burritos have rocketed it to the top of my “to-visit” list. Between this and Egg On a Roll, downtown Minneapolis is having itself a lil’ egg sandwich boom.

Klassics Kitchen + Cocktails

Klassics Kitchen + Cocktails is the latest Mill District restaurant from Gerard and Brittney Klass, the couple who just opened C.R.E.A.M. Cafe nextdoor. (They’re also behind Soul Bowl.) Cocktails are in the $11-$15 range, with a food menu that includes tasty-sounding stuff like curry chicken gnocchi and mesquite short ribs. 

Treats No. 3

As of March 16, the North Loop has an ice cream shop thanks to Treats, which opened its third local location at ​​314 N. Second St., Minneapolis. Not a bad month for downtown Minneapolis and the North Loop, eh? 

Dave’s Hot Chicken

Dave’s Hot Chicken’s speedy MN expansion continued this month with the opening of a location in the former Highland Park Dairy Queen space (1959 Ford Parkway, St. Paul—not a good DQ anyway, if we do say so ourselves). Their first MN location opened less than a year ago in Minnetonka; they’ve got a spot slated for Apple Valley as well. (Plans for a DHC in Maple Grove were just rejected by the city.) 

So-Yen Desserts

After operating as a pop-up donut shop, So-Yen hosted a grand opening at its St. Paul space (275 Fourth St. E.) this month. These brioche donuts and Asian-inspired desserts are flyin’ outta here—just look at that opening day line

Jackey’s Peg Leg

What a name! Jackey’s Peg Leg, a Latin bistro that promises "fiery dishes," is now open at 380 Cedar St., St. Paul (formerly Hunan Garden).

Keefer Court

The highly anticipated comeback of Keefer Court, which closed its 40-year-old Minneapolis bakery and restaurant at the tail end of 2023, is here. Now located inside Asia Mall in Eden Prairie, they’ve got all the sweet and savory buns and baked goods your little heart desires. 

Slice Watch Bar

The Slice Brothers empire just keeps growing—now, with Slice Watch Bar in St. Paul's Treasure Island Center (400 Wabasha St. N.). In addition to their big ol’ East Coast-style slices, this Slice Brothers spot also has wings, salads, garlic knots, and more.

Picnic

Linden Hills’ Picnic (4307 Upton Ave. S., Minneapolis) just softly opened on March 29; its grand opening is slated for tomorrow, April 2. They’re bringing neighborhoody vibes, lots of NA drinks, and shareable picnic boards to the old Clancey’s Meats address. 

The 19 Bar, during happier daysEm Cassel

Closed, Closing, and Changing

Coconut Whisk

Vegan and gluten-free bakery Coconut Whisk (900 S. Marquette Ave., Minneapolis) closed at the end of March after three years in downtown Minneapolis. "We’re sad, relieved, grateful, sad again, humbled, and appreciative all at the same time," its owners wrote in an Instagram farewell.

Vegan East

Tough month for vegans! After almost six years at 2409 Lyndale Ave. S., Vegan East closed that location. ("Why? We will cover that at a later time," their goodbye reads.) The Vegan East at 5501 34th Ave. S., Minneapolis is still open.

Galactic Pizza

Lyn-Lake's Galactic Pizza closed abruptly on March 5, with an announcement thanking customers and staff for their years of support. (All 20 of 'em!)

The 19 Bar

Man, this one hurts: The reliably wonderful 19 Bar, one of the oldest gay bars in Minnesota or anywhere else in the country, suffered a terrible fire earlier this month. Photos of the interior show it's more or less destroyed. It feels very bad. But you can feel slightly less bad by donating to one of two GoFundMe pages set up to support the staff, or by attending this benefit on Sunday at the Saloon.

Origami Uptown → Origami Tiger Sushi

Origami Restaurant quietly closed earlier this year, but Melody Hoffman at Southwest Voices reports that the Uptown eatery will reopen on April 5. It'll have a new owner, Phon Sisomphan, according to its liquor license filing, and a new name: Origami Tiger Sushi.

A peek inside Tap In on the North Side, which is "92.7%" finished, according to a late February Instagram post.Instagram: @tap.in.mn

Just Announced and Coming Soon

Diane’s Place

After a long wait, we have an opening date for chef Diane Moua’s restaurant in the Food Building, and it’s soon: April 6! Diane’s Place will be open 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily for breakfast and lunch, with dinner following soon. 

Aster House

Aster Café has long been a great place to catch live music, and now, the restaurant is going all in on it. Owner Jeff Arundel tells Chris Riemenschneider at the Star Tribune that he plans to open a new 200-capacity restaurant and venue this summer, just a block from Aster Café’s original St. Anthony Main space (which isn’t going anywhere). That gets a big hell yeah from us. 

Sculpture Garden Eats

A restaurant for the Walker’s Sculpture Garden? Total no-brainer. Kind of can’t believe there isn’t one already. Mpls.St.Paul Mag’s Stephanie March had a great scoop on the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Walker’s teaming up to bring this new concession stand to life; you can still submit an application through April 5. 

Darling Neighborhood Café

The folks behind Peoples Organic—who also happen to have been Prince’s personal chefs—will soon open Darling in the former Birchwood Cafe space in Seward, according to Sharyn Jackson at the Star Tribune. (You may recall that the Tracy Singleton-owned Birchwood has been for sale for a while, and closed for a long while, following a dispute in which three-quarters of the staff was laid off.) It could open as soon as late April. 

Tap In

It’s been a long, licensing drama-laden road for Tap In, the restaurant and bar heading for a former gas station on Lowry Avenue in North Minneapolis. But according to Eater Twin Cities, it’s “on the brink of opening” at 2618 Lowry Avenue North.

Wrap

Graze Provisions + Libations in the North Loop is about to have “handheld food stuff” from the Wrecktangle team. They’re calling it Wrap—a continuation (or a recreation?) of the sandwich stall they had at the North Loop Galley food hall a few years back. Look for it to land at Graze this spring. 

Hope Breakfast Bar North Loop + Salt & Flour + Bassett Hound 

The new North Loop Green development (that’s the big one you could watch going up from Target Field) is welcoming residents, and soon, according to the North Loop neighborhood org, it’ll have a pair of new restaurants, both from chef Brian Ingram of Purpose Restaurants. One will be another location of his already popular Hope Breakfast Bar; the second is an Italian eatery, Salt & Flour. North Loop Green will also have a new concept from Marquee Development and Levy called Bassett Hound, this one along its one-acre green space. Named for the Bassett Creek that flows beneath it, that one’s scheduled to open June 1.

La Madre 

The Vicinity, a mixed-use building on the corner of Washington Street and Park Avenue in the Mill District, is getting a bar and restaurant specializing in Mexican street food, per The Development Tracker. La Madre comes from Abe Ponce Delgadillo of La Tapatia in Roseville, and is aiming to open in late August or early September. 

Ococo

Malaysian and Thai street food is coming soon to the Minneapolis skyway, according to J.D. Duggan at the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal. Abby Sia and Eve Tha-uea are behind the new skyway spot, which should open soon at 811 LaSalle Ave. 

Barcelona Wine Bar

For Downtown Voices, Brianna Kelly has the skinny on Barcelona Wine Bar—a national chain with 22 locations in 11 states, that will open its first Midwest location this year at 508 Washington Ave. N. What did we say about downtown and the North Loop?

Catzen Coffee Bar & Den

We missed this last month, but a cat cafe and coffee lab is heading for Grand Avenue (1416 Grand Ave., St. Paul, to be exact). They’ll have lots of local treats: Dogwood Coffee, pastries from Hot Hands Pie and Biscuits, and snacks from Re-Mix Popcorn and Soul Grain granola, according to their website

In the Works

As previously reported in the Racket Restaurant Roundup

Crossing Bridge Noodle

Construction is underway at the old Bad Waitress building on Eat Street (2 E. 26th St., Minneapolis), where Sushi Train co-owner Kevin Ni will soon open Crossing Bridge Noodle, according to Southwest Voices. Their specialty? Crossing-the-bridge noodles, a pho-like dish made with whole chicken broth as the base.

Small Hours

A new “hi-fi wine bar” from sommelier Sarina Garibovič of Ženska Glava and songwriter/musician Sam Cassidy is in the works, according to the Star Tribune. Small Hours (2201 NE Second St., Minneapolis) will have wine-adjacent snacks like bread and tinned fish, and what sounds like a very fun selection of vintage audio equipment. Look for it to open this summer. 

WildChld

Stepchld will soon get a next-door sibling: Wildchld, a cocktail bar that’s headed for 24 University Ave. NE. The Strib reports that the new bar is a collab between restaurateur Kamal Mohamed of Stepchld—which just got a full liquor license of its own to boot—and Bridgit Loeffelholz at Dampfwerk Distillery in St. Louis Park.

Tono Pizzeria + Cheesesteaks Minneapolis

Southwest Voices had the scoop on Tono Pizza and Cheesesteaks’ upcoming takeover of the long-vacant Michelangelo’s Masterpizzas space. Per our count, this’ll be Tono No. 7 in the Twin Cities—but the first one in Minneapolis.

Minari

No, not the tear-jerking, critically acclaimed film about the struggle for the American dream—this Minari comes from Daniel del Prado student Jeff Watson, per the Star Tribune. It’ll open in the old Erté & the Peacock Lounge space (323 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis), with a focus on Korean food, this summer. 

Chimborazo St. Paul

Oh, good people of St. Paul, I’m so happy for you! The amazing Chimborazo is expanding into the old Rusty Taco at 508 Lexington Pkwy. S. You deserve this!!

Walkin’ Dog

Downtown Minneapolis skyway staple Walkin’ Dog is (kinda) coming back! Northstar Center shared the news on LinkedIn (LinkedIn!), saying you’ll soon be able to “enjoy dogs, malts, sides and camaraderie in an updated version of this Minneapolis classic that honors Dave & Cindy Magnuson’s legacy.” 

NY Gyro

The corner address on Lyn-Lake that was very briefly Chicago’s Very Own will soon reopen as yet another restaurant named for out-of-state fare: New York Gyro is moving in. The location opposite Wrecktangle Pizza (2944 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis) will be their seventh in Minnesota, Bring Me the News reports.

Jade Dynasty Restaurant and Bar

Not far from the forthcoming NY Gyro, there’s finally good news for the old Fuji Ya space at 600 W. Lake St. Southwest Voices reports that a new hot pot and dim sum spot called Jade Dynasty Restaurant and Bar is planned to open there sometime this winter. The restaurant comes from Chuen Sai “Paul” Wu and Eric Zeng, and will specialize in Cantonese dishes and authentic Asian cuisine. 

Chilango

Petit León’s James Beard-nominated chef Jorge Guzmán is opening an “elevated Mex-Tex” restaurant at the Beach Club Residences on Bde Maka Ska (2900 Thomas Ave S., Minneapolis). The Star Tribune reports it’ll open in February-ish of 2024 (I realize we’re now through March), with food Guzmán says is “bold, full of flavor, and playful."

Tender Lovin Chix

The former Fire and Nice Alehouse spot (2700 Lyndale Ave S., Minneapolis) won’t be vacant long; MSP Mag has the scoop on Tender Lovin Chix, a food truck-turned-brick 'n' mortar from Marques (Ques) Johnson (of the short-lived CHX tendie shops) and Billy Tserenbat (of Billy Sushi). They’re looking to open in spring of 2024. 

Lynette

It was a bummer when Richfield’s Lyn65 closed to make way for an apartment complex a few years back, and it was a bummer when Riverview Cafe and Wine Bar closed indefinitely back in 2021. Good news on both fronts from Mpls. St. Paul Mag: Lynette, an homage to Lyn65 from a few of its founders, will head to the former Riverview space (3751 42nd Ave. S., Minneapolis) in spring 2024.

Vinai

The former Dangerous Man building will soon house chef Yia Vang’s long awaited Hmong fine-dining restaurant, Vinai. Initially announced pre-pandemic for another location (1300 NE 2nd St., Minneapolis), Vinai is now expected to open in spring 2024. “This restaurant is about carrying on my parents' legacy,” Vang says in a press release. “But it’s also about carrying on a piece of Dangerous Man’s legacy, and the legacy of the community here.”  

Animales Brick 'n' Mortar

Here’s a meaty story for ya: Animales BBQ is looking to open in a brick-'n'-mortar building. Year-round ribs, folks! Jon Wipfli (of Animales) is teaming up with Billy Tserenbat (of Billy Sushi) to bring the place to life in either the North Loop or northeast Minneapolis.

New North Loop Project from Tim McKee

James Beard Award-winning chef Tim McKee (La Belle Vie, Sea Change, Octo Fishbar) has his eyes set on the North Loop for a new project inspired by the Basque region of Spain. He's being tight-lipped about the endeavor for now, but has revealed that it'll be somewhere on First Street and open sometime in this year. Read more via the Strib.

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