On Wednesday night, Eat Street Crossing—the new food hall at 29th and Nicollet—invited media, neighbors, bartenders, influencers, artists, restaurateurs, and all kinds of friendly folks to drink, feast, and drink again before the new space opens to the public this Saturday, March 4.
A good food hall is like an elevated mall food court. It should offer a good mix of possibilities, whether you’re grabbing a quick snack on the go, looking for something photogenic for the ‘gram, or eating a whole dang meal. Also, unlike your mall's Sbarro, it should have booze. Eat Street Crossing hits all of those sweet spots.
While menus are still being solidified, last night my colleague Keith Harris and I managed to eat and drink our way through the early offerings.The following is a roundup of all the things we tried, stall-by-stall.
Located in the former Old Arizona Studio building at 2821 Nicollet Ave. (right before the street curves and forces you to drive behind the cursed Kmart), this renovated warehouse features high ceilings, exposed brick, and a wall of glass garage doors that can be opened when the weather is nice. They did a good job with seating; even at last night's packed party there were plenty of places to sit or stand and eat. The outside patio is going to be a fun place to hang once the weather shifts.
Let’s talk booze. The giant bar is one of the first things you'll see when you enter Eat Street Crossing. There’s lots of seating here—enough for there to even be open spots during a packed party. You can get beer ($6-$8), nice pours of wine ($9), classic stuff like old fashioneds and negronis ($11), and not one but two fancy cocktail menus developed by local bev expert Trish Gavin.
One of those menus is zodiac themed. The “Libra” is particularly delicious, with rum, strawberry, and coconut. We also tried included the Gemini (ume whiskey, yuzy, salted plum, sparkling wine—refreshing!) and the Sagittarius (tequila, sour cherry, sherry, amaretto; tasted like cough syrup. You can’t win them all!).
These guys are also right up at the front. Here ESC co-founders John Ng and Lina Goh are giving us the kind of unpretentious—but really good!—sushi like the kind you'd find at grab-and-go spots in Japan. The onigirazu, a rice-loaded sandwich encased in a seaweed wrapper, is pure comfort food. We tried one stuffed with tempura shrimp and fried tofu and loved it. The SPAM onigirazu was the hot item of the night; once we nabbed one we were surprised to find that it also had pork belly, really good pork belly, but we kinda hope a SPAM-only version comes to the menu, too.
There was a rainbow of ice cream flavors in the case last night, including a Thai coffee flavor, one loaded with puppy chow (chocolate- and peanut butter-covered Chex), and a chocolate scoop infused with tequila. Two spots down Bebe Zito was also serving up an Eat Street exclusive: honey butter chicken tendies. We found them to be generously meaty, though my colleague Keith does object to the word “tendies” (“I'm not a child who needs to be coaxed into eating food! I can say ‘tenders’—it's even the same number of letters”).
Bebe Zito’s Gabriella Grant-Spangler and Ben Spangler are also serving up a wild variety of Brazilian pizza here. These slices are so different from anything else you’ll find in the Twin Cities, and so, so good. The shrimp pizza with goat cheese, onion, and artichoke made for a very different and surprisingly delicious mix. Other samplings we tried and loved included chicken and pistachio and a meat slice with spicy honey. We also tried a variety of dessert pizza, including a guava pizza (turns out guava has the same tart/sweetness of a tomato, with a basil-like finish) and a banana pizza with a buttery caramel sauce that, amazingly, was not overly sweet. We've been sleeping on Brazilian pizza, y'all!
In the back of the space and off to the right is Ramen Shoten’s little side room, where you’ll find hot noodles and meats in broth, topped with plentiful fixings. (Keith on the ramen: “The broth was rich but not overpowering, and the pickled onions were a nice touch.”)
We spotted lots of people carrying around adorable bubble tea in those iconic vacuum sealed cups thanks to Chatime—Eat Street Crossing boasts the newest location of the Taiwanese teahouse chain, which has more than 2,500 stores around the globe. If you’re not doing cocktails, this is where you’ll find your pretty drink for the ‘gram.
Eat Street Crossing 2821 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis Opens Saturday, March 4 at 11 a.m. after words and a ribbon cutting with Mayor Jacob Frey.