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Jamaican Eats at Midtown Global, Jazzy Snacks in the North Loop, and More February Restaurant News

Plus: TokiDoki Burger and A Bar of Their Own both open this weekend!

Isabel Subtil Photography|

Flirty plates *and* brassy tunes? In this economy? It’s true, Berlin does both.

Normally February is not the busiest time here in the Twin Cities when it comes to food and drink news. Restaurants tend to time their openings for the warmer months, when folks are out and about, and there’s the practical matter of completing a buildout efficiently with below-zero temps and two feet of snow on the ground.

But now that February is a warmer month? We’ve got lots of openings to announce, including a few this weekend that are technically in March. Just another weird thing about life at the end of the world, eh? What fun. On to the latest Racket Restaurant Roundup!

Now Open 

Berlin

This new North Loop jazz club (204 N. First St., Minneapolis) has quite the packed calendar—but why do we bring that up here in the ol’ RRR? Well, because Berlin also has a menu of snacky plates and such (soft pretzel with cervelat cheese, baked gnocchi, chicken thigh schnitzel) that’s been overseen by former Grand Café owner and current Paris Dining Club curator Jamie Malone.

Gia

Chefs Jo Seddon and Lisa Wengler, both formerly of Bellecour, are bringing neighborhoody Italian eats and homey hospitality to the former Cave Vin space in Armatage (5555 Xerxes Ave. S., Minneapolis). At Gia, the menu changes weekly and highlights fresh seasonal produce, so you’ll have to grab a bar seat and a cocktail and see what they’re cooking up.

Irie Jamaican Express

Jerk chicken, curry goat, and oxtail stew are all on the menu at Irie, the newest tenant at Midtown Global Market (920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis). Spices imported from the Caribbean? "Rasta Pasta?" Sounds good to us!

Nico’s Tacos and Agave Bar 

Nico's Tacos and Agave Bar is up and running after a quick turnaround at 50th and Penn (4959 Penn Ave. S., Minneapolis, to be exact). This is the third Nico’s to bring chef Alejandro Victoria’s Michoacán-honed cooking to the Twin Cities, with heritage corn tortillas, fresh, housemade salsas, and more. 

Brew Lab 101

At Brew Lab 101, you’ll find a Mexican lager with pickle juice (Dill with It), a malty midwest-style IPA (Ope), and Walter Wit, a wit-style beer that arrives with a fresh orange slice. The new North Loop brewery (25 N. Fourth St., Minneapolis) also has food, and lots of hatch green chiles—and it also has two locations in New Mexico.

Highland Popcorn

Highland Popcorn, a nonprofit pop shop that employs people with disabilities, is now open at 2138 Ford Pkwy., St. Paul. "Our experience from a family perspective—and also as an advocate, for many years, for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families—is that some of the opportunities that you and I have out there in our communities just simply aren't there or are really hard to find," founder Shamus O’Meara, whose son is autistic, told Racket in December.

The Brothers Cafe

The old Vo’s Vietnamese (3450 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis) is now The Brothers Cafe, an all-day breakfast spot with biscuits and gravy, burritos, omelets, and more. They’ve also got dinner, from burgers to bourbon chicken.

Càphin Minneapolis

Minneapolis’s first Vietnamese coffee truck is now its first Vietnamese coffee shop. Located at 4503 France Ave. S., Càphin also has SoYen Donuts (which were just profiled by Eater Twin Cities) and Bao Bao Buns (which were just profiled by Racket).

SunBean Coffee Shop

"SunBean Coffee Shop will light up a long-vacant Standish-Ericsson storefront," we reported in August, and folks? That day is finally here. SunBean (4553 34th Ave. S., Minneapolis) serves up coffee with a side of serotonin, thanks to light therapy lamps located along the bar. Perhaps as likely to improve your mood? They’ve also got breakfast sammies. 

Annie’s Parlour

Annie’s is back from the dead! Closed since the pandemic hit, the renovated Dinkytown restaurant is opening in shifts, according to Mpls.St.Paul Mag, which caught up with co-owners Tony and Tom Rimarcik. 

Café Cerés No. 4

Shawn McKenzie can’t be stopped! The James Beard award-nominated pastry chef just opened a fourth location of Café Cerés, this one right over by Minnehaha Falls (4603 Minnehaha Ave. S., Minneapolis).

Instagram: @bcwb_mn

Closed and Closing

Black Coffee and Waffle Bar

Bring Me the News reports that Black Coffee and Waffle Bar’s original location in Como will close on March 17, with its owners saying “it’s time for a change." It’ll still be a coffee shop: locally-owned Vitality Roasting is moving into the space. 

Apoy

Kingfield Filipino restaurant Apoy has announced its closure. After opening in 2018, “The community quite quickly made us understand that they were here to support our food, our family, and most importantly, our vision,” a Facebook farewell reads. The final evening of service will be March 23, and the good news is that this means the Apoy food truck will hit the road again. 

Hell’s Cafeteria

Hell’s Cafeteria, the quick-grab lunch spot from Hell’s Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis, is now closed, according to a post from the restaurant. “It's no secret (or surprise) that the office crowds never materialized, but even more importantly, Hell's Kitchen, on the other hand, blew us away with a 38% increase just last year alone, and our attention needs to laser focus on the continued growth of our underground restaurant,” the post says. So that seems really good!

Tattersall Distilling Northeast

You’ve got plenty of time yet to say your goodbyes, but Tattersall co-founder John Kriedler did tell MSP Mag that they’ll leave Minneapolis at the end of this year, following a weird scam situation involving disappearing rent money and an eviction notice from their landlord. 

Sommelier Sarina Garibovič of Ženska Glava will open Small Hours this summer.Em Cassel

Just Announced and Coming Soon

A Bar of Their Own

Minnesota’s first all-women’s sports bar opens this weekend at 2207 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, and they’re expecting big crowds and long lines. Get there early if you wanna grab a beer and a barstool!

TokiDoki Burger

That was fast: TokiDoki Burger, the new burger joint from Ramen Kazama, will open March 1 at 3406 Nicollet Ave., according to Southwest Voices.

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. 

Wild Chld

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.

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.

EggFlip

RIP to the skyway Taco John’s, but EggFlip, which will serve Korean-style egg sandwiches and breakfast bowls, according to Downtown Voices, sounds really good. Follow EggFlip’s Instagram for updates.

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! Just this morning, I saw a tweet that the amazing Chimborazo is expanding into the old Rusty Taco at 508 Lexington Pkwy. S. You deserve this!!

Klassics Kitchen + Cocktails 

It’s not just the new C.R.E.A.M. Cafe—Gerard and Brittney Klass have announced that they’ll open an evening eatery in the adjacent space at 428 S. Second St. in Minneapolis later this year. 

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.” 

Dave's Hot Chicken

The Dairy Queen on Ford Parkway in St. Paul—the absolute bottom of the barrel in Racket’s DQ ranking—has closed. The location will soon instead house Dave's Hot Chicken, according to the Pioneer Press. (This is the chicken chain franchised by the Kris Humphries family, and this location is one of 16 planned for Minnesota.) Look for an early 2024 opening. 

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. 

Keefer Court

Just great news all around here: Keefer Court, the beloved Chinese bakery that closed at the tail end of 2022 after nearly 40 years at Cedar Riverside, has a new home. The bakery is headed for Asia Mall in Eden Prairie, where it’ll be owned by the owners of Pho Mai, who have purchased the bakery and will learn the recipes from Keefer Court’s original owner, Sunny Kwan, Sahan Journal reports. The latest news is that they're hoping for a December opening.

Picnic

The old Clancey's space in Linden Hills (4307 Upton Ave. S., Minneapolis) will soon become a “neighborhood gathering spot first, food second” kind of place called Picnic, Southwest Voices reports. They’ll have snacky platters, picnic boards, sandwiches, and the like. Their website is up and running; look for it to open early this year.

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, with food Guzmán says is “bold, full of flavor, and playful."

Diane’s Place

It’s been a long time since lauded pastry chef Diane Moua announced she was leaving Bellecour to focus on her own thing, but we got another update in November: The restaurant, now known as Diane's Place, will land in the Food Building (1401 NE. Marshall St.) in northeast Minneapolis, according to Eater Twin Cities. It's slated to open early this year.

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 (the short-lived CHX tendie shops) and Billy Tserenbat (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

So, about the former Dangerous Man building? It’ll 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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