Vegan Ethiopian, Dino Bars, and More November News in the Racket Restaurant Roundup
Your monthly recap of comings and goings in the food/drink scene.
2:23 PM CST on November 30, 2023
Welcome back to the Racket Restaurant Roundup, the most alliterative guide to restaurant openings, closings, and coming soon-ings (coming-ings soon?) in town! This month brings us a new tenant at the Sociable Cider Werks trailer, the abrupt closing of a local vegan chain, two new tenants for the Market at Malcolm Yards, and much more. Let's dig in, shall we?
Golden Thyme Presents
Golden Thyme Presents is the new name of a cool collab in the former Golden Thyme space at 934 Selby Ave. in St. Paul that opened on Halloween thanks to the Rondo Community Land Trust. The trust bought the building to serve as an incubator for Black-owned businesses, and first up? It’s Sammy McDowell of Sammy’s Avenue Eatery on weekdays, with Gravy Babies, owned by Jocie Thomas, serving up soul food on the weekends.
A Southwest Voices newsletter pointed us to the early November opening of Lulu EthioVegan Cuisine (12 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis), a new Ethiopian and vegan restaurant in Stevens Square-Loring Heights. Looks like they’re open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily—and you can find more updates on TikTok. Those mushroom tibs look real good.
Kim’s and Bronto Bar
Speaking of mushrooms… yes, it’s true, Sooki & Mimi is no more, taking the life-changing mushroom birria tacos with it. But early reviews of Ann Kim’s replacement, the Korean-American Kim’s (1432 W. 31st St., Minneapolis), are predictably glowing, and the basement Bronto Bar looks like a lotta fun.
Masa & Agave
Following the opening of Breva last month, the Hotel Ivy’s new cocktail lounge, Masa & Agave (1115 Second Ave. S., Minneapolis), opened November 10. The “speakeasy cantina” has a menu of tacos, snacks, and cocktails, with a selection of 200 (!) agave spirits.
So & So’s MN Street Food
The Sociable Cider Werks food trailer (1500 Fillmore St. NE, Minneapolis), which has helped launch such exceptional eateries as Francis and Sammy’s Avenue Eatery and Union Hmong Kitchen, has its latest tenant: So & So’s MN Street Food. What is “MN street food?” Well, per chef TJ Lauthe, it’s stuff like a wild rice dog, homemade chips and seasoned sour cream, totchos, and cider-battered walleye.
A Racket reader sent us a tip about PK Cafe, which is newly opened at 4010 E. 46th St., Minneapolis. They’ve got Thai dishes like khao soi, Chinese dishes like dan dan noodles, and Japanese dishes like tonkotsu ramen, plus bubble tea, Japanese waffles, and more.
Pauly's Pub & Grill
The old Kalsada space (1668 Selby Ave., St. Paul,) wasn’t empty long—it’s now Pauly’s Pub & Grill, which the Pioneer Press calls “a very St. Paul neighborhood bar.” It’s co-owned by the restaurateur behind Eagle Street Grille and Ox Cart Ale House & Rooftop, and they’re bringing a little Irish charm to the neighborhood.
Elsewhere in St. Paul, Mandalay Kitchen is serving up Burmese cuisine, including, according to Eater Twin Cities, a Chapli Juicy Lucy I simply must try. They’re open in the former Marc Heu space in Frogtown.
Closed, Closing, or Changing
Stalk and Spade
Stalk and Spade, the vegan chain whose name sounds like a Hulu horror series, abruptly closed all three of its local fast-food establishments on November 1. The plant-based burger and shake joints from Crisp & Green’s Steele Smiley had opened locations in Wayzata, Edina, and Minneapolis beginning in 2021.
Bad news all around for Keg & Case this month, with the news that after a number of tough years the St. Paul food hall has officially gone to its lender in foreclosure. Perhaps unsurprisingly, that uncertainly isn’t sitting well with tenants like Clutch Brewing Company, which has announced it’ll close at the end of this year. “Many factors have led to this conclusion, and it’s just not sustainable to keep the brewery up and running,” their farewell read. They’ve got weekly deals going through 2023.
Just Announced and Coming Soon
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 will be their seventh in MN, 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. 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.
Mr. Paul’s Po’ Boys and Revival Smoked Meats at Malcolm Yards
Two new tenants have been announced at Malcolm Yards Market, which continues, un-Keg-and-Case-like, to thrive: Mr. Paul’s Po’ Boys and Jams and Revival Smoked Meats. Mr. Paul’s comes from the folks behind the supper club of the same name in Edina; Revival comes from, yes, the Revival folks. Look for both to open in January.
Expect bruschetta, fresh pasta, and lots of salads from Gia, the forthcoming Italian eatery from chef-owners Jo Seddon and Lisa Wengler. They’re planning a neighborhood restaurant for the old Cavé Vin space at 5555 Xerxes Ave. S., with hopes of opening near the end of January, according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
In the Works
As previously reported in the Racket restaurant roundup…
Axios had the scoop on 801 Fish, a new seafood spot from the folks behind 801 Chophouse, almost a year ago. The restaurant will take over McCormick & Schmick's (which closed in 2020) very soon—this November, according to the Biz Journal, but it's November now, and I haven't seen a peep about it opening, so... December?
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.
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 spot 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 next year.
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. The Star Tribune reports it’ll open in February-ish of 2024, with food Guzmán says is “bold, full of flavor, and playful."
The former Revival/Corner Table space in Minneapolis’s Kingfield neighborhood has been empty for a while now… but won’t be much longer. Bûcharon, from a bunch of Gavin Kaysen alums, is planning to open there early this winter if all goes well, according to Mpls. St. Paul Mag, with “all the standards of Demi with a more laid back approach.”
New Spot from Diane Moua
It’s been a year since lauded pastry chef Diane Moua announced she was leaving Bellecour to focus on her own thing, and we have an update as of October: The yet-to-be-named restaurant will open in the Food Building (1401 NE. Marshall St.) in NE Minneapolis, according to the Strib. Still no word on the opening date.
“If we have to pin it down, Dario is an American restaurant with Italian, French, and Asian influences,” writes Mpls. St. Paul’s Stephanie March about Dario, a new spot at 323 N. Washington Ave. in the North Loop from industry lifers Joe Rolle and Stephen Rowe. Look for it to land in early 2024.
Tender Lovin Chix
The former Fire and Nice Alehouse spot won’t be vacant long; Mpls. St. Paul Mag has the scoop on Tender Lovin Chix, a food truck-turned-brick and 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.
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.
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, 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.”
Mediterranean at Vo’s
Vo’s Vietnamese (3450 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis) hit the market earlier this year (you heard it here first), and the Business Journal reports that it sold in August; it could soon become a Mediterranean restaurant.
The folks behind Centro are taking a break from tacos with their latest venture, Bina’s, a “classic dive bar” at 1404 Quincy St. NE in Minneapolis (next to their original Northeast location). Bring Me the News reports it’ll have burgers, mozzarella sticks, and fried pickles, plus Hamm’s, PBR, and agave spirits. As for whether one can simply manifest a dive bar, in 2023, in a part of Minneapolis with perhaps the highest concentration of actual dive bars in the state? We’ll see!
Ono Hawaiian Plates
Not to be confused with the wonderful On’s Kitchen, Ono Hawaiian Plates is also expanding into a new location inside United Noodles (2015 E. 24th St., Minneapolis). RIP UniDeli, but this is excellent news. And that’s not all: They’ll also soon have a grab-'n'-go counter at Lunds & Byerlys in St. Paul's Highland Park, the Strib reports. (Read our recent chat with Ono's Warren Seta about Spam here.)
Mother Dough No. 3
David Fhima’s Mother Dough Bakery is adding a third location this fall, according to Bring Me the News. You’ll find it in the Mill District, on the ground floor of the Vicinity Apartments building at Park Avenue & South Second Street.
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 2023. Read more via the Strib.
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