Updated January 16, 2020
Order Up! is the Growler’s ongoing biweekly account of noteworthy Minnesota restaurant openings, closings, and future openings. Please send any tips to [email protected]
All dates are approximate based on best information available; opening dates, in particular, tend to shift around a lot.
THIS WEEK’S GIST: What causes a restaurant to close? Customers and neighbors always speculate about “the reason,” but in truth, the hospitality business can be tremendously opaque. Wages, real estate, changing tastes, clashing owners, departure of a prize chef or veteran server, parking, lack of reliable employees (or adequate wages and training), climbing prices for ingredients—the actual mix that shuts the doors is complicated and often impenetrable even to those on the inside of the situation. (See the recent City Pages write up about the recent downtown Minneapolis Ike’s closing, and the accompanying comments, for a brief tour of what it’s like to try to piece things together after the fact.) It’s tempting to turn every closing into a cautionary tale, but in fact it can be difficult to generalize as competition pushes one spot under while causes another to blossom creatively, or as a food trend gets declared “dead” only for a new restaurant to bring it back with a new spin.
RECENTLY OPENED (Up to 2 Months)
The Lumberjack, 123 North 2nd St, Suite 102, Stillwater ■ Axe throwing, board games, and comfort food are among the key draws at this new Stillwater restaurant. Opened December 21, 2019.
North Loop Galley, 729 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis ■ A four-restaurant food hall / incubator in the new Nordic development featuring Hawaiian plate lunches, Detroit-style pizza, the home of “the original chicken wrib,” and Southeastern Asian cuisine. Part of a series of Galley Group incubator spaces including spots in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Detroit. Opened December 16, 2019.
just/us, 275 4th St E, St. Paul ■ This chef-driven collective restaurant, open for about a year at 465 Wabasha Street, has reopened with support from crowdfunding. Opened December 10, 2019. Read our review, “Raw Talent.”
Asa’s Bakery, 3507 23rd Ave. S., Minneapolis ■ Midtown Farmers Market vendor Asa Diebolt is bringing bagels, naturally leavened bread and bialys to a South Minneapolis bricks and mortar location. Opened December 7, 2019.
Forest to Fork’s Urban Wok, Keg and Case at 928 7th St W, St. Paul ■ A new, restaurant-focused side of the Forest to Fork mushroom and wild foods business in Keg and Case, featuring vegan and vegetarian stir-fry and noodle options. Opened November 18, 2019.
RECENTLY CLOSED (Up to 2 Months)
Blackbird Cafe ■ Blackbird’s 13-year odyssey—which involved a catastrophic fire, a successful change of venue, and innovative fusion cuisine and wine offerings—ended early this year. Closed Jan 7.
Ike’s Food and Cocktails (downtown Minneapolis location) ■ As per City Pages, rent-related struggles seem to have contributed to ending this restaurant’s 18-year run. Closed Jan 2.
Sanctuary ■ Avant-garde food and a theater-proximate location were enough to carry this stylish restaurant for more than a decade. Closed Jan 1.
Mercado ■ The Jester Concepts Mexican-inspired spot at LynLake is shutting its doors after a relatively brief run. Closed December 31.
Hickory-n-Hops ■ The former Lyndale Taphouse gave up the ghost after a change of ownership and rebranding effort last summer. Closed December 30.
Supatra’s Thai ■ This beloved West 7th Thai mainstay has shut its doors after a 15-year-run; owner Supatra Johnson plans to offer Thai cooking classes in 2020. Closed December 28.
Maeve’s Cafe ■ Longstanding Northeast Minneapolis staple Maeve’s Cafe is shutting its doors later this month. Closing December 22.
Spoonriver ■ One of the key Guthrie Theater-adjacent (and vegetarian-friendly) spots in Minneapolis is shutting its doors after nearly 15 years of service. Closing December 22.
Happy Gnome ■ After a long, high-profile run as one of the state’s foundational craft beer bars, the Happy Gnome threw in the towel at the end of 2019. Closed December 22.
Piggy Bank Eatery ■ The latest tenant in what surely must rank among the top five “cursed” locations in the metro (Hennepin and 29th) has closed. Closed November 20.
UPCOMING (Most Imminent to Furthest Out)
Phi Chay Thai Cuisine, 967 W 7th St, St Paul ■ The former Supatra’s Thai location on West 7th is reopening under new ownership, but keeping the Thai theme. Opening January 20.
Heather’s, 5201 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis ■ The long-vacant Mario’s space in South Minneapolis will be reborn with a flexible, seasonal menu under the leadership of Heather Asbury, formerly of Lucia’s. Opening Winter 2020.
Cajun Twist, 3761 Bloomington Ave, Minneapolis ■ This Cajun-inspired restaurant will be moving from its current location at the trailhead at Theodore Wirth Park to the former Marla’s location in South Minneapolis. Opening Winter 2020.
Pie & Mighty, 3553 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis ■ Gourmet pies (and pie subscriptions) will be the thing at this bricks-and-mortar incarnation of the popular local baking company. Opening Winter 2020.
Pearl and the Thief, 811 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis ■ This former Stillwater-based restaurant is in the process of relocating to downtown Minneapolis, colocating with the Moxy Downtown Minneapolis hotel and Ironclad Residential development. Opening timing unclear.
Pajarito (Edina location), 3910 W 50th St, Edina ■ A second location of the popular West 7th modern Mexican restaurant is opening up in the former Tejas space in Edina. Opening Winter 2020.
Coffee Cup on Randolph, 1333 Randolph Ave., St. Paul ■ The venerable Copper Dome is being replaced by a similar classic diner concept with new ownership. Opening January 11, 2020.
Sooki and Mimi, 1432 W. 31st St., Minneapolis ■ A new spot from Ann Kim’s restaurant group focused on tacos wrapped in handmade, traditional tortillas plus a basement bar. Early 2020.
Unleashed: Hounds and Hops, 200 E. Lyndale Ave., Minneapolis ■ A dog-focused tap house, dog park, and eatery located near the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Early 2020.
Pho Mai, 319 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis ■ A new pho-focused eatery in a former Dinkytown Tim Horton’s, from the owner of the popular MT Noodles in Brooklyn Park. February 2020.
Malcolm Yards Market, 501 30th Ave. SE, Minneapolis ■ A food hall that will capitalize on its proximity to Surly’s massive brewery/restaurant complex. Spring 2020.
Bebe Zito Ice Cream, 704 W. 22nd St, Minneapolis ■ An upscale ice cream shop by Ben Spangler, who created the opening slate of flavors for Milkjam. March 2020.
Vinai Hmong Kitchen, Location TBA ■ The Kickstarter-backed bricks-and-mortar Hmong cuisine-focused restaurant by Chef Yia Vang is due to pop this year, after more than a year of planning. 2020.
Birchwood-Minnesota Farmers Union Project TBA, 750 S 2nd St, Minneapolis ■ A new farm-to-table focused project led by Birchwood chef Marshall Paulsen will replace the former Spoonriver near the Guthrie Theater. Spring 2020.
Billy Sushi, 116 N 1st Ave., Minneapolis ■ Former Sushi Fix owner Billy Tserenbat is jump-starting a new venture in the former Sweet Chow space in the North Loop, with the former adjacent ice cream shop turning into a whiskey and sake bar. May 2020.
Erik the Red (relocating), 4621 Snelling Ave, Minneapolis at the Lowa46 development, Minneapolis ■ The US Bank Stadium-adjacent “viking bar” is packing up and bringing its smoked meats, cocktails, and craft beer taps to South Minneapolis. Opening Summer 2020.
Dayton’s Food Hall & Market, 700 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis ■ Major new 40,000-square-foot food hall curated by Andrew Zimmern. 2020.
The Sioux Chef Restaurant at Water Works, On the Mississippi River, behind the Mill City Museum ■ A restaurant focused on American Indian cuisine as imagined by Sean Sherman, The Sioux Chef. Currently delayed; as per Dana Thompson (co-owner / COO of Sioux Chef), “We are at the mercy of the Park Board project and we keep getting notified that Waterworks has encountered a series of delays. As you know, this project is an archeological dig, so add that on to what it takes to open a restaurant, and there are a few challenges.” 2021.