Psycho Suzi's, Blackbird, and Rice Paper return better than ever

Remodeled, relocated, and ready to serve

At its best, Blackbird has the same sort of aw-shucks appeal of a quirky, talented individualist: It's a restaurant that isn't ashamed to be what it is. The owners aren't afraid to call a glass of cheap bubbly "cheap" (it tastes better than expected for $4 a glass but is still unpleasantly harsh) or admonish cell phone users. If you leave your device on the table, the management says it reserves the right to "accidentally" douse it with water.

If that last part makes Mollner sound rather mom-like, that's because she sees the restaurant as an extension of her home, and its patrons as her friends. "That's really the purpose of our restaurant: We want everyone to feel like they're a regular," she says. "I love that I'm serving a dinner party at my house every night."

AN EVENING AT PSYCHO SUZI'S Motor Lounge hasn't really begun until you've sipped from Leilani's Fire Bowl, touted on the menu as a "cadre of booze and boozosity." The ceramic vessel might look like a bundt pan on a pedestal—something your hippie aunt might have created in a 1970s pottery class. But the drink is as stiff as the bowl's $35 theft-prevention deposit: booze, booze, and more booze, with a splash of juice and a little ice, plus a few citrus slices and maraschino cherries. In the center of the drink bowl—an island of booze within booze—Bacardi 151 burns with a blue flame. The drink's straws are dangerously short, so beware of lengthy facial hair—certainly more than one hipster has had his ironic mustache singed.

At Rice Paper, you'll find the same menu in bigger, Edina digs
Sasha Landskov
At Rice Paper, you'll find the same menu in bigger, Edina digs

Location Info


Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge

1900 Marshall St. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Northeast Minneapolis


3800 Nicollet Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55409

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Kingfield

Rice Paper

3948 W. 50th St.
Edina, MN 55424

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Edina


Rice Paper
3948 W. 50th St., Edina
appetizers $6-$9; entrées $14-$18

Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge
1900 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis
appetizers $5-$8; entrées $7-$22

3800 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis
appetizers $6-$12; entrées $9-$20

An even greater joy than a shared bowl of booze is sharing the camaraderie at Psycho Suzi's, which continues to draw a decidedly mixed crowd that includes both Northeast's gentrifying class and its longtime residents, including that middle-aged guy in the corner with an honest-to-goodness Nordic mullet.

The new Psycho Suzi's moved into the old Gabby's space at 19th and Marshall, just down the street from its original digs. Owner Leslie Bock, who founded the iconic Uptown tattoo shop Saint Sabrina's Parlor in Purgatory, took everything great about the old Psycho Suzi's and gave us more of it.

The tiki drinks are still served in available-for-purchase decorative mugs, but they've had their recipes reworked by local cocktail gurus Johnny Michaels of La Belle Vie and Pip Hanson of Cafe Maude. They look right at home set on a tacky laminated tabletop, illuminated by a kitschy light fixture. Even the old restaurant's floor covering made the move—$50,000 worth of custom-designed carpet that looks like thick wood planks. Psycho Suzi's self-styled "poor man's paradise" is exactly that, between the entryway waterfall, the walls lined with bamboo and thatch, and the three upstairs bars that open only on weekends.

The bar's menu is still a solid execution of Midwest Americana: deviled eggs with yolk mounded like soft serve, those pickle-ham-cream cheese roll-ups that always seem to appear at family reunion picnics, or pizza you'd dig into after working the third shift at the Harley Davidson plant. Okay, a gussied-up version of such a pie, since the deep-dish Four Barrel pairs spicy sausage with red peppers and feta and the Sunny Buick includes roasted garlic and pine nuts. Still, both are delicious.

And when the enormous patio opens this summer, the new, improved Psycho Suzi's will have nearly 800 seats—and certainly the hottest ones on the Minneapolis riverfront.

THE RECIPE FOR the sticky-sweet peanut sauce that comes with Rice Paper's spring rolls is still top secret—even the waitstaff doesn't know what it contains. And after the restaurant moved from its sleepy Linden Hills shoebox to a larger, splashier space at 50th and France, the favored appetizer continues to sell out quickly.

In its former home, Rice Paper developed a reputation for serving Southeast Asian fare calibrated to south Minneapolis tastes, in digs far more serene than the pungent, sun-scalded food markets of owner An Nguyen's native Vietnam. The new dining room has more seats and bigger windows but retains the restaurant's signature sense of calm.

Besides a new list of sakes, most of the menu hasn't changed. The Mekong Encounter isn't such a torrid affair, but a mild, coconut-based Thai-style red curry. The Lunar Clay Pot is heavy on the shiitake mushrooms, in a bright ginger sauce. Overall, dishes are composed with a light hand, their flavors fresh but not too spicy. They tend to be less intense and a little more expensive than most local Southeast Asian eateries.

True to the restaurant's health-conscious image, indulgences at Rice Paper feel heavily taxed: A small, spendy cup of gritty chocolate mousse can't compare to the wares at the cupcake or ice cream shops down the block.

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