10 new and upcoming restaurants and bars to look out for

More Italian, and more crudo, at Lela in the Sheraton Hotel Bloomington

More Italian, and more crudo, at Lela in the Sheraton Hotel Bloomington

They just keep on comin', folks. A whole new list of new restaurants and bars, this time with coffee, tea, jazz, chicken wings, and you know it just had to happen: more Italian and crudo.

Lots more, too:

See also: Crepes, Pop-Ups, and Chimichurri: Things You Need to Know in Local Dining This Week


Workhorse Coffee Bar

Because a stylish coffee bar with a strong internet connection is synonymous with the modern-day working man and woman, and it was high time for University Avenue to get what the rest of us enjoy in spades, Workhorse Coffee Bar has come to the intersection of Raymond and University, right off the Green Line. Along with good coffee by Voyageurs, they're also boasting the "smallest museum in St. Paul," a vintage fire-hose cabinet recessed into the exterior building wall transformed into a 24"x 35" "micro-museum." Now open.

Vieux Carre We always loved the dark, underground jazz vibe of the Artist's Quarter in the basement of the Hamm's Building, but sometimes it lacked marketing acumen, and a crockpot burbling in the corner didn't quite cut it when enjoying trombone and whiskey. To the rescue comes Lowell Pickett, of Dakota fame. The space will host live music five to seven nights a week, and while they don't have a full kitchen, good food will be served. They've been hosting pop up events, but the space opens officially this summer.

Fast casual Vietnamese, now in the skyway

Fast casual Vietnamese, now in the skyway

Wingstop Got a thing for wings? Buffalo Wild Wings is no longer monopolizing the all-wings-all-the-time game around here: Now there's Wingstop, and they're potentially doing it better, because it's fast-casual. Often, when you're hankering for some mango-habanero boneless, you wanna get at that craving quick. But there is a tradeoff: no beer here. Just soft drinks. Now open.

Bep Eatery Finally, there's good grab-and-go Vietnamese in the skyway. When the weather gets warm, all we ever crave are rice noodle salads with warm grilled chicken, with a confetti of crushed peanuts and freshly chopped herbs, and now we can have them! At work, during work, after work. Bep Eatery has come along to the skyway with a Vietnamese street-food menu designed around our American fast-casual system of choice — you choose the base, the protein, the veg, and the sauces, and they build it before your very eyes, all for under $10. Serving pho, banh mi, rice noodle salads, and spring rolls. Now open.

Big River Pizza You've seen them at the farmers market, and now you're gonna be seeing them in Lowertown, with wood-fired pizzas, farm-fresh ingredients, caprese salad, and bruscettas.

Q Fanatic

There aren't many styles of cooking that can inspire folks to pack up their knapsacks and travel for it quite the way BBQ does. And that's because lots of people think they are good at making good Q, but few are really great at it, and when they are, Honey fill up the gas the tank, 'cuz we're going. Q Fanatic has enjoyed a devoted following for their heavily smoked ribs, brisket, and pulled pork and handmade classic Kansas City-style sauces. But they're way out in Champlin! But rejoice, because they're coming the south metro. There's no word on exact dates yet.

Lela Hey, guess what?! Another Italian/crudo restaurant, this time in Bloomington at the Sheraton hotel, bringing the tally up to five (5!) new restaurants with this concept either open or upcoming. The chef is John Mullen, formerly of B.A.N.K. at the Westin and 6 Smith. Opens June 18

Pimento Jamaican Kitchen We've heard rumblings for months now that excellent Pimento, currently only available at Burnsville Center Court and certain street festivals, is opening a location on Eat Street. They're known for their jerk chicken and pork, braises and curries, fried plantains, and coconut rice and beans. They've been coy about confirming with us in regards to a specific opening date and place, but keep your eyes peeled.

Sencha Tea Bar The Tea Bar has quietly been offering an alternative to coffee for many years on Hennepin Avenue in Uptown, and now they've got a new face and name, offering bubble teas, iced tea lattes, chai shakes, and even looseleaf teas for you fuddy duddies who wish to hold the lychee jellies and tapioca pearls.


Reopening after the tragic murder of its former owner, Lush GLBT bar and restaurant is now under new ownership and will reopen "soon" according to the Mpls/St. Paul Business Journal. The bar will still cater to the GLBT community, and offer a new, 1,000-square-foot dance floor and secondary bar in the back, which can also be used for special events. The food menu and drink offerings will also be updated.

Send your story tips to Hot Dish.