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31 restaurants, curbside-pickup spots, and delivery joints that opened since COVID hit

Okomo House comes from longtime Kyatchi sushi maestro Hide Tozawa.

Okomo House comes from longtime Kyatchi sushi maestro Hide Tozawa. Okomo House

Lots of places have closed since COVID-19 arrived in Minnesota... but a frankly shocking number of new spots have opened, too. (And more are getting announced all the time!)

From takeout tacos to walk-up window chicken tenders to michelada buckets, here are 31 newbies to try.

(If you're wondering why anyone would open a restaurant right now, here's our cover story attempting to answer that very question.)

Surdyk’s Sidebar

Consider it a brasserie with a twist. At Surdyk’s new sit-down sidebar, you’ll find littleneck clams in chili-cilantro broth in an homage to classic Moules Marinière, while steak frites come served with shallot-anchovy butter and a drizzle of Saba (the tangy, balsamic-adjacent Italian condiment). “We’re also serving up classic bar fare, because we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” says catering director Emily Surdyk. “The beer-battered cheese curds with spicy honey are pretty incredible.” 303 E. Hennepin Ave. Suite 2, Minneapolis; 612.379.3232, sidebaratsurdyks.com

Bebe Zito

The name—Bebe Zito—is very cute. The logo—a tubby, tattooed tike in a baseball cap holding an ice cream cone—is also very cute. The story—couple stops at the storefront to get promo photos taken before appearing on Twin Cities Live, one surprises the other by popping the question right out front, they go on TV and surprise their friends and fam with the engagement news—I mean... it’s enough to melt your heart like so much ice cream. And the flavors are super fun: One’s got gochujang in it, another comes with chocolate-covered grasshoppers. (Yes: the bugs.) 704 W. 22nd St., Minneapolis; bebezitomn.com

Young Man

“We’ll fight this and do our best to keep the business running... till [we’ve] passed this pandemic together,” Albert Kurniawan told City Pages in May. He and his wife, Zye, have kept that promise so far, serving up explosively fun and flavorful Hawaiian-ish dishes despite opening about a week before the order that closed Minnesota bars and restaurants. Order the octopus dumplings. 3752 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis; 929-444-2705, youngmanmsp.com

The Gnome

Remember how much of a bummer it was when the Happy Gnome closed last year? Well, ground zero of the Twin Cities’ craft beer movement is back—this time as The Gnome. (We’re all a little less happy than we were in 2019.) “As soon as I heard the Gnome had closed, I started pursuing it,” says new owner Brian Ingram. And the spirit is the same: a low-key pub that serves high-key good food. Take a pull of the Instagram feed: You’ll be making a reservation to get carved beef barbacoa and bone marrow pot pie after three flicks of the thumb. 498 Selby Ave., St. Paul; 651-219-4233, thegnomepub.com

B.A.D. Wingz

These B.A.D. Wingz are G.O.O.D.A.S.H.E.L.L. Gerard Klass, the flavor genius behind Soul Bowl, is back in new Northeast digs, with another highly customizable menu that lets you pick from about a dozen sauces and rubs and dips and sides and snacks. Boneless or whole? Traditional or Southern fried? Small or large? Never has it been been so easy to have it your way. They’ve even got plant-based “Vings” for the vegetarian and vegan crowd. 519 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612 545 5059, badwingz.com

ESB (East Side Bar)

Miss Ward 6? Here’s some cool news: The restaurant that helped revitalize Payne Avenue is back! (Kind of!) ESB is in the same location (the former Hamm’s brewery), with the same owner (Eric Foster), and some familiar faces (bartender Adam Oberle is back as GM). The menu’s all new, but you’ll find it’s peppered with Ward 6 classics: The reuben! The fish ’n chips! The Ward 6 cocktail! It’s a neighborhood pub with great food and local beer—“Plus an exciting mezcal program that comes from my time living in Oaxaca, Mexico,” Foster says. 858 Payne Ave., St. Paul; 651-348-8450, esbstp.com

Billy Sushi

Chef Billy seems like the kind of person you wanna be buddies with. This guy repped the U.S. in the Global Sushi Challenge twice, founded Sushi Fix and Bibuta (both food trucks so successful they became brick-and-mortars), and used the pun “Sushi a-BILLY-Te” on the website for his new venture. The seasonal sushi at his North Loop namesake includes Silly Billy (spicy tuna and shrimp tempura wrapped with avocado and topped with four kinds of fish) and Mistletoe (soft-shell crab and spicy tuna topped with tuna, eel, snapper, salmon, avocado, and white tuna). It’s extra in a real fun way. 116 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; 612-886-1783, billysushi.net

Heather’s

Heather Asbury says you can find a little bit of everything at her cute new Chicago Avenue eatery, which debuted just before Minnesota bars and restaurants had to close down. The longtime Lucia’s manager breathed new life into the long-vacant Mario’s space, with dishes driven by seasonal produce and a “fluid menu” that changes slightly every day. And speaking of everything, they’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for patio dining or to-go via a convenient little walk-up window. 5201 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-445-8822, heathersmpls.com

Petite León opens (takeout only) in south Minneapolis this weekend.

Petite León opens (takeout only) in south Minneapolis this weekend. Eliesa Johnson

Okome House

Hide Tozawa calls the offerings at Okome House “Japanese comfort food,” which feels like a natural fit for the chef who spent years honing Kyatchi’s sustainable sushi program. And it truly is a comfort to have Tozawa’s onigiri here in town. These rice balls—rice triangles, really—are pockets packed with flavors from tuna mayo to pickled plum. They’re filling and fresh and unbelievably bank account-friendly; most are a cool $2.50. That should leave you with a little cash to get yourself a sweet snack from Okome House’s assortment of Pocky, Hi Chews, and treat-yourself convenience-store staples. 4457 42nd Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-354-2423, okome.house

Casa Maria

The former home of Al Vento (RIP) has burst back to life as Casa Maria, where owners hope to share their Mexican heritage through food. Choose from tacos dished out on hand-pressed corn tortillas, classic dishes from tortas to chimichangas, and an array of seafood from marinated jumbo shrimp to fried whole tilapia. 5001 S. 34th Ave., Minneapolis; 612-200-8368, casamariampls.com

Nixta

Asked what they’d like new customers to know about them, the crew behind Nixta replies: “You can have better tortillas, and we can help with that.” The new-to-Northeast tortillaria from chef Gustavo Romero specializes in pre-order Mexican dinners and bags of beautiful, perfect, handmade, heirloom corn tortillas—the result of a recipe Romero’s been honing for years. For the members of “Team Tortilla,” “Our favorite thing is hearing people make the meal a tradition, and seeing and hearing people’s own spin on how to put the food together.” 1222 NE Second St., Minneapolis; nixtampls.com

Burger Dive

Like burgers? Like dives? If so, you’re in luck! (If not, it’s entirely unclear why you’re reading City Pages!) The burger bar in question got its start outta the Tony Jaros River Garden kitchen last year and opened up inside Rosedale Center’s Potluck food hall not long after. They dove into West Seventh in August, where they’re serving the time-tested triple-B menu: breakfast, brunch, burgers. Sorry, not a lot of seafood, even though it does come from Smack Shack owners Josh Thoma and Kevin Fitzgerald and chef Nick O’Leary... but they do have pull tabs! 731 Randolph Ave., St. Paul; 651-294-3240, burgerdivemn.com

Taste of Rondo

What exactly is the taste of St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood? Apparently, it’s bar-and-grill burgers-and-more, with a little bit of a Southern twist. Think shrimp etouffee, watermelon panzanella, Cajun catfish, and “Momma’s Pot Roast” (available on Sundays only—Momma’s got too much stuff to do during the week!). You’re probably not flying right now, and Louisiana’s a little far to drive. This is the next-best thing. 976 Concordia Ave., St. Paul; 651-348-2615, tasteofrondostp.com.

The Birdhouse

Josh and Nell Currey Dykhuis are a retro duo, so when the husband-wife team behind this Robbinsdale newbie learned the city had its biggest population in 1970, they went full flower power. At the Birdhouse, the decor is delightfully throwback, and on the menu you’ll find classic American comfort food—burgers, brats, and curds—all served on vintage stoneware that matches the mood. Well, mostly classic American comfort food: “The chef snuck in some mussels with lardons and salmon salad with yuzu vinaigrette,” Josh quips. 4153 West Broadway Ave., Robbinsdale; 763-205-9668, thebirdhousemn.com

Yeah Yeah Taco

The team behind Zettas, the sandwich shop that made us realize a person could in fact become fanatacal about flatbreads, recently launched Yeah Yeah Taco out of the same small Eat Street footprint. And if you’re at all prone to indecision, good friggin luck choosing between the slow-cooked, tangy, just-spicy Salsa Macha Chicken Taco (Yeah Yeah) and the fluffy, house-made ricotta and dreamy tomato jam and bacon on the Number Six (Zettas). It’s so good that Yeah Yeah—which was at first a weekend-only pop-up—is now a six-day-a-week affair. 2424 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis; 763-310-2136, yeahyeahtaco.com

Wendy’s House of Soul

You think you’ve had a rough year? Wendy Puckett was shot in the face with a pellet gun, then lost her lease in north Minneapolis, and is, like all restaurant owners, trying to navigate a pandemic. And still, there’s a little bit of soul in everything chef Puckett makes, from the crispy-crunchy tots dusted in soul seasoning to the SoulRolls—eggroll-wrapped, deep-fried creations that ya just gotta try. Do that at the new Wendy’s House of Soul in Minneapolis’s Harrison neighborhood, which opened up last month. 1825 Glenwood Ave., Minneapolis; 612-800-4535, youvebeensouled.com

The Gnome

The Gnome The Gnome

CHX

These tendies are the real deal, y’all. The Twin Cities-raised trio of Frederick Huballa, Shawn Edwards, and Marques Johnson thought we needed a to-go joint specializing in fried chicken and biscuits that also prioritized local ingredients. And it sure looks like they were right: The line at CHX (which operates out of the Pourhouse kitchen in Uptown) sometimes stretches down the block as folks fiend over the kickass, crispy tenders, crinkle-cut fries, and show-stealing biscuits from Penny’s Coffee pastry chef Shawn McKenzie. 2923 Girard Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-759-1787, chxmsp.com

Lake City Sandwiches

Another in the g-g-g-ghost kitchen trend, Lake City Sandwiches operates out of the Nightingale building on Lyndale. From 11 a.m. to midnight daily, Lake City serves up sammies both hot and cold, all on house-made focaccia. Nightingale and Lake City chef-owner Carrie McCabe-Johnston says that right now she’s crazy about the mushroom sandwich: roasted shrooms, chopped giardiniera, and fermented cashew paste. Basically: “I took the flavors of a muffuletta and made it vegan.” But the most popular is the porchetta—that’s the one that started the business in the first place. 2551 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis; lakecitysandwiches.com

Rosalia Pizza

Sometimes, we dream of perfect pepperoni cups. The crispy crunch of those little edges. The tiny pools of grease. The salty, savory bliss of it all. The new pizza shop from Martina and Colita’s Daniel del Prado trades in these platonic-ideal pep discs, plus a selection of Argentinian-style pizza (fugazza) and small plates. You can find it all in Linden Hills’ old Rose Street Patisserie space that abuts Martina—convenient! 2811 W. 43rd St., Minneapolis; 612-345-5494, rosaliapizza.com

Coastal Seafoods Cafe

There’s nothing quite like the new Coastal Seafoods in the Twin Cities... and maybe the Midwest? The fish market, founded in 1985, made the move to bigger digs this summer. The expanded space (just across the street from their old home) is more than a market—now they’ve got a school where folks can take classes on sushi techniques or oyster shucking and a cafe highlighting Coastal’s treats from the deep: lobster rolls, tuna melts, salmon reubens. “It’s a really fun, truly food-centric store that we really hope, post-COVID, can become a community gathering space for all things seafood,” says Coastal’s Keane Amdahl. 2007 E. 24th St., Minneapolis; 612-724-7425, coastalseafoods.com

Nashville Coop

Some like it hot. Nashville Coop likes it scorching. The food-truck-turned-brick-and-mortar landed in St. Paul in September, and folks have been flocking to get their hands on these strips and sammiches since. The chicken is crispy, juicy, and streamlined—we’ve gotta guess the small menu helps brothers Kamal and Arif Mohamed pack the heat into truly tear-inducing concentrations. (Yes, there is a not-hot MN Nice option if you’ve got tender taste buds.) 300 Snelling Ave., St. Paul; nashvillecoop.com

Woodfired Cantina

If we had to pick the most beautiful combination of four words possible, “micheladas by the bucket” might be it. This newbie in St. Paul’s Keg and Case Market has ’em, customizable by style (jalapeño shrimp, chili lime, “Woodfired special”) and beer (Corona, Modelo, Pacifico). There’s also a whole-ass lunch, brunch, and dinner menu that’ll take you from tacos (2 for $9) alllll the way to a 30-ounce El Jefe Tomahawk ($99). 928 Seventh St. W., St. Paul; 651-999-3959, woodfiredcantina.com

Bricksworth Beer Co.

Burnsville’s newest brewery is actually Burnsville’s newest pizzeria—at least for now. But check it out: The pizzas here (a little Detroit pan, a little Chicago deep dish, and a dash of Minnesota bar pie) are being made by Angelo Pennacchio, who helmed dearly departed CP fav Bar Luchador before the pandemic hit. The owner is Cooper Johnson, whose parents own BlackStack Brewing, and Bricksworth’s head brewer, Steve Snyder, comes by way of Fair State. In other words, though the brewery is only open for takeout pies and wings until the licensing goes through, it’s a pedigreed place... get those weekend pizza pre-orders in now before the beer starts flowing in earnest. 12257 Nicollet Ave., Suite B, Burnsville; bricksworth.square.site

Breizh Crêperie

Would you have guessed that crepes and cider are as natural a pairing as peanut butter and jelly, or milk and Oreos? Apparently they are—at least in France’s Brittany region. “When we eat crepes we don’t drink wine or beer—we drink cider,” Breizh Crêperie’s Claire Corvaisier, a Brittany native, told us earlier this month. Now you can, too, thanks to her new crêperie nestled inside Minneapolis Cider Co. 701 SE Ninth St., Minneapolis; minneapoliscider.co

Smokin’ Ninjas Food Truck Lounge

Look deep within your heart and ask yourself: What is it you crave right now? Is it a poke bowl? Deep-fried sushi on a stick? Texas BBQ? Oh perhaps pasta? Smokin’ Ninjas can help you out—yep, with all of that. The concept from two food truck owners—Ninja Sushi’s Sachoua Vang and Smoke Session BBQ’s Houa Vang—brings their menus together under one roof, and invites a rotating cast of other food truck favorites to guest-chef in the space. Ya really can have it all (soon, at least: they’ve closed for now and are going through a review with the city). 879 Rice St., St. Paul; facebook.com/smokin.ninjas

Yeah Yeah Taco

Yeah Yeah Taco Yeah Yeah Taco

Pyramid Pizza & Grill

Sometimes you want to build your own pizza, and like any good pizzeria, Pyramid—which took over the former Red’s Savoy space on Hennepin earlier this year—lets you do that. (They’ve also got a selection of house specialty pies.) But sometimes you go to pick out toppings and notice the menu also has rice dinners—curry chicken, jerk chicken, Philly steak—and you think, “Hmm, I did eat pizza three times already this week.” We’re not saying we’ve done this, per se, but uh... for those who have, Pyramid lets you pivot, too. 2329 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-377-3422, pyramidpizzamn.com

Pillbox Tavern

St. Paul’s Pillbox takes its name from the turn-of-the-century stadium where the Saints played baseball. But this is more of a take-me-out-to-the-puck-game situation: It’s located in the same building as The Wild’s practice facility. Unfortunately there’s nothing on the menu by the name of “Zamboni Burger,” but they do have a trio of juicy lucys, and if you’re looking for a way to invoke a third sport, they’ve got football brunch from 10-3 on Sundays. (Sorry in advance about the Vikes.) 400 Wabasha St. N. #220, St. Paul; 651-756-7566, pillboxtav.com

Petite León

James Beard Award honoree Jorge Guzmán—who made his mark on Minneapolis at the too-short-lived Surly Brewer’s Table—is back, this time in the former Blackbird space in Minneapolis’s Kingfield neighborhood. Petite León opens this weekend, takeout-only, with a menu of tastebud treats tailored to-go that includes lamb meatballs, red chile pozole, and a truly sinful-looking double cheeseburger. And it comes with a little bird bonus, too: Pollo Pollo al Carbon, Guzmán’s family-style adobo-chicken concept, will also operate outta the Lion’s den. 3800 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis; petiteleonmpls.com

Moonflower Pizza

French Hen’s breakfast-and-lunch operation recently added a nighttime sibling. Moonflower’s a carry-out-only, alley-pickup sort of pizza speakeasy. (Speakcheesy?) And the menu boasts showstopping specialty pizzas like Le Frenchie (cream, brie, sausage, caramelized onions, thyme, and pecorino crumbles) alongside staples like cheese, veggie, and a Margherita. There’s a vegan pie, too! It’s open 5 to 9 p.m., Thursday to Sunday... but if this little moonflower blossomed into some sort of all-day, every day situation, we’d in no way complain. 518 Selby Ave., St. Paul; 651-222-6201, frenchhencafe.com/moonflower-pizza

Bellecour Bakery

Gavin Kaysen made the call to close Bellecour’s Wayzata bistro and bakery in July, but the latter of the two has risen again—not unlike the dough in pastry boss Diane Moua’s dreamy kouign-amann. Bellecour Bakery at Cooks now operates out of the Cooks of Crocus Hill space in the North Loop (right across from chef Kaysen’s other eatery, Spoon and Stable). Here, you can snag Moua-made croissants, breads, cookies, and crepe cake, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 210 N. First St., Minneapolis; bellecourbakery.com

Good Times Pizza

Good Times saw some historically Bad Times before opening earlier this year. Between lagging HVAC repairs and a serial window-smasher who wouldn’t leave the place alone, it took Franz Gilbertson two additional years to open. And when the bar-pie pizzeria finally did open, in February, it was only to face down a pandemic a month later. “I had really envisioned Good Times being a lot more of a neighborhood watering hole that also happened to make these style pizzas—incidentally, you know?” he told us earlier this month. Luckily, those crispy, perfect pizzas are well worth taking out... and we might just have a very cool neighborhood watering hole to look forward to down the line. 322 W. 38th St., Minneapolis; 612-354-3589, goodtimespizzampls.com