More new restaurants? More new restaurants!
This time, a gluten-free doughnut shop, a Brooklyn Park sub shop, a concept change for Ling & Louie's, and more:
Mercury Dining Room and Rail
Brasserie Zentral was one of the most ambitious restaurant projects the Twin Cities has seen in a long while. Eastern European classics interpreted through the cooking prowess of chef Russell Klein of Meritage meant new heights for schnitzel and kavelierspitz. But it wouldn’t last. The gorgeous space has been replaced by Mercury Dining and Rail, a Blue Plate group (Freehouse, The Lowry, Highland Grill, others) restaurant offering its familiar brand of all-things-for-all-people comfort.
The space is no less gorgeous, though it’s been made predictably more casual with TV screens, and cool blue and white tones have supplanted the warm bathwater neutral tones of Zentral’s more luxe sensibility. The menu is that Blue Plate affability. You want a burger? Of course! Eggs Benedict? They got that. Swordfish? Hey, why not? And, plenty of beer, wine, and craft cocktails.
The place will probably do well as a post-office hang for a couple of drinks and an easy to deal with snack to go with then, a demographic Zentral didn’t exactly capture, thanks to its finery.
It's worth noting that Mercury Dining and Rail could indicate where our dining scene is headed. While we’re opening restaurants at a head-spinning pace, we’re not always adding to the diversity of the dining landscape. Burgers are great, but we’ve got plenty. And no matter how you dress up a Benedict (at Mercury it’s draped over Johnny Cakes) at the end of the day it’s still a poached egg.
Quantity does not always mean quality, and it will be interesting to see how (if?) the Twin Cities can sustain more specific projects with more distinct points of view.
505 Marquette Ave. S., Minneapolis
Sift Gluten Free Donuts
The time has come for an all gluten-free doughnut shop. Sift will step into that role sometime in the spring, somewhere in south Minneapolis. The gluten-free doughnuts by baker Molly Miller can be had now, however, at about 20 locations throughout the metro including Peace Coffee, Dunn Brothers, and Five Watt. Muffins, cupcakes, other day-makers also make their way out of Miller's kitchen.
Opens in the spring
Fat Chance Sandwich Shop
They’re not calling it BBQ, but this new Brooklyn Park sandwich shop is smoking some of their meats in house for “comforting, familiar” favorites like a “NY-style” pastrami and a pulled pork with andouille, pickle, and slaw.
The sandwiches are served sub style with pick-your-own fixings and chips.
8419 W. Broadway Ave., Brooklyn Park
With its somewhat flat brand of Pan-Asian cooking, Ling and Louie’s never really took off on Nicollet Avenue despite prime real estate and a rooftop bar. Now football star John Randle is following in the footsteps of other sports figures attaching their names to restaurants (see Herbie’s on the Park and Nanne’s) and putting his name on a new concept for the space.
Randle’s will retain some of the wok dishes and sushi, but will add sandwiches, steaks and other entrees, reports the Minneapolis/ St. Paul Business Journal. Another thing you can expect: lots and lots of TV screens for capturing all those touchdowns. Expect the changes sometime in February.
Ling & Louie’s to become Randle's
921 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
In “East Town,” the downtown neighborhood springing up before your very eyes around US Bank Stadium, comes McKinney Roe, a “contemporary European-American” bar and restaurant.
The space is expected to be bigger and grander than any mere pub needs to be, and menu offerings include ceviche, a double-patty burger, and a pork shank for two. And, here’s something a little different: a sandwich carving station will be open at lunch. It’s situated in the Wells Fargo building, so think ground zero for big-banking types with meaty appetites.
Opens November 11
540 4th St. S., Minneapolis