It was 2015 when we first reported that Funky Grits had a home in the Thorp Building at 1620 Central Ave. NE.
Well, Northeast didn't work. But our hopes for stellar soul food were stoked again in 2016, when owner Jared Brewington told us he was looking at space in Uptown.
That... also didn't happen. Luckily, last April, Brewington was back with news: Funky Grits officially secured a spot on East 38th Street in south Minneapolis! Expect a late summer 2017 opening!
Now, at long last, Funky Grits is almost ready to open.
No, we mean it this time. The buildout started January 1, and Brewington promises a speedy turnaround for his "hip and a bit eclectic family restaurant."
“I suppose I teased the public a little too much over the last year and a half, but we really got the runaround with previous locations,” he says. With construction underway, he hopes to open by the beginning of March. (“This time, I think I'm right!”)
When it opens, the scratch menu at Funky Grits' brick-and-mortar will be a lot like what you’ve seen at its assorted pop-ups: both takes on traditional comfort foods and original "soul signatures." There’s the Soggy Bottom (aged cheddar grits, country ham, braised pork belly, buttermilk biscuits, red eye gravy, and an over-easy egg), the Bobby Marshall Burger (boudin and chuck patties, American cheese, tomato, lettuce, house pickles, and boudin sauce on brioche), and the Acadian (aged cheddar grits, gulf shrimp, smoked andouille, roasted red pepper, green onions, and bourbon beurre blanc).
Vegan? No problem. There’s plenty for you here, too, like the Purple Reign, with roasted beets, arugula, baby kale, shallot confit, vegan feta, sorghum popcorn, and citrus vinaigrette. Or, go for the Havana Sol -- seared tempeh, black beans, mojo de ajo, Carolina gold rice, crispy plantains, and avocado.
All of the assorted sandwiches, shareables, and salads will be served in a “fast-casual, counter-service, diner-esque” environment. Brewington says the atmosphere here will be bright, and that the music will, of course, be soulful and upbeat. On the beverage side, you’ll be drinking a lot of Bauhaus. They’re a favorite of Brewington’s, and he’s partnered with them to exclusively sell Bauhaus brews that will pair perfectly with Funky Grits’ food.
After years of searching and planning, Brewington -- who grew up just down the street at 42nd and Second -- is thrilled to have a place in South.
“This particular neighborhood has had such a close connection to my family for over 76 years," he says. "My great-grandfather had his office down the street in the early '40s, and my father had a restaurant investment on 38th and Nicollet in the early '80s. The neighborhood, and all four of the neighborhood associations surrounding us, have given us such a happy and inviting welcome, and we are really excited to start hiring from within the neighborhood. It's truly heartwarming. We will do them all proud."
805 E. 38th St., Minneapolis; 612-367-4978