Funky Grits has a home, plus 4 new restaurants and bars coming soon

Funky Grits will bring its brand of contemporary soul food to south Minneapolis this summer.

Funky Grits will bring its brand of contemporary soul food to south Minneapolis this summer. 1girl2cities

Last year, and many new restaurant openings ago, we reported on Funky Grits, a contemporary soul food restaurant built on down favorites served fast-casually. They were hoping to find a northeast Minneapolis space, but to owner Jared Brewington, it just didn’t feel right.

“I knew I had to go South Side,” he says, where he grew up, where his grandfather became the first black real estate agent in the state, where the parks and community centers he grew up in would be thrumming away right outside the door.

So he finally brokered a deal with the owner of the short-lived Hell’s Chicken and Fish (that restaurant will exit this summer as Funky Grits enters) on East 38th Street in Minneapolis.

Brewington grew up buying penny candy across the street at Cup Foods, was raised at the nearby Kingdom Hall where his family worshiped, and all of it just feels right.

“Of course we want to be a positive resource for the community, and we are a scratch kitchen with fresh, local ingredients,” meaning a healthful option for the neighborhood. He’ll also open the restaurant Mondays for meetings and events.

They menu includes high-quality organic Anson Mill’s grits out of South Carolina, they’ll be “hand picking” their proteins, with meat likely coming from Peterson Farm in Milaca. Brewington says they’ve refined their vegan options, and that a fried turkey breast sandwich will make the menu, along with a boudin burger.

Expect a late summer opening.

805 E. 38th St., Minneapolis


Two more new places for the North Loop

The latest will be called NOLO’s (you knew this name had to happen), reportedly serving “new modern comfort food,” for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with flatbreads, sandwiches, salads, pasta, wings, and the like.

Downstairs, the same owners will present Basement Bar, which they’re calling an “indoor food truck” with 10 to 12 quick-serve menu items priced under $12, plus affordable drink specials.

And -- surprise! -- there will be games: shuffleboard (apparently it's not just for grandpa anymore), bubble hockey, and a Tri-Wheel (Minnesota’s only authorized table game for gambling in bars). Also: live music and lots of TVs.

The Basement Bar and NOLO's will be opening in the Historic Gardner Hardware Building.

Scheduled for September.
515 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis


A global restaurant for St. Paul with a nod-to-Minnesota name

The Gray Duck Tavern, by the restaurant group that brings you Handsome Hog, Fitzgerald’s, and several other St. Paul restaurants, will soon open with a menu influenced by pretty much everywhere else.

Donald Gonzales is a talented chef who most recently held down the kitchen at Forpaugh’s in interesting ways beyond the typical steak-and-potato format. At Gray Duck he’s planning “comfort food from around the world.”  

A sampling will be held April 26, 6 p.m. at Green Lantern St. Paul.

Scheduled to open in late May.
345 Wabasha St., St. Paul


A food hall for Minneapolis

What had initially been in the works as Harris Food Hall has now been rebranded as Malcolm Yards Market, another food hall project on the heels of St. Paul’s Keg and Case.

Malcolm Yards is planned for the old Harris Machinery Co. Building, dating to 1890 and currently sitting empty and fire-damaged near Surly. The hall will include space for offices, retail, housing, and vendors, which have not yet been announced.

Possibilities include “a popular Japanese restaurant,” and about 17 other counter-service places, reports Minneapolis/ St. Paul Magazine. Projected inclusions are a Colombian restaurant, a coffee shop, an ice cream shop, and a bakery.

Projected opening is “2018.”
501 30th Ave. SE, Minneapolis