Get Rustica cookies with fancy soft serve, plus five more new and coming soon restaurants

Will Rustica's new Birthday Cake cookie flavor be on the menu at Mall of America? you gotta go to know.

Will Rustica's new Birthday Cake cookie flavor be on the menu at Mall of America? you gotta go to know. Mecca Bos

Fans of Rustica Bakery know that these guys don’t do anything quickly, because doing things slowly is the only way to get the sort of craftsmanship for which the company is famous.

Perhaps that's why the upcoming Rustica Cookies and Creamery location at the Mall of America is only their third location in more than a decade. With this spot, the bakery will add a new and important element to their already knee-weakening treats: soft serve ice cream.

Ben Spangler, the ice cream chef who helped Sameh Wadi (who's closing his acclaimed Saffron restaurant Saturday) open Milkjam, is reportedly creating flavors and toppings that will “blow people away." Roasted Sweet Potato Pie, for instance, comes with 24k Gold Sauce with real gold leaf and giant house-made marshmallows. Get some on Sunday when they open. And ain’t this sweet? Free cookies all day long (Sunday only, people).

Mall of America, level one, north 
60 E. Broadway, Bloomington

Whole Sum Kitchen Cafe and Juice Bar
It’s the food truck that truly turned us on to the ubiquitous juice and smoothie craze. That's because they do them different, they do them better, and they do smoothie bowls, which sound ridiculous but taste great.

The Whole Sum storefront opens Saturday, December 3, in the same neighborhood as St. Genevieve and George the Dragon. In other words, here comes the balancing act for your champagne and brewski addiction. The restaurant will also serve soup, salad, quinoa bowls, and coffee. Visit this weekend and get a coupon for a free smoothie to use on your next visit. 

824 W. 50th St., Minneapolis

Second location for Bep Eatery
Bep, the next-generation Vietnamese Chipotle-style spot in Fifth Street Towers skyway, is getting a second skyway location in LaSalle Plaza. On-the-move customers love it for very affordable, very fast, made-before-your-eyes vermicelli bowls, pho, spring rolls, and banh mi.

Now open
Lasalle Plaza
800 Lasalle Ave., Minneapolis

Duluth's Best Bread gets a holiday kiosk
The irreverent and talented brothers who bring you, well, Duluth’s best bread, have opened a second (temporary) location.

We love these guys for their pluck and tenacity, combined with some serious over-achievement. Michael Lillegard was finishing coursework for a master’s degree in math and getting his second black belt in karate when he came to the realization that he wanted to learn artisanal bread baking. So he did.

He and his brother Robert own and operate Duluth’s Best Bread, in an old converted pizzeria, and now they've built a seasonal kiosk and installed it at the Miller Hill Mall in Duluth to sell cinnamon rolls, caramel rolls, and other goodies along with gift baskets throughout December.

“It was tough to construct the kiosk because it all had to happen so fast. My 60-year-old dad and seven-months-pregnant wife actually put it together in the garage. Meanwhile, I was on Craigslist trying to double our workforce by hiring two new bakers and six new counter service people,” Robert tells me.

“It’s pretty tricky for a local business like us to compete with the big dogs but I think this is a fun local story if anyone's coming up this way.”

So, if you’re going up that way, do give them a visit. Or better yet, make a special trip. The northland could give you a shot of winter wonderland that we seem to be lacking in the Cities.

1600 Miller Trunk Hwy, Duluth

Right next to dumplings and barbecue, the bistro-style taqueria is the next big trend to keep your eye on. We predict that Pajarito will be among the best (if not the best) ambassadors of this trend for two reasons: Tyge Nelson and Stephan Hesse.

Nelson and Hesse are two dudes who have worked for years under Tim McKee (of La Belle Vie fame), Nelson at Chino Latino and Hesse at Libertine. If you know the work of either, you know they don’t do anything halfway.

The fact that Pajarito is going into the old Glockenspiel Restaurant space on West Seventh Street only sweetens the deal. That historic old neighborhood was already cool and is getting cooler by the day.

There's no official opening date yet, but they’ve been hinting on social media that it'll be soon. (The exterior is even decked out for the holidays in pinecones and hollly.)

605 W. Seventh St., St. Paul

Can Can Wonderland 
Adding to the recent spate of dining-and-games social clubs (Up Down, Punch Bowl Social, and the soon-to-open Smaaash), comes Can Can Wonderland, a bespoke indoor mini-golf course with an artistic bent.

Of course the thing we love about many of these projects is how they're going beyond the hot dogs and pretzels of concessions stands, and taking eats and drinks as seriously as the entertainment.

Cocktails at Can Can will be designed by Bittercube (the dudes who seem to do every single important cocktail game in town), reports Minneapolis/ St. Paul Magazine. There will be hot dogs, yes, but these will be towering affairs with things like banh mi-inspired slaw or Spam. Also find fancy grilled cheeses and everybody's old favorite local frozen pizza, Heggies. 

Opens January 2
755 Prior Ave N., St. Paul