Hazel's Northeast to open in old Pop! space
It has been a sad sight for months now: the windows of Pop! Restaurant on Johnson St. NE covered in brown paper, the lights dimmed. The neighborhood has been in mourning since the beloved Audubon eatery shut its doors for good several months ago.
But excitement is stirring on the corner of 29th and Johnson once again with the imminent opening of Pop's successor: Hazel's Northeast, a new venture by brothers Adam and Andrew Sieve. The Hot Dish sat down with the Sieve brothers to get the lowdown on what is sure to be an exciting addition to the growing culinary landscape in Nordeast.
Adam and Andrew have the restaurant business in their blood. In the 1950's, their grandmother Helen (affectionately called Hazel by her grandsons) moved to a farm, where she sold homemade pies out of her kitchen to supplement her family's income. Her pies were so popular that she eventually opened a cafe in the tiny town where she lived.
She later moved the business to a larger location, and two of her sons, Adam and Andrew's father and uncle, took it over. That restaurant is the Travelers Inn, the oldest family-owned restaurant in Alexandria, Minnesota. Adam and Andrew started bussing tables there by the time they were 12 years old, and gradually moved on to helping in other areas, including the kitchen. But after college, Adam found himself working as a principal, and Andrew a banker.
In the midst of the recession, they both found their way back to Minnesota, and while Andrew was serving at Dixie's on Grand, he and Adam decided they wanted a restaurant of their own. "There's a nice symmetry to the way it all happened," said Adam. "The depression drove our grandmother to the restaurant business, and the recession did the same for us." The 3rd generation restauranteurs are naming their new venture after the matriarch who started it all.
The brothers were drawn to the Pop! space because they loved the neighborhood's proud sense of identity. "We want to be a part of a strong community, the once-a-week place you bring the whole family for dinner, the place you can relax with a stack of pancakes and some coffee in the morning and come back to in the evening for some craft beer and comfort food."
The brothers are aiming to serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner six days a week, plus brunch on Sundays. To start, Adam will captain the kitchen and menu while Andrew focuses on the front of house. The menu will feature homestyle comfort food "translated for an urban crowd," including such things as a build-your-own mac n' cheese, braised short ribs, turkey commercial sandwiches, scalloped potatoes, and a delicious sounding wild rice ravioli with cranberries, walnuts and goat cheese.
They are especially excited about the breakfast menu, as they accurately observed that Nordeast pales in comparison to other Minneapolis neighborhoods when it comes to breakfast destinations. They plan to offer such staples as pancakes, biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak, and corn beef hash as well as some vegetarian options like a black bean cake egg dish. Andrew adds, "You can't be all things to all people, but we will offer something for everyone, and the menu will evolve seasonally." They cite the Happy Gnome, Muddy Pig, The Blue Door Pub, and The Nook as some of their favorite Twin Cities destinations and inspirations due to their authentic, relaxed vibe and approachable fare.
The brothers are working on dialing down Pop's bold color scheme, going for an earthy, organic feel with wood booths, funky artwork, and changeable lighting to allow for adjustable mood. They plan to open their doors in early December, so stay tuned...
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