Icehouse cometh: Exclusive details and an opening date

Long near the top of the list of highly anticipated restaurants of 2012, Icehouse has finally declared an opening date. The owners who brought us Be'wiched Deli describe their new venture as a "restaurant with a stage." We were invited inside to take a sneak peek at the space, which is quickly coming together, and got the final word on their official opening date.

The gleaming black tile has been installed in the kitchen, as has the smoker. The food will be similar to Be'Wiched -- all scratch. They'll be smoking the meats and making sausage and all their bread in house. A deli case will always be full, so anyone looking for a great sandwich can grab one on the fly.

The owners have access to the roof and will be installing a pole garden to grow tomatoes, peppers, and other produce to supply the kitchen.

The space where the stage will be is shaping up, framed by reclaimed wood from a Wyoming farm. There won't be a bad seat in the house, but there will be a special seating area. They're building a chef's table just outside the kitchen where large groups can watch the shows and get special food service.

The bar is shaping up as well. The cocktail glasses have arrived. The cooler is on, but the ATM machine is currently parked inside. Icehouse will appropriately have its own ice cubes from a specially ordered machine. Cocktail superstar Johnny Michaels is designing the menu. He says he hasn't finished writing it but would like to make use of the ice cream machine that's been installed behind the bar. Imagine a Tom Collins Popsicle. The main goal of the bar will be to serve the high-brow cocktails we've come to enjoy, but without the 20-minute wait time. "The goal is that you'll get your drink before the food arrives."

The food will be bar food, but elevated -- a lot of small plates meant 
to be shared. The menu will include house-made pastas, empanadas, and a "daily dog" -- more hot dogs for the tubular meat aficionados.

The grand opening party will be Thursday, June 7, featuring the music of at least one of Adam Levy's bands. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Daniel J. Levy Foundation for research on depression and schizophrenia. The foundation is named for Levy's son, who lost his battle with depression in January. (Read our cover story about Daniel here.)

If you can't stand to wait that long, swing by the courtyard dedication tomorrow, featuring music by the New Standards.

2528 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis

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