The paint hasn't dried on the last spate of new and coming soon spots, and here comes a whole slew of others. Fourteen to be exact. It's going to be a busy (and filling) spring and summer.
A third hit makes St. Paul restaurateur Tim Niver a power restaurateur. Old stalwart Strip Club Meat and Fish on the East Side and sparkly new Saint Dinette in Lowertown are two favorite gems. Now add Mucci's, homestyle Italian and donuts. Why donuts? Probably because people love donuts. Other things people love: many iterations of fresh pasta, fried pizza, meatballs, and Prosecco on tap. Mucci's has them all.
786 Randolph Ave., St. Paul
Ramen is finally having its moment around here. We admit we did not have high hopes for Kungfu Noodle, in light of Ramen Kazama's near-perfect take. How could it get better? Evidently, we were wrong. Kungfu is reportedly importing noodles from Japan, along with the native soup sensibility— understated, straightforward, gelatinously rich. Much like Ramen Kazama's, their menu is not overly long, just a half dozen ramens, some rice bowls, and expertly done appetizers like steamed buns and handmade potstickers.
2710 Nicollet Ave S., Minneapolis
In the time-honored tradition of attaching a celebrity name to a steakhouse, Nanne's is now open in the old Edina Macaroni Grill space. Named after hockey legend Lou Nanne, expect elegant, but approachable classics like aged beef, thick cut bacon, and loaded wedge salads. There's also a comprehensive wine list with a lot of big reds for pairing with big steaks. It's a special occasion-type joint with $16 burgers and $50 steaks, though there's also a kid's menu and somewhat more casual lunch menu.
7651 France Ave. S., Edina
The Country Bar
According to the interwebs, the Country Bar is dangerously close to re-opening. But according to some sneak peeks, don't expect the dank old dive you fell in love with. Instead, there's an artsy neon cowboy and a stunning and shiny wooden inlay bar. Don't fret too much. Greazy Shorty and Wags-recipe chicken wings will reportedly still be served.
3006 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis
Tea is nice, but karaoke is rad. Karaoke and sushi is super rad. The former Verdant Tea in Seward is now Encore Sushi, a Japanese-style karaoke lounge with four luxe private karaoke rooms that book for $30 to $200 hourly. Sushi, noodles, stir fries, and bottle service provide the sustenance and bravado for your talents, or lack thereof.
2111 E Franklin Ave., Minneapolis
Finally, finally, the folks behind beloved and spot-on Pizzeria Lola and Hello Pizza have let us in on the big secret they've been guarding for over a year. Northeast's Young Joni will be a craft-cocktail forward pizzeria also serving sharable small plates with an emphasis on Korean meats cooked with fire.
Opens summer 2016
165 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis
Rose Street Patisserie
The undisputed king of pastry around here, John Kraus is adding to his impeccable bakery Patisserie 46 with the upcoming Rose Street Patisserie in Linden Hills. He says it gets its name from a stroll he took through a London rose garden while eating a perfect brioche. It was in that moment that he knew what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. Though he's been rather mum about the exact nature of the bakery, it will be different than Patisserie 46, also serving breakfast and beer and wine. Expect to see the sorts of pastry work Kraus has spent his entire life perfecting. Sounds perfect.
Opening this spring
2811 W. 43rd St., Minneapolis
Handsome Hog Bourbon and Smoke
We're seriously suffering for good BBQ around here, and while chef Justin Sutherland (formerly of Brasserie Zentral and Meritage) is promising "contemporary Southern-ish," we're expecting to see some Q out of him too. He's been brandishing pig parts on Facebook, along with promises of "bourbon and smoke."
Opens Monday, March 21
203 E. Sixth St., St. Paul
PinKU Japanese Street Food
What food could we possibly be missing around here? Japanese street food! We shall miss it no more. With 10 items only, and nothing over $6.50, the likes of pork dumplings, fried ramen, spicy tuna with crispy rice, and salmon fat rolls are so affordable, you can stop in all the time. Also expect beer, wine, and sake.
20 University Ave. NE, Minneapolis
There are few places around town to get a tagine (heavily spiced rice or couscous cooked with protein and vegetables inside of a casserole dish by the same name), besides the ones expertly done at Saffron. Until now. Moroccan Flavors will open in the too-long-vacant Sonora Grill space in the Midtown Global Market. Owner Hassan Ziadi is a native of Morocco. No word on an actual opening date other than "soon."
920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis
Baker’s Field Bread
Now that Northeast's Food Building has a world-class charcuterie master (Red Table Meats) and cheese maker (Lone Grazer Creamery), bread was an obvious imperative. And just as they do everything at Food Building, the bread will be all local, from start to finish. Flour will be milled on site. They will (eventually) partner with farmers to get grain with precise growing specifications. This is bound to be bread like we've never quite had it, perfect for the ultimate, most artisanal sandwich you'll be able to get. Greg Hoyt, founder of most excellent Rustica Bakery, is the man in charge.
1401 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis
We're loathe to use the phrase "highly anticipated" but what else can you do when talking about the cafe, bakery, and hotel adjacent to Minneapolis' juggernaut bistro Alma? For over a year, chef/owner Alex Roberts has grappled with the city over whether he could put sleeping rooms upstairs from his cafe, a la the very beloved Longman & Eagle in Chicago. He's finally gotten the go-ahead. When the food's this good, you'll want to lie down and snooze, and soon, you'll be able to. Also expect great coffee, pastries, breakfast, and other casual fare.
The Viking Bar
Speaking of highly anticipated, the "Gone Fishin" sign thats' been hanging on the iconic West Bank Viking Bar for six years should soon read "Done Fishin." The stunning tile floors and corrugated tin ceilings are getting a spit shine, and we got some intel that they'll serve a bologna sandwich even better than the now-famous one at Saint Dinette. Them's some big words. No other details on food except that the menu will make clever use of panini machines and such, since there is no ventilation in the vintage building to accommodate a full kitchen. They're hinting at an opening date very soon.
1829 Riverside Ave., Minneapolis
Champlin's accomplished Q Fanatic, a true Midwest outlier that could stand up to most BBQ anywhere, is finally opening a second store in the city. We've been hearing for a long time now that it's opening "early 2016" and while March still qualifies as early, the hand on the clock ticks loud and slow while waiting for great BBQ.
6009 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis