You know where to eat right now, but where are you going to be eating this summer and fall? Here's a list of the hottest up and comers, and what's happening with them, right now.
Four Bells Joe's Garage was fun for a while (actually a long, long while). But then their brand of whimsical bar food lost its relevance as every chef in town started tinkering with burgers and mac and cheese. Rumor had it that chef Jack Reibel of Butcher and the Boar and then Peter Botcher of that same restaurant would have a stake in the new incarnation, Four Bells (still owned by Joe Kaplan), but both of those chefs have taken leave from that restaurant. But B&B will still be a partner, as chefs will be Brendan Mac Donald of B&B and Sam Miller of Burch. The menu is slated as southern, with a raw bar, which sounds pretty singular. Joe's was best known for its patio and lovely views of Loring Park and the nearby Basilica, and devotees of that will be relived to know that the patio will be back and will even have an option for enclosure, so the views can be sighed over all year long. Opening: Summer 1610 Harmon Place, Minneapolis
Todd MacDonald has been on the East Coast proving his chops at big-deal restaurants Willow Road, Cru, and Bouley. He also happens to be the son of Bob and Sue MacDonald, two of the most prominent patrons of the culinary arts around our parts. Bob even published a book a couple years back about his culinary journeys to the world's finest restaurants. So it seems MacDonald the younger came by his love of food honestly. Excitingly, Parella will be going into the long-empty Figlio cum ill-fated Il Gatto space, which then turned over, very briefly, to a soulless sports bar concept that barely made it a few months. If MacDonald's aim to create a rustic yet modern Italian restaurant with lots of wood-fired treats is successful, it will be a relief to many of us who have long missed the presence that was once the Figlio institution. Also, lots of fresh pastas and crudo. Opening: June/July Calhoun Square, 3001 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis
Tatankatruck Remember Sean Sherman, the Sioux Chef? He's been having dinners around town that showcase Native American cuisine through the traditional and modern indigenous foods of the Ojibwe and Dakota people. This spring he's getting a food truck. No word yet on what kinds of menu items he'll be able to spin out of a window, but recent event menus have included dishes of rabbit with hominy cake, stewed white beans, buffalo ribs with dried berry cakes, and squash with maple seed. Opening: Spring
With the Josh Thoma/Jack Reibel/Lorin Zinter dream team taking over the art deco grande dame that was Forum Cafeteria inside of City Center, we are poised to see what might be Minneapolis's most beautiful restaurant, and with Joe Rolle of Borough and prior to that the Dakota (he has a longstanding relationship with Reibel who was formerly the chef there) in the kitchen, one of the most delicious. The menu? Italian. And? Crudo. Opening: June/July City Center
In maybe the buzziest case of them all, St. Paul has been hotly anticipating the reopening of yet another grande dame, the Lexington, also snatched up by the dream team named above. Since it's on the historical register, and it needed a massive foundational overhaul, construction has been slow. They'll maintain a classic steakhouse feel, but of course it will be updated, with highest quality product sourcing, and Jack Riebel's dulcet touch with meats. Opening: Late summer 1096 Grand Ave., St. Paul
It seems like forever since Jamie Malone (formerly of Sea Change) and Erik Anderson (formerly of Catbird Seat in Nashville and before that Sea Change) announced their plans to open Brut, and in fact it has been about a year since word got out about the venture. Anderson has just announced that he'll be heading out to Chicago for the summer to cook at Intro, which rotates and showcases important up-and-coming chefs from around the country. Rumor has it that the two may have their sights set on a space, but nothing is finalized yet. The menu will emphasize the pair's artful skill with small plates, and probably, lots of seafood and bubbly. Opening: Fall No address yet.
Another concept that has been buzzing for a long time is the second restaurant by chef J.D. Fratzke and Tim Niver of Strip Club. The Lowertown restaurant menu will be a distinctive blend of chef Fratzke's creations, which has never been penned in by region or style, but instead comes off as somehow uniquely St. Paul. They've called it "upscale flannel" if you want to know. They recently announced the "final popup," so we're hoping that means opening day is nigh. Opening: May Rayette Lofts, 261 E. Fifth St., St. Paul
Monello and Constantine
Where could chef Mike DeCamp be heading off to after more than a decade with Tim McKee and La Belle Vie? Jester Concepts (Borough, Coup d'Etat, Marche) is taking on the momentous task of overhauling the old Porter & Frye space in the Hotel Ivy and presenting Monello and Constantine, upscale Italian with DeCamp in the kitchen, and Monello, with Jesse Held at the bar mixing what may prove to be the cutting-edgiest cocktails in all the land. And guess what? Crudo! Opening: Late spring/ Early summer Hotel Ivy, 201 S. 11th St., Minneapolis
Never one to rest on his laurels, chef Hector Ruiz is announcing a fourth place in his growing empire, La Ceiba, a casual Powderhown place that will focus specifically on Caribbean cuisines from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Dominian Republic, and the Caribbean of Mexico. The chef says that despite menus at three restaurants, his clientele has been appealing for the dishes he first became known for at El Meson: paella, arroz con pollo, mofongo, and the like. All will be on offer on the new menu, with an emphasis on fresh seasonality. Opening: Late April 3500 Bloomington Ave. S., Minneapolis Nighthawks
We shouldn't have to wait much longer at all for Nighthawks, the much-anticipated modern American diner by Landon Schoenefeld of Haute Dish. The chef will be very much in his element here, tinkering with burgers, dogs, egg dishes, and old American diner favorites like pastrami sandwiches and corned beef hash. Of course his flavors will be bigger, badder, and more fun than the originals. Take a tour of the menu sneak peek here, and if you simply can't wait, head over to Kyatchi on April 6, where Shoenenefeld and chef Hide Tozawa of Kyatchi are going (ahem) wiener a wiener with a friendly neighborhood hot dog "off," and you can sample a few of Schoenefeld's dogs. Opeining: Very soon 3753 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis
Heartland Wine Bar
Though his Heartland Direct Farm Market was a forward-thinking idea, where chef Lenny Russo offered to the public the very best in local food product, the same product he himself uses in his restaurant kitchen, the real estate was simply too valuable now that the Saints Ballpark is moving in practically at the doorstep. The space will soon morph into Heartland Wine Bar, where slightly more casual eats will be available along with a great wine list. Eddie Hayes, a trained butcher as well as a chef, formerly of Northeast Social and Osteria I Nonni, will head up the kitchen, so we're imagining some world-class meat dishes for pre- and post-ballgame treats. Opening: May 289 E. Fifth St., St. Paul
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