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Yum 2.0 brings crowd-pleasing fare to Minnetonka

The steak sandwich is a tender and tasty

The steak sandwich is a tender and tasty

If you’ve been to the original Yum! Kitchen and Bakery in St. Louis Park, you won't be in for any big surprises at the new Yum! in Minnetonka, which doesn’t stray much from the successful concept introduced by Patti Soskin 10 years ago. The counter service model is still in place, and the menu offers the same reliable mix of sandwiches, salads, and a smattering of entrees. The Minnetonka incarnation will likely be a hit with its new neighbors for the same reason the original has prospered: good food and plenty of choices. There are dishes to satisfy the pickiest 5-year-old alongside nibbles to share with the friends you’re meeting for drinks after work.

The restaurant occupies the space that used to house Pairings Wine Bar, at Shady Oak Road and Highway 62. The room has been redone in the Yum! style, with lots of white and light hardwood floors. The room is bright and streamlined, with a noise level that lets you know people are enjoying themselves. The large outdoor patio area that was a popular feature for Pairings patrons has been retained, and is sure to be a prime destination during warm weather months.

The new location still has a few kinks to work out, mostly centering on the ordering process. The line for ordering snaked into the dining area for most of the dinner rush on a recent visit. Chalk it up to first-time visitors unfamiliar with the menu and new employees still learning the ropes. Soskin and staff veterans from St. Louis Park were on hand helping smooth things along, explaining the process to newbies, walking diners through the menu, and checking in with people once they had their food. Perhaps because the staff’s enthusiasm was contagious, customers didn’t seem to mind the wait, and many of them went out of their way to tell Soskin how happy they were that her restaurant was open.

Service was speedy once orders were placed. Drinks appeared right away and the food followed not long after. The fare at Yum! isn’t fancy, but it is made from scratch, with attention to detail. A Rachel sandwich comes piled high with turkey, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut, gussied up with red pepper aioli in place of the usual overly sweet Thousand Island. The steak sandwich features a generous piece of grilled tenderloin on a focaccia bun with arugula and the same red pepper aioli. Sandwiches are served with house-made potato chips that are reason enough for a trip to Minnetonka. Whether you’re a fish, poultry, or red meat fan, the entrees offer plenty of options like Baja Mahi tacos, lemon chicken, and Amablu crusted filet. The beer list features local brews from Lucid, Fulton, Summit, Grain Belt, and Surly. Wine options include a decent selection of reds and whites by the glass. One quibble: A second glass of wine would have been nice with dinner, but would have required waiting in the long ordering line again and coming back to cold food.

Don’t skip dessert. If you’re too full, grab something to go, or you’ll regret it later. Try the signature Patticake, chocolate cake with buttercream icing, a customer favorite. If chocolate isn't your thing, the coconut cake is crazy good. The white layer cake is filled with coconut cream and topped with seven-minute frosting and plenty of flaked coconut.

Yum! is also open for breakfast and lunch, Sunday through Wednesday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The large and lovely patio at Yum! is a great place to enjoy dinner or a drink al fresco.

The large and lovely patio at Yum! is a great place to enjoy dinner or a drink al fresco.

Yum! Kitchen and Bakery, 6001 Shady Oak Rd., Minnetonka, 952-933-6001