Where: 4257 Nicollet Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55409, USA
Chef: Thomas Boemer
Projected opening: Any day now
Shatter-crisp crust, mightily seasoned that collapses into succulent, mild flesh leaving remnants upon your fingers, chin, chest - this is the kind of meal that occupies food obsessives dreams. Corner Table's Nick Rancone and Thomas Boemer have been promising the city this fried chicken in both gluten-full, gluten-free and Tennessee Hot style for months now. Finally, opening day is nearly upon us.
Yesterday the menu was unveiled including Funyon flavored pork rinds, johnny cakes, pickled shrimp, shake and bake pork chops, low country chicken with clam and sausage bog, plus a serious entry into the Twin Cities burger pantheon.
Business should get rolling by next week.
Where: 3753 Nicollet Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN
Chef: Landon Schoenefeld
Projected opening: April
Just down Nicollet Avenue from Revival, the paper is about ready to come off the windows at Nighthawks. Schoenefeld assures us that the food won't be diner fare fancied up, this is just really, really good diner food. Pancakes, corned beef hash topped with fried eggs, burgers draped in American cheese and a hot dog topped with potato salad, pickled herring, cucumber, trout roe. (Okay, so maybe a couple of things go a little fancy.)
Where: Rayette Lofts, 261 East 5th Street Saint Paul
Chef: J.D. Fratzke, Adam Eaton
Projected opening: May
Hearty, homey, indulgent, delicious: the food inside this restaurant will pull inspiration from fur traders to Creole cooking, (basically, anywhere the French once settled and left behind a bit of their flavors.) It's been called "upscale flannel" and our first few tastes of the menu fit that description. Bologna sandwiches that ooze with cheese meet classic French techniques on the dinner plates.
There is one more opportunity for eaters to taste the proposed menu with a pop up that's scheduled for April 19 at Corner Table in Minneapolis. This is the first pop up that's been held anywhere, but The Strip Club. Perhaps it's a little enticement to get Minneapolitans excited for this St. Paul eatery?
The restaurant inside the Rayette Lofts building is finally taking shape. HVAC and drywall are going in next week.
4Bells (Formerly known as the Former Joe's Garage Project)
Where: 1610 Harmon Place, Minneapolis
Chef: Sam Miller and Brendan "Junior" McDonald
Projected opening: Summer 2015
The restaurant is a partnership between Joe Kaplan and the owners of nearby Butcher and the Boar. After this morning's breaking news, we now know that the project will proceed without Peter Botcher. However, the two chefs that will be running the kitchen have plenty of experience. Brendan MacDonald has been flourishing inside the Butcher and the Boar kitchen for years. He may be young and known by the nickname Jr., but he's a fierce cook. Plus, Sam Miller will be leaving his sous chef position at Isaac Becker's Burch (just a short walk from Loring Park) to also take up residence inside this kitchen.
The menu will be Southern influenced with what co-owner Doug Van Winkle says might just be the best raw bar the cities have seen.
The name is a celebration of the neighborhood, which holds four churches, the bells of which echo through the neighborhood, the restaurant will open most days at 4:00 p.m. and belles has a nice little Southern twang to it.
The space has undergone a dramatic change (they took it down to the outer walls and dug up a new basement before putting it all back together again.) The good news is that the outdoor patio space will return in time for warm summer days. The even better news is that half the patio will be enclosed, for year-round enjoyment of that Loring Park view.
Where: City Center, Minneapolis
Chef: Jack Riebel, Joe Rolle
Projected opening: Late Spring
The superstar lineup behind this forthcoming downtown Minneapolis eatery includes Josh Thoma and Kevin Fitzgerald of Smack Shack, Jack Riebel of Paddy Shack and the forthcoming Lex revival and Lorin Zinter, who was until recently the front of house co-owner at Heyday.
Joe Rolle has joined the team and will serve as executive chef. The historic restaurant space that was once The Forum and Goodfellows is being ever-so-gently touched up with minor renovations to make the space a little more workable (and hopefully tame those acoustics a bit.)
Where: 1096 Grand Ave. St. Paul
Chef: Jack Riebel
Projected opening: Late Summer
You can't toss a dinner roll without whacking a St. Paul-ite who is dying to know when they can get inside the revamped and refreshed Lexington. The restaurant is an icon of the Saintly City's dining scene and the ownership team (see above) are well aware of the eyeballs they have on them.
Right now, they are still working on shoring up the physical infrastructure of the old building, which includes the new roof that's being put in right now.
Construction remains on track for the return of the king to arrive before the leaves fall.
Monello and Constantine
Where: Hotel Ivy 201 S. 11th Street, Minneapolis
Chef: Mike DeCamp
Projected Opening Date: Late May/ Early June
After a dazzling eleven year run with La Belle Vie under Tim McKee, Mike DeCamp is setting off on his first adventure running his own kitchen. The ambitious project from the Jester Concept crew (Borough, Parlour, Marche, Coup d'etat) will revitialize the space once occupied by Porter & Frye.
There will be a hotel bar, a room service menu to be managed plus the upstairs Italian coastal influenced Monello. The usually stoic chef is downright giddy talking about the fresh, mostly sustainable seafood offerings that he will be putting on the menu. No one else in town is serving this style of food and we expect nothing but excellence from the one-time James Beard semifinalist.
Downstairs will be an entirely separate concept (although DeCamp will run the food program) from Jesse Held called Constantine. A tippling house that will push the boundaries of Minneapolis' cocktail evolution with flavored ice and a bar "kitchen" that sounds more like a mad scientists lab. Jeff Erkkila will serve as the "bar chef" creating some nostalgic 80's flavors (hello, peach schnapps), plus twists on classics. The menu will run the gamut from easy to sip to palate challenging with prices that start as low as $8 and go up to closer to $20.
Heartland Wine Bar
Where: 289 East 5th Street, St. Paul
Chef: Eddie Hayes
What was once the market space adjacent to James Beard Award nominated chef and owner Lenny Russo's restaurant is being remade into a wine bar. More tables will be added and most of the cases are being removed. (Although, bacon lovers need not panic, we have been assured you will still be able to buy some meats there).
Counter service and small plates will help keep prices down and serve as a nice beginning to any evening before a Saints game.