— The Exchange and Alibi at the Exchange open tomorrow. Leading the charge on this club and lounge project is the enegmatic Ben Quam, who's a convivial Minneapolis nightlife Renaissance man. Located in the Lumber Arts Exchange in downtown Minneapolis, The Exchange will function as a grown-up nightclub and the Lounge is a place of cool refuge with menu items like pork belly sliders, truffle fries and oysters.
— Co-op Creamery Neighborhood Cafe, the Seward Co-op's new eatery will open on August 12 with Lucas Almendinger )formerly of The Third Bird) at the helm. Breakfast through dinner will be served, with counter service until 4 p.m. followed by sit down service.
— Little Szechuan is OUT in St. Louis Park's Shops at West End and Bluefox Indian Bar & Grill will move into the space. It's another turnaround for the complex that has recently seen the shuttering of Figlio 2.0 and Toby Keith's not-so-beloved bar and grill.
— Enticing menu changes are afoot inside Chino Latino. The venerable Uptown hot spot will embark on the first big refresher in its fifteen years of operation from James Beard Award winning chef Tim McKee along with Chino's longtime chef Tyge Nelson (a veteran of The Inn, La Belle Vie and Solera). Inspiration will continue to be worldly, with small plates and communal, sharing plates.
— Have you been putting off a visit to Prairie Dogs because of the headache that is trying to find a parking spot near the Lake and Lyndale intersection? The restaurant is hoping to help ease those concerns. Now, with a $20 purchase of the gourmet sausages, they will pick up the parking tab.
— Meanwhile, not one, but two beloved fellows of the industry were recently victims of terrible car accidents. Tommy Begnaud was T-Boned by a drunk driver and suffered multiple injuries and is still dealing with the physical recovery. That hasn't stopped the chef from getting back into the kitchen. To celebrate his return, Coup d'etat is hosting a welcome back party this Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m. Unlimited Louisiana inspired food and beer costs just $25. Tickets are available here.
— Adam Harness, a widely-respected bartender (and teacher) who has served at Cafe Maude and Hola Arepa was also involved in a serious car accident that has impaired his mobility (and our access to his cocktails.) Luckily, he and Begnaud are friends so they have been able to swap stories of being in traction and share a walker on occasion. Medical care is expensive - especially for industry folks who aren't always blessed with the best insurance coverage. To help him cope with the massive bills, friends have put together a benefit at the Turf Club on August 12.