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New Taco Shop is Open Right Now on Lyndale

Randles, Mercado and Twin Spirits Distillery are ready to serve.

Mercado by Earl Giles has replaced Marche.

The former Ling & Louie’s space has been transformed into its new life as a high-end American eatery bearing the name of Minnesota Vikings great John Randle. Randle’s on Nicollet Mall opened this week, boasting four levels of dining space, including a private area in the lower level and a soon-to-be-open patio - the only patio with a Nicollet Mall address.

The focus on the sporting legend, and sports in general, is front and center, with massive television screens on practically every vertical surface. In addition, a bust of Randle adorns a nook on the staircase and photos of him line the walls. But co-owner Michael McDermott prefers not to think of it as a sports bar, but rather an upscale restaurant that also happens to be a great place to catch the game. Any game.

The menu might seem familiar to those who frequented Ling & Louie’s. Some old favorites like sushi and sesame-seared Ahi salad remain, while new features include a mile-high Randle’s Cheeseburger and a lovely chopped salad with a kicky tomatillo dressing.

- Mercado by Earl Giles, the cocktail bar, taco spot, and coffee shop combo, has been open for a couple of weeks in the lobby of The Lime Apartments along the Greenway in Uptown Minneapolis, and it is ready to celebrate its official grand opening Saturday and Sunday, February 11 and 12 from 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

Along with tacos, tortas and platos, Mercado offers a full bar specializing in Earl Giles cocktails along with a canned and tap beer menu and a rotating selection of wines. The eatery is a new entry from restaurant group Jester Concepts in partnership with Jeff Erkkila and James Dolan of Earl Giles, the Minneapolis maker of elixirs, cordials and other bar necessities.

- After a lot of hard work and a fundraising campaign, Twin Spirits Distillery’s grand opening is scheduled for February 25. Owner Michelle Winchester ran an Indiegogo campaign to help finish up the cocktail room for the first one-woman owned distillery in Minnesota. Winchester’s line up includes M Vodka (look for some well-rounded bloodies from the bar), M Gin and the upcoming M Rum and rye M Whiskey. Grand opening festivities will run from 3:00-10:00 p.m. Saturday.