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The Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings, Spring 2016

The most exciting openings for spring.

Ann Kim is cooking up something new in Northeast
Ann Kim is cooking up something new in Northeast
Photo courtesy Ann Kim

Young Joni

Location: ​165 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis (next to Dangerous Man Brewery)

Key Players: Husband wife team Ann Kim (chef) and Conrad Leifur

Projected Opening: Summer 2016

The vault is finally cracking open with details on Ann Kim (Pizzeria Lola and Hello Pizza) and Conrad Leifur's third restaurant, which she admits is their most ambitious project to date. The new wood-fire fueled space is named for the couple's mothers. (Young is Ann's mom, Joni is Conrad's.) The restaurant and full bar is inspired by Young's way of cooking and feeding her family: warm, familial with Joni's appreciation of a proper cocktail. Speaking of cocktails, Adam Gorski, former bar lead at La Belle Vie is designing the drink menu.

The food will entirely be cooked on the fire and while there will be pizzas, there will also be so much more. There will be not just one, but two fires, one clad in copper just like at Pizzeria Lola and char those divine pizza pies. The.second oven will burn a little lower and be covered in handmade Japanese tile. Inside Korean inspired meats will be served saam style (with spicy pickled vegetables, lettuce wraps and more) or taco style (tortillas and charred salsas) as well as tons of vegetables.

A handful of seats will be available around the hearth with 140 seats total available. Plus, they are scoring a piano for the back bar. Kim says, "because what's a party in NE Minneapolis without a piano accompanied sing along?" That's not all - the building shares an alley with Dangerous Man, where there will eventually be picnic tables. That means, a pizza and a growler on a warm Minneapolis day is in our near future.

Rose Street Patisserie

Location: ​43rd and Upton in Linden Hills

Key Players: Jon Kraus

Projected Opening: Spring 2016

John Kraus, the world-renowned pastry chef and owner of South Minneapolis' Patisserie 46 is opening a new bakery right in the heart of Linden Hills. Rose Street Patisserie is taking shape inside a part of the former Settegren's Hardware store (attached to Upton 43.) The new bakery will seek to unite the customer and the baker and the inspiration comes from his European eating experiences.

Photo by Devan Grimsrud

Photo by Devan Grimsrud

Hi-Lo Diner

Location: 4020 E Lake St, Minneapolis

Key Players: Mike Smith and James Brown of Brownsmith & Forage, and Jeremy Woerner and Pat McDonough of The Blue Door Pub

Projected Opening: Late March

Executive Chef Heidi Marsh, previously of The Aster Café, will run the kitchen and Ryan Barott, formerly of Hola Arepa, will take his post behind the bar, concocting classic cocktails from the mind of Dan Oskey of Tattersall Distillery. The bar menu will include a full selection of beverages, but most exciting is the return of the spiked milkshake. The food and drink will be approachable takes on the classics, focusing on making things from scratch as much as possible, just like the good ol’ days of diners before the 1980’s. Hi-Lo will have amazing hours for early birds and night owls alike, think 6:30 A.M. to midnight (open until 2 A.M. on Fridays and Saturdays).

Handsome Hog

Location: 203 East 6th Street, St. Paul (Lowertown)

Key Players: Carol March, owner and Justin Sutherland, chef

Projected Opening: Late March

The restaurant that took over the Bin Wine Bar space has undergone a refresh (I've been assured the new floor plan is going to flow a little better than the previous choppy layout.) Chef Justin Sutherland (Brasserie Zentral and Meritage) has created a pig-centric menu that will make good use of spice and smoke. The bourbon leaning bar menu is being created by Trish Gavin (who made her name running the bar at Heidi's and was recently lead bartender at Il Foro and Brasserie Zentral.)

Photo courtesy The Lexington

Photo courtesy The Lexington

The Lexington

Location: 1096 Grand Avenue, St. Paul

Key Players: Kevin Fitzgerald, Josh Thoma, Jack Riebel

Projected Opening: (Optimistically) June

This is really, truly, honestly, totally happening. The Lexington in St. Paul now reigns supreme as the longest most anticipated restaurant in the Twin Cities. (A sentence alone that makes my head hurt.) The restaurant was first established back in 1935 and it was April 2014 when the news broke that the Smack Shack's owners and chef Jack Riebel were taking over the shuttered restaurant. The March opening date  last given will soon come and go, noticeable construction is again happening. A restoration of this magnitude takes time and the time for re-opening is likely later this summer. That collective groan you just heard was all of St. Paul exhaling. Hang in there, fans. We also spoke again to chef Jack Riebel - who is anxious to get cooking. The food, when it does arrive, is going to be exactly what we've been waiting for. There's still hope that the rooftop patio built atop the remodeled Lexington will get some action the summer of 2016.


Location: Still searching

Key Player: David Hahne

Projected Opening: late 2016

Chef and one-time co-owner of Pane Vino Dolce and Cafe Vin, David Hahne is embarking on a new restaurant that will be a bacaro a Venetian cafe serving humble, approachable, fresh food with a seafood focus. The originally planned for location didn't work out, but the chef assured us that he is optimistic that the opening will still be in the South Minneapolis neighborhood.


Location: 428 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis

Key Players: Jamie Malone, Erik Anderson

Projected Opening: Absolutely, totally happening this year.

The Minneapolis restaurant that has the national press once again noticing our fair city. That's because the chef duo behind the project are a powerhouse duo. Both Jamie Malone and Erik Anderson were Food & Wine Best New Chefs. Both once led the kitchen at the Guthrie Theater's Sea Change restaurant. Anderson was also half of the opening chef team behind the lauded Catbird Seat in Nashville. He moved back to Minneapolis with the specific goal of opening a restaurant with Malone. The result is Brut. It will be a French-influenced with a serious bubbly list. The two live in North Loop and will likely create a neighborhood hang to even further enhance the super hip neighborhood. Brut has been chugging along and first needed to wait for Scena Tavern to take off. (Malone and Anderson are the consulting chefs on that Uptown restaurant that opened in December.) We did receive confirmation today that 2016 will absolutely be the year of Brut.

Shake Shack

Location: Mall of America

Key Players: Shake Shack

Projected Opening: May / June 2016

That's right: the chain that swept the nation into a burger frenzy is set to open its first Minnesota outpost. All eyes are trained on the Mall of America's North food court.