Some locations just seem cursed. Take for example, what should be a stellar spot on busy Hennepin Avenue in Uptown. The space is huge, and the free parking lot unrivaled in the area. Yet, since the closure of Old Chicago in 2013, restaurants have come and gone from the location at breakneck speed. Southern joint BoneYard from Kaskaid Hospitality opened in 2014, then Salsa a la Salsa had a brief stint in 2015, and quickly gave way to Game Bar, a gay sports bar, in mid-2016. When Mecca Bos reported a couple of weeks ago in City Pages that Game’s hours no longer included weekdays, the writing was on the wall.
We now know that Game is history and Lotus, a long-beloved Vietnamese eatery that once occupied a space just a couple of blocks South will take its place. Lotus, known for its classic Vietnamese dishes like delicate pho, snappy fresh spring rolls and an addictive peanut sauce, will continue operating its Loring Park location. The Uptown location will have a full bar, and unlike the Loring Park location, it will be open on Sunday.
—Speaking of closures, Smack Shack’s outpost in Chicago has shuttered after less than a year. The 300 seat second restaurant born of the beloved Minneapolis food truck and North Loop location just didn’t catch on in the windy city. At least we still have our lobster rolls to love.
—Beer lovers will rejoice at the news that Hop Cat is coming to Nicollet Mall. The chain based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan is being constructed at 465 Nicollet. There will be over 100 taps with 30 of those dedicated to local beers. The massive space will have 250 seats inside with another 100 outside when the weather cooperates.
— The Star Tribune has reported that Granite City Food & Brewery in St. Louis Park will close after a decade-long run by the end of the month. The location, on Excelsior Boulevard has operated there for 11 years and is one of five Minnesota locations of the chain, which opened its first location in St. Cloud in 1999.