The man behind the coal-fire fueled Black Sheep Pizza opened StormKing Barbecue at 16 1/2 West 26th Street in Minneapolis. Having some experience with the power of fire, Jordan Smith adds the Texas-style to the former Caterpillar Lounge location, adjacent to his third pizza restaurant location. There are just 26 seats and counter service for the small menu that includes brisket, spare ribs, burnt ends, chicken, and something called Czech-Texas sausages plus several sides. Smith tells Rick Nelson of the Star Tribune that they expect much of the business for the small location will come from take-out. Hours are Monday through Thursday 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday 4:00 to 11:00 p.m. with added lunch on the weekends, opening at noon Saturday and Sunday.
—The Salty Tart is expanding. The nationally renowned pastry chef, Michelle Gayer has found a new home base for her beloved bakery. The stand inside Midtown Global Market will continue to operate, but much of the baking will now be done inside a 4,000 square foot location in the Lyn/Lake neighborhood. At first, the kitchen will function as just that, expanded room for making all those milk buns and Surly chocolate cakes fans drive for miles to devour. But, as it gets rolling, the new location will also serve as a commissary kitchen for start ups and someday, just maybe, there could be a retail outlet for Gayer’s popular Power, Corruption and Pie pop up. Gayer made her name as Charlie Trotter’s pastry chef before moving to Minneapolis to first run the commercial bakery operation for someone else. In 2008 she realized her dream of entrepreneurship with the 400 square foot bakery opened at 920 East Lake Street. Gayer’s work there has garnered her national attention, including several James Beard Award nominations.
—Jacques’ is the unlikely name of a new Italian restaurant inside the ground level of the Marquette Hotel on Marquette Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. The moniker comes from Jaques Marquette, the explorer for whom the street and hotel were named. The chef is Chris Blackwell, a transplant from Denver’s Warwick hotel. There are 76 seats and 16 bar stools available for dining. The cocktail menu is inspired by Minnesota’s Northland, with a rhubarb drink called “Beebopareebop,” and a beet infused drink named for the Iron Range (which assumedly doesn’t actually taste of taconite). The grand opening begins today with complimentary snacks, beer and wine from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
—Could Spyhouse Coffee be set to make the expansion to St. Paul? The Pioneer Press reports that owner Christian Johnson has applied for a permit to convert the closed antique store next on Snelling and Palace Avenue. Spyhouse is the high-end coffee shop with locations in Whittier, Uptown, Northeast and the North Loop.
—On a final, more somber note, pour out a little Sauvignon Blanc for Toast Wine Bar. The restaurant has closed after 11 years in the North Loop.