As the temperatures dip low, the news on the new fall restaurants planned for 2017 heats up. While there are plenty on the horizon, these are the first few that we can’t wait to get into.
Location: 712 15th Ave. NE Minneapolis
Key Players: Chef Jose Alacron and the Lyn 65 Players
Projected Opening: Centro, mid-November; Popol Vuh opening a month later
This dual restaurant space is fast taking shape in Northeast, not far from the intersection of Broadway and Central. Centro will be a more casual, taco restaurant and Popol Vuh will serve elevated Mexcian fare from chef Jose Alacron. Behind the bar on the Centro side will be margaritas and sangria on tap, plenty of local beers, plus large mezcal and tequila selections. Plus, the bar team is hard at work on a guava mezcal slushy. The space will be light, bright and colorful.
Popol Vuh will have more exclusive wines and more refined cocktails in a room accented with pops of green and a large fire that will be viewable from every seat.
Location: 2121 University Ave NE, Minneapolis
Key Players: Christina Nguyen and Birk Stefan Grudem, owners Hola Arepa
Projected Opening: October
The former strip club/dive bar will bear little resemblance to its past incarnations, but Hai Hai has a couple of planned winks in the that direction. The name means two in Vietnamese, which is also a nod to co-owner and chef Christina Nguyen’s heritage. She, along with husband Birk Stefan Grudem were Eater Young Guns and are owners of South Minneapolis’ wildly popular Hola Arepa.
Of the new project she says, “We’re keeping some things like the beautiful old hex tile floors that are original to the space and the famous brass pole might be repurposed into the decor.” New will be plenty of windows and an expanded kitchen and patio. The interior design is inspired by French Indochina and tropical climates.
“We really hope that the space transports people to a cafe in Saigon on the other side of the world,” Nguyen said. The restaurant will be open for happy hour and dinner and likely brunch as well.
Location: 4563 S 34th Ave, Minneapolis
Key Players: Doug Flicker and Amy Greeley
Projected Opening: Mid-October
The return of the neighborhood bar is being heralded by one of the finest chefs in the Twin Cities. A leader in his field, Doug Flicker and his business partner and wife Amy Greeley are transforming the former Sunrise Inn into Bull’s Horn Food & Drink which will include bubble hockey, an awesomely stocked jukebox and definitely some great bar eats. The bar had been only licensed to serve 3.2 beer, but has now gotten the go-ahead to serve full-strength beer and wine.
The room construction is underway to make the entire room accessible and windows have been opened up to allow for more light. Beloved bar sustenance Heggie’s Pizza has worked with Flicker to create his own flavor (it’s not fancy, but there are olives) and it will be in production in time for the opening. There will also be pull-tabs on site courtesy of the Minneapolis Hockey Association, benefitting youth hockey.
Location: 289 5th St E, Saint Paul, MN
Key Players: Tim McKee
Projected Opening: Late 2017
James Beard Award winning chef Tim McKee has taken over much of the former Heartland space in St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood. The massive restaurant and market will be home to a fish counter, butcher shop, casual seafood restaurant, bakery and more. All businesses will be under one business name, which means guests will be able to shop while sipping a glass of wine in one hand and pay for it all in one fell swoop.
Key players, like who will operate each component are still being solidified. Initial plans for an October opening have likely been delayed until later in the year.
Location: 515 Washington Avenue North Minneapolis
Key Players: Peter Hoff, Marty Collins and Brett Johnson
Projected Opening: October 6
The restaurant and bar inside North Loop’s Gardner’s Hardware building will be a refined dinner party upstairs and a slightly more casual, rocking party downstairs bar. Behind the restaurants are Marty Collins of McCoy’s Public House, Brett Johnson of The Hilltop Restaurant and chef Peter Hoff. Nolo will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and the Basement Bar will be more casual and open at 4 p.m. daily.