North Loop Galley opens on the ground floor of the Nordic building on December 16 with an opening roster of four restaurant stands built to dominate the food world in 2020: Ono Hawaiian Plates, Wrecktangle Pizza, Thigh Times Birdhouse, and Soul Fu.
The stands line a large, open room that’s also anchored by a bar put together by the corporate company behind the concept. The storefronts are independently run by local, hospitality veterans, each taking a step into these new ideas, that are the culmination of years of dreams, work, and planning.
Each one will serve lunch and dinner daily.
Ono Hawaiian Plates
This business has been operating as an in-demand pop-up serving plates of comfort food from two Hawaiian transplants. Owners Jess Kelley and Warren Seta, had up until now, been operating the business as a side hustle, while maintaining day jobs, despite every pop-up being thronged with fans craving the comfort of the islands. They had originally considered opening at Graze, the other, larger food hall in the North Loop, but the timing wasn’t right. This new location on Washington Avenue (right next to The Freehouse) is perfect.
Chef Seta has worked all over the country, and is a known name in the fine dining world. He’s amused, humbled, and appreciative that the dishes that he’s now serving come straight from the heart. On the business’ Facebook page he shares a story of eating his first Hawaiian plate lunch with his grandfather after a day on the beach, he said he must have been four or five, and that pure memory is the guiding force behind this new endeavor.
Cocktail enthusiasts will recognize Jeff Rogers from his time Minneapolis’ subterranean cocktail lounge, Constantine. Jeff is the chef mastermind behind the project and he’s partnered with his brother Alex Rogers to run the stand. The pizza is Detroit-style, with a thick crust - like a cousin to focaccia - baked in a rectangular pan edged with crispy topped edges of cheese.
Pizzas vary in price from $11 to 15, with flavors ranging from basic curly pepperonis to sotalicious, pictured above with tater tots and hotdish fixings. For brunchers there are two waffles including the Knope with lots and lots of whipped cream and the everything with everything bagel seasoning and smoked salmon with cream cheese.
Thigh Times Birdhouse
There was much chatter with Jared and Jenn Brewington pivoted from a phenomenal Minnesota State Fair debut to closing the South Minneapolis restaurant, Funky Grits. Turns out, this ambitious duo is far from stopping.
Thigh Times Birdhouse specializes in all things crispy chicken, including a chicken “wrib,” that’s actually a thigh and “tato tenders,” chicken coated in potato chips. There are various rubs and sauces available to customize the chicken experience.
Brewington implied that the concept of these crispy fried chicken stands could translate easily, almost anywhere. Prices are in the $10 range for a meal for one, but easily scale up for whole buckets of chicken ready to be taken away.
Chef and owner Timmy Truong is a lifetime hospitality industry veteran with a culinary school education and family ties to Jasmine on Eat Street. This stand is the culmination of years of dreaming and traveling. While intimately knowledgable with Asian flavors, he also loves traveling to the South. It was after a trip this year to New Orleans that plans came together for exactly what his restaurant would be. Here plates of creamy corn grits are topped with crunchy, tender pork belly and dusted with a little Cajun spice blend. Fried rice is flecked with scrambled eggs and garnished with a fried chicken tender or collard greens.
While it’s been called a food hall, Galley is more an incubator for small businesses that are a part of a company that’s building these small food halls in other cities around the country. There are plenty of seats for co-working inside and a full bar. The cocktail menu is a vinyl album looking like a Prince record with Prince-themed drinks like the cocktail-formerly-known-as-an-old-fashioned, which is — spoiler alert — an old fashioned with pecan syrup, because nutty Prince = peak Minneapolis.
Galley North Loop opens at 11 a.m. Monday December 16 at 729 Washington Avenue North in Minneapolis.