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Four Twin Cities Pop-Ups From Chefs That Will Dominate 2020

Slurp soup, smash a concha burger, rip into some barbecue, and more this month

A bowl of soup with noodles and shitake mushrooms
Slurp with chef Yia Vang
Teresa Mozur/ Field Guide Inc.

With the new year, a lot of chefs are interested in trying new things. There’s a veritable wave of pop-ups hitting calendars in the upcoming months. Sifting through them all can be a bit much, so we’ve done all the heavy lifting. These are the upcoming events featuring the chefs and restaurants that are expected to dominate the Twin Cities culinary scene in 2020. There are also a few fun adventures, like a road trip to Cannon Falls with local notables, that sound too fun to miss. So, clear the calendar and snag some tickets.


When: Fridays January 10th, 17th, and 31st, 5 to 9 p.m.

Where: Lowry Hill Meats, 1934 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis

Cost: $10 and $12/bowl

What to expect: Chef Yia Vang’s new restaurant Vinai was just announced and already is one of the most highly anticipated new restaurants of 2020. The Hmong-American chef has long been telling the story of his heritage through food and the dining experience: a nomadic series of pop-ups that have led to a semi-permanent residency as Union Kitchen outside of Sociable Ciderwerks. A recent spate of pop-ups provide a preview of what his new restaurant might be serving. Just get there early, this is going to sell out.

Why it’s worth your dollars: We are in the heart of soup season and his smoked mushroom congee and Khao Poon with red coconut curry will warm winter-cooled bones. Plus, Uptown’s upcoming Bebe Zito ice cream will be on hand.

Two hands hold a yellow concha bun with a cheesy burger in the middle El Norte Kitchen [Official]

Concha Burger from El Norte Kitchen

When: Monday January 27, 5 to 8:30 pm

Where: Octo Fishbar, 289 5th Street East, St. Paul

Cost: $30-$35

What to expect: A concha, that tasty bready bun that’s just a bit sweet wrapped around a burger with pepperjack cheese, served with fries and churros with caramel sauce. There’s an optional tallboy add on for those 21+ who like that sort of thing.

Why it’s worth your dollars: Chef Ben Allen is a chef other chefs speak excitedly about when ooing and ahhing over his Sonoran Mexican cuisine. There is no better way to look forward to a Monday than to be clutching pre-purchased tickets to this burger event. Note that tickets are required to be purchased the Thursday before the pop-up.

A cutting board with sliced sausage, chicken, brisket, and ribs doused in barbecue sauce
Inside one of the fanciest restaurants in Minneapolis, there’s a barbecue pop-up coming
Jester Concepts/P.S. Steak

Barbecue at P.S. Steak

When: January 19

Where: P.S. Steak, 510 Groveland, Minneapolis

Cost: Varies, $12 for a 12 lb. of brisket

What to expect: P.S. Steak’s chef Wyatt Evans and his culinary team are dipping into the smoker and bringing out all kinds of tender meats and traditional sides.

Why it’s worth your dollars: The juxtaposition between elegant historical pinkies-up architecture and finger-licking food best eaten with a napkin tucked under your chin.

Merchant Series

When: Thursday January 23

Where: Underground Music Cafe, 408 3rd Avenue North, Minneapolis

Cost: $50-70

What to expect: A tasting menu built by chefs Tate McAllan and Aaron Buendorf. The duo have worked all over the Twin Cities, including in the kitchens at Spoon and Stable, Lat14, Bellecour, and Mill Valley Kitchen.

Why it’s worth your dollars: Be amongst the first to know about this exciting up-and-coming venture. It’s always fun to be the first to know. This dinner is the second in a series that they are hosting.

Octo fishbar

289 5th Street East, , MN 55101 (651) 202-3409 Visit Website

P.S. Steak

510 Groveland Avenue, , MN 55403 (612) 886-1620 Visit Website

Lowry Hill Meats

1934 Hennepin Avenue, , MN 55403 (612) 999-4200 Visit Website