Chef Christina Nguyen and her cocktail expert partner Birk Stefan Grudem will reopen their restaurants for delivery and takeout Thursday April 2. Both restaurants will serve pared down menus full of classics along with cocktail mixers, gift cards and merchandise with online ordering on their respective websites.
On the menu for Hola Arepa’s delivery will be chips and salsa, empanadas, a rice bowl, and the arepas stuffed with all kinds of options including roast pork, chimichurri chicken, and black bean with sweet potato. The popular margarita and mangonada are available for drink mixing. Plus, over the weekend, a select number of brunch items will be added.
Over at Hai Hai the menu promises the salt and pepper tofu, banana blossom salad, pork ribs, brussels sprouts and a selection of rice bowls. The Hanoi sticky rice, Bali chicken, larb, as well as cocktail mixers and desserts will be available.
Nguyen and Grudem first began their businesses with the wildly popular Hola Arepa food truck, often serving long lines of downtown Minneapolis workers fluffy arepas. The restaurant of the same name opened in 2014 and was an immediate hit with crispy yucca fries, those arepas, and an impressive cocktail menu. The duo were chosen as Eater Young Guns that same year.
In 2017 the pair opened their second restaurant, Hai Hai in a former dive bar strip club. The success was, again, immediate. Serving dishes packed with fresh herbs, fish sauce, citrus, and spice. Up until the mandated restaurant closure due to the Coronavirus, seats were still tough to snag, making these two of Minneapolis’ most popular restaurants.
Last year, Nguyen was recognized as a James Beard Award nominee and again was a semifinalist for the prestigious award this year. Those awards have been postponed.