After briefly being open in fall 2020, Surdyk’s Sidebar has reopened with a new chef, new menu, and a dining room perfectly designed for the new dining realities. The dining room was designed by Shea, with a comfortable amount of space facing Hennepin Avenue. The whole front window can roll back, bringing fresh air in to circulate through the restaurant and afford diners great views of the lively thoroughfare.
In the kitchen now is Randall Prudden, a Chicago native who has spent time in the kitchens of Alinea and Next. He and his wife relocated to Northeast Minneapolis, where he first worked for Gavin Kaysen at Spoon and Stable. When Sidebar was looking for a new chef, Prudden was also looking for a new opportunity nearer to his home.
His menu is built for both casual get-togethers with friends, or a romantic night out, with snacks like green garlic fritters with a creamy dipping sauce or cheese curds with hot honey, or New York Strip with black garlic sauce. There’s even a requisite Minnesota cheeseburger.
Surdyk’s has been a landmark in Northeast Minneapolis for years and the restaurant is another addition to the historic liquor store. The Surdyk’s family has been serving the area since 1934. The liquor store first opened just after prohibition ended. The business moved into its current address in 1967 and expanded into grocery sales. The current store includes an array of wine, liquor, beer, and a cheese shop with a gourmet grocery and deli that also does catering and delivery.
The new restaurant, located on the side, is the next step in the evolution. Dinner hours are limited to Wednesday through Sunday for now, with some dishes that could be interpreted as brunch available during the day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Reservations are available for the inside seats and patio tables, where there are also heaters.
A number of Twin Cities restaurants have resumed dine-in service. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the Minnesota Department of Health. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.