This is a curated, running list of new restaurant and bar openings in and around the Twin Cities. Did we miss something? Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DOWNTOWN — Smith & Porter, a casual downtown Minneapolis spot for American fare and cocktails, reopened with a new executive chef July 27. Chef Antione Brown grew up in Minnesota and trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Mendota Heights — his menu is built on comfort food with fine dining touches. Entrees range from plum-glazed eggplant and heritage pork chops to filet mignon and a seared tuna banh mi. The bourbon bread pudding, served with macerated currants, caramel sauce, and a scoop of Sebastian Joe’s vanilla ice cream looks worth saving room for. Cocktails include mules, hard lemonades, and chocolate martinis.
ROSEVILLE — Makwa, an Ojibwe-owned coffee shop, opened on Hamline Avenue in Roseville on July 26. Bring Me The News reports that owner Jamie Becker-Finn (who also represents District 42B in the Minnesota House of Representatives) is incorporating elements of Ojibwe culture throughout the coffee shop. The name “Makwa,” for example, means “black bear” in the Ojibwe language, and the Ziigwan cold brew is sweetened with maple syrup. Becker-Finn grew up on the Leech Lake reservation in north-central Minnesota — in addition to the coffee on the menu, she’s selling bags of hand-harvested wild rice from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. The tables and chairs at Makwa were rescued from St. Paul’s Black Dog Cafe, which closed in January after a 23-year run, and there’s a cozy Hogwarts-themed fireplace nook for sipping coffee in the chilly months.
DAYTON’S BLUFF — Roots Cafe is the new coffee and tea shop inside Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center on East Seventh Street in St. Paul. The cafe serves a variety of hot and cold drinks, including a coffee blends from Spirit Mountain Roasting Co., on the Yuma Reservation, and Comunidad Tochan, a Nahua community in Mexico. The cafe employs local youth, who make the herbal tea blends in-house.
LAKE STREET — Less than a year after opening its flagship spot in Northeast Minneapolis, Slice Pizza debuted its second location on July 20, this time at Midtown Global Market. Run by friends Adam Kado and Hosie Thurmond, Slice is the city’s first Black-owned pizzeria. “Our impetus with Slice is using business ownership to build generational wealth for communities of color,” Kado said the day of the grand opening. Slice sells full pizzas for takeout and delivery, like a pineapple chicken combo and The Meats, made with sausage, pepperoni, bacon, and chicken. But its specialty is the traditional, New York-style slice — the pepperoni is a great bet for just $4.
GRAND AVENUE — Known and loved for its excellent egg rolls — crispy and humongous and served, at the State Fair, on a stick —Em Que Viet opened on Grand Avenue July 15. It’s a sister restaurant to Que Viet Village House in Northeast Minneapolis, which chef Dat Le owns with his wife Lauren Le. The restaurant serves dishes like bo tai chanh, a Vietnamese beef carpaccio, bun bo hue tartare, and bo ne, Vietnamese steak and eggs. But Que Viet’s egg rolls, folklorically voted best egg rolls in Minnesota, remain at the heart of the menu. (They come sans stick here, however.) The new space is modern, airy, and festooned with garlands of pink flowers both on the exterior of the building and inside.
WAYZATA — Chef Danny del Prado has added Lake Minnetonka restaurant Macanda, which opened July 9, to his already extensive restaurant roster. Del Prado, who grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, told the Star Tribune that his latest restaurant is influenced by literary magical realism — in particular, the fantastical family drama of Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, set in the fictional village of Macondo. The menu features everything from fried oyster tacos with a celery remoulade to braised oxtail made with rich, black mole. Cocktails include an acai gin and tonic, and a frozen pineapple amaro concoction mixed with tepache. There’s also a vinyl lounge and record bar, called the Macanda HiFi.
CEDAR RIVERSIDE — Tamu Grill and Catering, a Kenyan fusion restaurant, opened in the former Viking Bar space in Cedar Riverside July 8. Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal reports that George Ndege, also known as Chef Jojo, runs the restaurant with his family — a co-host of KFAI’s African rhythms show, he’s influenced by the cuisine of Kenya, where he grew up. Tamu used to operate as a catering company: Now a fully fledged restaurant, it’s serving everything from curries and samosas to seasoned fries, greens, and a few dishes for vegan diners. Notably, the Biz Journal reports, Ndege makes spices in-house.
DOWNTOWN — Bar Rufus, another venture by Danny del Prado, opened in the lobby of the Rand Tower Hotel in downtown Minneapolis on July 8. The menu has a classic French bistro influence: Think duck a l’orange prepared with gastrique and serrano peppers, or escargot with bone marrow in rich, earthy bordelaise sauce. There’s even a Le MacDo cheeseburger. The restaurant itself is cloaked in swanky shades of emerald, midnight blue, and bronze.
NORTHEAST — Earl Giles Distillery is now open on Quincy Street, as of July 7. Located in an 18,000-square-foot spot that was once a horse and buggy factory, the space feels almost more like a stylish greenhouse than a distillery: Co-owners Jesse Held and Jeff Erkkila have filled it with more than 600 plants and two live trees. But the 120 feet of bar space reveals the distillery’s true purpose. Earl Giles was founded as a bottling company in 2015 — back then, it made and distributed cocktail syrups, elixirs, cordials, and ginger beer. Now in full form, it’s serving cocktails like the Rabbit Kick, made with carrot, vanilla, citrus, and black pepper, and draft drinks like hard colas and mules. A menu of pizza, salads, and sides is also available.
NORTH LOOP — Ramen Kawae opened in North Loop Galley on July 5. The restaurant describes itself as “A little noodle shop emerged out of a desire to keep pushing the creativity of Japanese cuisine” — Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal reports that chef Tuan Hoang is serving everything from light dishes like gyoza and karaage to steaming bowls of ramen, rice bowls, and mazemen. Ramen Kawae replaces Soul Fu, which opened in late 2019.
DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS — Cardigan Donuts opened on the skyway level of the IDS center on June 21. Expect the same decadent doughnuts Cardigan is known for (the salted cookie dough doughnut, for example, is stuffed with milk ganache and cookie dough buttercream) plus ice cream and milkshakes.
EAT STREET — Late-night neighborhood bar Little Tijuana reopened in the Whittier neighborhood June 17. A long-time Eat Street favorite, Little T’s has kept the name and changed the menu: New owners Dan Manosack, Travis Serbus, Ben Rients, and Bennett Johnson, all members of the Petite León team, are serving an intriguing menu of snacks and small plates, sandwiches, and housemade pasta (think potato pelmeni and exceptionally tender mapo rigatoni). There are slushie machines, too, and a heavy-hitting cocktail menu with plenty of mezcal, pineapple, and craft bitters. The ambiance, happily, has stuck around — Little T’s feels like a party. Old cassette tapes and vinyl records are spinning behind the bar.
LYN-LAKE — Chicago’s Very Own, a hoagie, popcorn, and cookie shop, has set up shop at the corner of Lyn-Lake. (As Racket reports, this is the first time in years that none of the four buildings at Lyn-Lake’s intersection are sitting vacant.) Helmed by Richard Spencer, a Chicago native who moved to the Twin Cities 25 years ago, Chicago’s Very Own will be serving Supreme Steak sandwiches (a Chicago classic, says Spencer, made with premium meat cuts), a menu of other hoagies, popcorn, and dense, buttery shortbread cookies. Spencer says the restaurant’s other goal, besides serving quality sandwiches, is being a good neighbor in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood, and helping support the community. A small army of people congregated for the opening on June 15; CVO is still in the soft opening phase.
CEDAR-RIVERSIDE — Afro Deli & Grill has opened a new location in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood on June 13, reports Bring Me The News. The restaurant, helmed by owner Abdirahman Kahin and executive chef Moussa Doualeh, serves halal African, Mediterranean, and American fusion dishes, everything from chapati wraps and gyros to yassa chicken and Afro steak dinners. Other locations include Stadium Village, downtown St. Paul, and the Baker Building skyway.
MINNEHAHA AVENUE — Official Fried Chicken, a new fried chicken spot by former Funky Grits owner Jared Brewington, opened on the first floor of the MN46 apartments on Minnehaha Avenue on June 9. This isn’t a sit-down restaurant — diners walk through the entrance, place an order on a touch-screen computer, wait a few minutes, and pick up a box of chicken and fries in a locker that’s built into the wall. OFC’s menu is simple, and Brewington intended it that way: Choose between original, buffalo, and barbecue chicken, and one kind of fries. The original breading is expertly seasoned with an old-school mix of herbs and spices, something that’s relatively hard to find in the Cities’ fried chicken scene.
MALL OF AMERICA — Bussin Birria Tacos, the latest venture by chef Janene Holig and owner Amol Dixit of popular Indian street food restaurant Hot Indian, opened in the Mall of America’s third-level Culinary on North June 6. This spot is all about birria-style tacos, in beef and chicken and vegan varieties (with some help from Minneapolis’s own Herbivorous Butcher). Holig is also serving street tacos, nachos, and quesadillas.
NORTHEAST — Those of us still mourning beloved Northeast nightclub Honey can find some comfort knowing that Hennepin Avenue’s best basement has a new occupant. Jetset, the LGBTQ bar Peter Kirihara and Susan Liesch first opened in the North Loop in 2001, has been resurrected at Honey’s old spot. The basement has a fresh coat of white paint, a couple projectors, and, as Racket reports, a revamped menu. Oak & Fig’s chef Andrew Schiff is serving a happy hour menu of Kramarczuk’s hot dogs, hand pies, sandwiches, and mac and cheese.
COMO PARK — The Star Tribune reports that Abogados Café, a new “law-themed” coffee shop owned by Ofelia Ponce and Inti Martínez-Alemán, is open in St. Paul’s Como Park neighborhood as of June 14. Equal parts coffee bar and mercadito, stop by for an Ex Parte, a long black blended with lavender and French vanilla or a Fearless Lawtte, made with cayenne and Ceylon cinnamon.
GEORGE FLOYD SQUARE — Forreal Coffeehouse, a “real estate coffeehouse startup,” opened at George Floyd Square on Chicago Avenue over Memorial Day Weekend. Owners Disney Foote and Billy Jones, the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder reports, are operating a two-in-one business: Foote works on the brokerage side, and Jones is running the bar. The pair are also running an internship program for community members to learn about both coffee and real estate.
NICOLLET AVENUE — Revival Smoked Meats, a Carolina-style barbecue venture by Revival’s chef Thomas Boemer and Nick Rancon, opened on May 14 in the former Corner Table space on May 14. Check out our heatmap for more details.
ELLIOT PARK — Lutunji’s Palate, a bakery highlighting Lutunji Abram’s sumptuous peach cobbler (and other creative, nutritive-dense vegan baked goods) opened in Elliot Park on May 14. Read more about the new bakery here.
DINKYTOWN — Mpls.St.Paul Magazine reports that Bober Tea and Mochi Dough opened in Dinkytown in early May. Doughnut and mochi lovers alike should stop by to sample these sensational treats. The airy, chewy doughnuts, made with rice flour, come in all varieties of flavors, from banana milk and funnel cake to taro and black sesame. And there’s bubble tea, too.
EAST SIDE — Here’s one we missed when it first opened in March in St. Paul’s Payne-Phalen neighborhood: Insane Vegan. As Racket reports, this totally plant-based sub shop first opened in Minneapolis before moving to its current Arcade Street spot. The menu comprises subs, flatbread pizzas and salads, plus an impressive array of sauces (think Hunny Mustard and Insane Sauce) to dress all of the above. The subs are made with vegan dupes of traditional sandwich meats like smoked maple bacon, ham, capicola, and turkey.
NORTH LOOP — As of May 5, Edwards Dessert Kitchen is officially reopen in the North Loop. A popular spot for creative, decadent desserts and drinks at a chic bar, Edwards closed amid the pandemic — during the grand reopening this weekend, look for menu highlights like Rocher Mousse, chocolate cherry budino, and lemongrass banana cream pie, as well as savory small plates, from chef Jasmine Weiser.
MERRIAM PARK — Modern Filipino restaurant Kalsada opened April 26 in the former Augustine’s space on Selby Avenue, reports Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. Chef Leah Raymundo and John Occhiato are splitting the restaurant into a day and a night menu: From 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., they’ll serve coffee and pastries from Cafe Astoria (one of their other ventures). Starting at 4 p.m., expect a menu of modern Filipino fare, from kare kare short ribs with shrimp paste and bok choy to truffled chicken adobo.
KINGFIELD — Popular empanada and pizza restaurant Boludo opened in its new, bigger space on 38th Street on April 26. Chef Facundo DeFraia is calling the new spot “El 38” — expect revamped pizza and empanada items to emerge from the larger kitchen space, reports Racket, and at the new location only, enjoy wine, beer, shots of Fernet Branca, and a fernet and coca cola cocktail called “Fernando.”
MERRIAM PARK — Mario’s, a ‘70s-style pizzeria by the team behind St. Paul’s Estelle, opened on Cleveland Avenue on April 24. Come for East Coast-style hero sandwiches, zeppole doughnuts, and pan pizza done Sicilian-style — from simple sausage and red sauce combos to artichoke pizzas with garlic cream sauce and piquillo peppers from chef Jason Hansen. According to Racket, chef Evan Vranian is baking Italian sesame seed loaves for hoagies.
LYN-LAKE — Wrecktangle Pizza’s much anticipated Lyn-Lake location will officially open this Wednesday, April 20. (The restaurant announced on Instagram that its doors will open at precisely 4:20 p.m. on... 4/20.) Expect an expanded menu of rectangular, pan-baked, Detroit-style pizza and other dishes — plus, reports Racket, a roomy bar, meat smoker, and slushy machine.
DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS — Chef David Fhima’s skyway location of Mother Dough Bakery opened April 15, reports Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. Look for a menu that’s very similar to the first-floor location, one of the Cities’ hottest new restaurants — plenty of sandwiches on fresh challah and brioche, as well as Danish pastries, éclairs, and croissants.
DINKYTOWN — CrunCheese Korean Hot Dog opened near the University of Minnesota campus the weekend of April 9, introducing a game-changing (and immensely popular, reports Racket) corn dog menu to the Twin Cities metro. Try the potato mozzarella, cheddar and sausage, or rice cake dog.
MOBILE — In other corn dog news, the Corn Dog Company, a national operation selling honey-glazed, hand-dipped corn dogs, has debuted a food truck in Minneapolis, reports Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine. Try the “epic,” a footlong all-beef dog served with honey, ketchup, and mustard — and keep your eye on the event calendar to see where the food truck is stopping next.
NORTH LOOP — Fried chicken pop-up Burnt Chicken has begun a year-long residency at First Draft Taproom and Kitchen in Minneapolis’s North Loop, reports the Star Tribune. Look for bourbon-glazed thighs, hot chicken, and fried chicken sandwiches from chef Bernard Collins.
HIAWATHA — Venn Brewing opened its coffee element at its Hiawatha Avenue location on April 1. Tuesday through Sunday from 7 a.m., the brewery will serve classic coffee drinks like lattes and macchiatos, plus drip coffee and a selection of teas. Beer pours start at 8 a.m.
ST. LOUIS PARK — A small takeaway bakery specializing in gluten-free goods, Hold the Wheat, opened in St. Louis Park on March 26, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine reports. In 2016, baker Spencer Justiniano started Hold the Wheat started as a side hustle, and later expanded to selling gluten-free cakes, cookies, and pies (look for salted caramel apple and berry) at farmers markets around the metro. This is his first permanent location — currently, Hold the Wheat is exclusively selling out of the new bakery space.
COLUMBIA HEIGHTS — A restaurant debut from The Gentleman Forager — aka Mike Kempenich, local mushroom cultivator, forager, and teacher extraordinaire — the Shroom Room opened in Columbia Heights on March 26. Instead of having daily service, the Shroom Room will serve a ticketed series of feasts from chef Taylor O’Brien. As Racket reports, expect a menu of wild and foraged ingredients and plenty of live music.
DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS — Seven Steakhouse and Sushi reopened at their Hennepin Avenue location on March 25, in an unexpected comeback from their abrupt January closure. Racket reports that co-owners Ken Sherman and Erick Patterson have so far been tight-lipped about their reasons for reopening. Regardless, Seven’s return is good news for downtown nightlife.
MERRIAM PARK — Chef Kevin Manley and Anna Morgan opened subterranean spot Gus Gus on March 19, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine reports. Creative dishes like venison cheddarwurst with apple slaw and mustard, poutine with fried gnocchi and braised oxtail, and squash pudding with garam masala are menu highlights — as are Jell-O shots with Aperol and Tattersall bitter orange, served in a cozy basement space.
DOWNTOWN ST. PAUL — Momento, a restaurant serving wood-fired dishes and American fare, opened March 18 in Pazzaluna’s former downtown St. Paul space, as reported by the Pioneer Press. The menu is Italian-influenced, and the cocktails list will feature spirits from Tattersall Distillery.
UPTOWN — Sister restaurant of the legendary Uptown Diner, the New Uptown Cafe opened March 17 in the former North Face space on Hennepin Avenue, as reported by Racket. With an entire menu section labeled “Pancake Heaven,” the cafe is set to become a new breakfast staple on a much-fretted-over stretch of Hennepin Avenue.
NOKOMIS — Asa’s Bakery opened at its new location in Minneapolis’s Nokomis neighborhood on March 13. Owner Asa Diebolt serves some of the best bagels — and some of the only bialys — in the Twin Cities, and his new expanded menu includes smoked whitefish and lox sandwiches, and more cream cheeses, reports Racket. So far, Asa’s has been selling out early most days.
NICOLLET MALL — Ties Lounge and Rooftop, a four-story nightclub and community space, opened in downtown Minneapolis on March 12. The creation of trio Stevie Moman, Tommy Joyce, and Gene Sanguma, Ties has an ambitious mission to create an inclusive and welcoming nightlife space downtown — Mpls.St.Paul Magazine has the full story. Ties’ third floor offers fast-casual Italian fare from Joey Meatballs.
DINKYTOWN — Soga Mochi Donut opened at Dragon Star Oriental Foods in St. Paul in early March, the Pioneer Press reports. The restaurant’s mochi donuts are circular — a ring of mochi balls baked together like beads — and made chewy and bouncy by the addition of glutinous rice flour. Flavors (like matcha and yuzu) developed by co-founder Bella Zhan change week to week. As of late March, Soga Mochi Donut is temporarily closed for renovations.