Two Twin Cities businesses announced their closures on social media over the weekend. North Minneapolis Bakery Thirsty Whale officially closed on Sunday, December 3, co-owner Kyle Baker wrote on Instagram. In Loring Park, Lakes & Legends Brewing Company is closing its taproom after an eight-year run. The brewery didn’t give a final date of service in its announcement post, but said it plans to close as the year ends.
Thirsty Whale, opened by Megan and Kyle Baker and Sarah Bignell in 2018, was beloved especially for its doughnuts — drizzled with silky icings, stuffed with custards, or served crackly and glazed — and its cupcakes and custom cakes, which, strikingly creative and colorful, were true crowd pleasers. (Megan was a finalist on the Food Network’s 2021 Halloween Baking Championship.) Thirsty Whale persevered through a number of challenges over the years: It was broken into days before it even opened, and the Bakers lost their home and dog in a fire in 2019. But it remained a Northside staple to the end.
Explaining the closure, Kyle wrote that it had been “extremely hard” for Thirsty Whale to keep up with “economic changes” in a year that was especially hard for small businesses. “I do not see a way for us to continue to operate the same way as we have,” he wrote. (Eater has reached out for further comment on the closure.) He thanked the customers who have supported Thirsty Whale over the years, as well as its staff. “The team that we had was the best I have ever been a part of and will forever be grateful for the time and energy they gave.”
Lakes & Legends Brewing Company, opened by Ethan Applen and Derrick Taylor in 2015 at the height of the Cities’ craft beer boom, was a popular hangout for pinball tournaments, local makers markets, and live music. In 2022, it expanded its roster of pilsners, honey ales, and IPAs into the realm of THC, debuting its fruity Hiii seltzers.
The brewery didn’t cite a reason for the closure in its announcement. “[Eight] years since we opened our doors,” the post reads. “Hundreds of team members joined our family. Tens of thousands of guests came through our doors and joined our adventure. ... A lifetime of memories made, but all adventures have endings.” Eater has reached out for further comment.
Lakes & Legends is the latest in a string of taproom closings this year: Eastlake Craft Brewery and Dangerous Man closed their doors in September (though Dangerous Man has continued its brewery operations and hinted at new plans for spring 2024); and Clutch Brewing, located at St. Paul’s embattled Keg & Case Market, is closing at the end of the year, too.