Juniper, a new vegan restaurant with THC on the menu from former Fig + Farro owner Michelle Courtright and chef Heather Klein is coming to Uptown Minneapolis this spring.
Located on the northwest corner of Lyndale Avenue and 26th Street, the Juniper space was formerly occupied by Common Roots Cafe. Known for its ultra-local, environmentally sustainable mission, Common Roots ceased operations last December in an abrupt ending to a 15-year run. Juniper’s approach is similar, in a way, to Common Roots’ in that the menu centers around seasonal, locally-grown ingredients — so much so that an urban garden behind the restaurant will help supply the menu. But it’ll have more of a traditional, sit-down feel compared to Common Roots’ cafe-style service. The THC offerings, of course, are an exciting addition to the Twin Cities restaurant scene.
Juniper’s dishes and drinks won’t be infused with THC, exactly. Instead, the restaurant will offer a small juniper-infused THC tincture to be ordered a la carte or with a prix fixe dinner, almost like a wine pairing. “They can put it in their mocktail or on their dessert,” says Courtright. “It wouldn’t be, like, this lasagna has THC in it or anything. It’s [based on] the individual and what their needs are.”
The THC inspiration came from a personal place, Courtright says: She used THC to help manage the challenges of a bout with breast cancer, and Klein, chef and founder of Root to Rise Kitchen, is five years sober from alcohol. They wanted to incorporate it into the menu in place of alcohol. Minnesota legalized the sale of food and beverages with five milligrams or less of THC last summer, spurring innovation in the THC beverage market, but Juniper is leading the charge in incorporating THC throughout its food and drinks menu.
THC mocktails won’t be the only enticing drinks on the menu, either. Juniper will also serve Blue Lotus tea; house-made switchel, a root beer made with 33 different barks, roots, and berries; and sparkling kava, a naturally relaxing herbal beverage made from the root of the Piper methysticum, which is native to the Pacific Islands.
Food-wise, the menu will highlight local ingredients like wild morels, ramps, smoked juniper, and hazelnuts. And mushrooms — lots of mushrooms.
“I’m a huge fan of Lion’s Mane mushrooms, so I’m really excited about our Lion’s Mane steak,” says Courtright. She and Klein will be making use of the restaurant’s namesake ingredient, too. “We’re going to have some really interesting smoked juniper dishes — we’ll be using a canister and smoking the juniper, and lending that aroma to the mocktails and some of the dishes.”
Juniper will also have a small market space selling to-go meals, dry pantry items, and maybe even fresh mushrooms from a St. Cloud farm Juniper is connected with. Look for a May 2023 opening, and in the meantime, keep an eye on the restaurant’s Instagram page for updates.