A crop of new restaurants is opening in the Twin Cities this summer, some long-awaited and some just announced. Over in St. Paul, look for a new Korean fried chicken restaurant taking over a beloved spot, Lao cuisine coming to Sibley Plaza, and a Jamaican restaurant — with self-serve rum punch, no less — headed for downtown. West of the river, keep an eye out for hummus bowls and cardamom lattes; quesabirria tacos and cocktails; vegan shawarma and kava drinks; banh mi and fried curry tofu; and charcuterie boards paired with international wines. Two major North Loop openings are coming down the pike, too. Here are the Twin Cities’ most anticipated summer restaurant openings of 2023.
Local hummus brand Baba’s is opening a hummus house, bakery, and market in Uptown this summer, just a block south of the Wedge Co-op. Palestinian American sibling duo Rana Kamal and Khalid Ansari founded Baba’s in 2018 — it’s thus far operated as a wholesale business, selling its creamy, Jerusalem-style hummus at grocery stores across the Midwest. The restaurant will serve hummus bowls (imagine a hummus base with toppings like minced beef shwarma, sumac, and lemon sauce) as well as fresh-baked mana’eesh (a flatbread), Jerusalem-style bagels, and sweet pastries like baklava croissants. Baba’s will serve Palestinian coffee and teas, too, like cardamon date lattes; most dishes will range from $8 to $16. Look for a July opening. 2220 Lyndale Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN, 55405
El Sazon, a Mexican restaurant tucked inside an Eagan gas station, has gained local acclaim for its tacos, salsa verde-smothered enchiladas, and five-course dinner series. The good news for city dwellers is that owners Karen and Cristian De Leon are opening a second location in Minneapolis’s Tangletown neighborhood this summer, the Star Tribune reports. The exact location of the new restaurant hasn’t been announced yet, but it’ll have the staple tacos and burritos from the Eagan menu plus plated dishes for dinner and cocktails. The gas station location will remain open. Expect a late summer 2023 opening.
Hi Flora!, the new vegan restaurant opening in the former Common Roots space in Uptown, is “Minneapolis’s first temperance bar” — there’s no alcohol on the menu, though there are euphoric drinks like kava and other mocktails. The restaurant will also offer juniper-infused THC tinctures to be ordered a la carte or served with a prix fixe dinner, almost like a wine pairing. Food-wise, expect vegan fare from chef Heather Klein like meatless shawarma wraps, Spanish-influenced dishes, pastas, and salad. (For a preview, stop by the market behind Hi Flora!’s storefront, which has been up and running for a few weeks.) The restaurant opens on June 18. 2558 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN, 55405
Popular Lao food truck Soul Lao, known for dishes like pork belly baguette sandwiches, red curry-topped branzino, and fiery khaopoon, has a permanent restaurant in the works in St. Paul’s Sibley Plaza on West Seventh Street. Owners Sabrina Boualaphanh and Eric Phothisanh’s thoughtful menu is influenced by their time traveling to Luang Prabang, Laos. The new restaurant’s buildout should be done by mid-July, with an opening to follow. A GoFundMe for the restaurant can be found here. 2401 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55116
Remember the banh mi restaurant planned for the red-and-white snack shack on 38th Street? Permitting delays pushed D’s Banh Mi’s opening back — the restaurant is now slated to open this summer. Hilda Tov, owner of local hair salon Hilda’s Hair Hut, bought the snack shack with her sons Dylan, Dyon, and Dustin. Expect a robust banh mi menu with plenty of vegan options, like deep-fried curry tofu, salt-and-pepper tofu, and mock duck, plus gluten-free alternatives to the Vietnamese-French baguettes. There’ll be sticky rice and noodle bowls, too. “We love south Minneapolis,” says Tov. “We’ve been here 24 years. The people around this neighborhood are so supportive of small businesses. It’s such a great, diverse neighborhood. We didn’t want to go anywhere else.” 1848 E 38th St, Minneapolis, MN, 55407
Milly’s Wine Bar is opening soon in downtown Minneapolis. Owner Brandon Witzel has transformed a dilapidated 1900s brick building into a sleek space for light fare like charcuterie boards, flatbreads, and sandwiches, plus wines from around the world, as Racket reports. The space is cozy, with a fireplace, plush sofas and chairs, and plenty of small tables to gather around. Expect an opening in the next few weeks. 1129 S Washington Ave Minneapolis, MN, 55415
Pimento at Bde Maka Ska — and downtown St. Paul
Eat Street favorite Pimento Jamaican Kitchen, by chef Tomme Beevas, is opening two new locations this summer: one in downtown St. Paul, and one at the new pavilion currently under construction at Bde Maka Ska, which it’ll share Lola on the Lake. The St. Paul location will have a self-service rum bar, a beer wall, and a stage — Kare 11 has the full story. 3000 East, W Bde Maka Ska Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN, 55408; 354 Wabasha St N., St. Paul, MN, 55102
Bb.q Chicken on Grand Avenue
Remember when chef John Gleason’s beloved Bap and Chicken closed on Grand Avenue in March? A new Korean fried chicken restaurant, Bb.q Chicken, is taking its place. This global chain originated in South Korea. It has an impressive range of sauces, from a “Gagnam-style” black pepper, to Galbi, a smoky Korean classic topped with green onions, to Cheesling, a dry sweet cheese coating. An opening is planned for June 20. 1328 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105
Two major restaurants are coming to the North Loop: an Argentinian steakhouse by chef Danny del Prado and Ryan Burnet, as Mpls.St.Paul Magazine reports, and a Basque-influenced restaurant in the upcoming West Hotel, as Mpls.St.Paul Magazine also reports. When these new spots were announced last summer, they had an expected opening date of summer 2023, though given the current state of construction at both, fall may be a safer bet. These restaurants are on North First Street, just down the block from Maison Margaux and Spoon and Stable.