Welcome to the Eater Twin Cities Heatmap, a collection of exciting new restaurants that have opened or re-opened in the last six months or so. Despite long-tail challenges of the pandemic, like supply chain disruptions and labor shortages, Minneapolis and St. Paul’s resilient restaurant community continues to find creative ways to introduce diners to fantastic food. This month, the map highlights Vellee Deli, the Mexican-Asian fusion restaurant with a new spot in Northeast; Sato Sushi & American Fusion, the metro’s new go-to for kosher sushi; Khue’s Kitchen, a new Vietnamese restaurant with ties to the Quang legacy; and Abang Yoli, which has brought its signature fried chicken sandwiches and an expanded ssam menu to Nicollet Avenue.Read More
The 15 Hottest New Restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul Right Now, September 2022
Mexican-Asian fusion dishes in Northeast, kosher sushi in St. Louis Park, and other noteworthy spots to try this month
Noyes & Cutler
Noyes and Cutler is chef Justin Sutherland’s latest Twin Cities restaurant: As a modern steakhouse, it makes an elegant complement to Sutherland’s pork-focused menu at the Handsome Hog. The downtown St. Paul location, which looks out onto Mears Bark, is outfitted with stately leather booths and a long bar. Try a hangar, ribeye, or porterhouse steak, or make a bet on the butcher’s cut. Noyes and Cutler serves classic sides and add-ons like crab cakes, asparagus in bearnaise, baked potatoes, and broccolini in a truffle soy vinaigrette. (Sutherland was recently in a boating accident that left him seriously injured: Read more about efforts to help cover his medical care here.)
eM Que Viet Restaurant and Bar
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. The new space is modern, airy, and festooned with garlands of pink flowers both on the exterior of the building and inside.
Khue’s Kitchen is the newest Vietnamese restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis. Chef Eric Pham’s mother is none other than chef Khue Pham, of Eat Street icon Quang — his restaurant is entirely dedicated to her legacy. Eric Pham grew up working at Quang, and then spent a few years in the Spoon and Stable kitchen. His menu is succinct and thoughtful. Try the five-spice, twice-fried chicken wings to start — entrees include caramelized pork ribs, shaken ribeye, and five-spice tofu garnished with fried lemongrass.
The latest venture by the Travail Collective, the Dream Creamery is Northeast Minneapolis’s newest ice cream shop, equal parts simplicity and whimsy. Milkjam veteran Nate Mickelson is heading ice cream operations — the nostalgia-tinged slate of flavors runs from cereal milk to Grandma Jean’s oatmeal cookies. Dream Creamery also serves lobster rolls and an indulgently messy cheeseburger that’s making its own mark on the local scene.
Vellee: NE Minneapolis
After more than two years of pandemic-related delays, Vellee Deli is finally open in Northeast Minneapolis. A super popular food truck dishing up Asian and Mexican fusion food, the deli’s new permanent space is on the first floor of the NordHaus apartments building on First Avenue. Stop by for a Korean barbecue burrito loaded with zippy kimchi, a duck confit banh mi, or a veggie melt made with portabellas and fresh shallots. Add a sprinkle of sun-dried ground Thai chili peppers, available at three levels of heat: simmer, sizzle, and scorch. Vellee Deli’s downtown skyway spot is still open, too.
Guacaya Bistreaux, a Latin-Caribbean tapas bar and restaurant by chef and owner Pedro Wolcott, opened in the North Loop in May. Enjoy a tap cocktail like the Leche de Tigre, made with orange, lime, ginger, and chili, or the Mula Mula — a tamarind and Prairie vodka elixir — on the spacious patio. The tapas menu highlights dishes like sour orange-marinated skirt steak skewers, ceviche, and Louisiana-style house boudin sausage, all in the $12 to $18 range. The restaurant’s interior is tropical-mod — there are plenty of bar stools to grab a seat at the rum bar.
Mara at the Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis
Mara is acclaimed chef Gavin Kaysen’s new restaurant at the Four Seasons hotel in downtown Minneapolis. The interiors alone here are enchanting: curved booths nestled into shimmery alcoves, green glass lamps dangling from the ceiling, elegant curved features in the bar and a tiled fireplace tucked into the corner. Kaysen’s main menu centers Mediterranean influences from his time traveling in the region — look for dishes like cured ocean trout, salt-baked branzino with tzatziki, and olive oil cake with labneh sorbet. The cocktails run fruity and aromatic, like the “Aquarian Delights,” made with peach, cherry bar, mahlab spice, and brandy. Reservations are not required for the bar.
Little Tijuana Neighborhood Lounge
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.
Also featured in:
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.
Also featured in:
Chicago’s Very Own
Chicago’s Very Own, a hoagie, popcorn, and cookie shop, has set up shop at the corner of Lyn-Lake. 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.
Abang Yoli Nicollet
Chef Jamie Yoo has expanded Abang Yoli, his popular Southeast and East Asian food stall at the Market at Malcolm Yards, to the old Boludo space on Nicollet Avenue. Yoo, a Bellecour veteran, serves a very popular fried chicken sandwich — its tangy, house-pickled vegetables are an ideal foil to the heavier fried chicken breast, and the fresh-made buns from Vikings & Goddesses pastry lend an irresistible creaminess. But this is much more than a fried chicken sandwich spot. The ssam menu, especially, has expanded, adding pork belly, marinated grilled tofu, and bulgogi-marinated short rib. The space is small, so Abang Yoli is starting with a takeout menu, with indoor space to dine by winter.
Official Fried Chicken
This innovative new fried chicken spot by former Funky Grits owner Jared Brewington opened June 9 on Minnehaha Avenue. The set-up here is unique: To order a meal, walk through the entrance, make an order on the touch screen, and pick up your chicken and fries from a locker that’s built between the kitchen and the lobby. OFC’s menu is understated and intentional, a classic chicken and fries ordeal: Choose between original, buffalo, and barbecue seasonings. (The original chicken, though, is by no means plain — it’s made with a robust, old-school blend of herbs and spices.)
Also featured in:
Bussin' Birria Tacos
Bussin Birria Tacos, which opened in the Mall of America’s third-level Culinary on North June 6, is the latest venture by chef Janene Holig and owner Amol Dixit of Hot Indian, the popular Indian street food restaurant. Hot Indian’s spicy street concoctions made a name for the duo, but this new spot is all about juicy, messy, birria-style tacos. Ride the escalators up to the third floor and order a few in beef or chicken. Vegan birria tacos, made with help from Minneapolis’s own Herbivorous Butcher, are soon to come. (For now, jackfruit street-style tacos are available.) Bussin Birria also serves nachos and quesadillas, and sources many of its ingredients from local Mexican-owned businesses around the Cities.
Also featured in:
Sato Sushi & American Fusion
Sato Sushi & American Fusion is slinging kosher sushi in St. Louis Park. Mpls.St.Paul Magazine reports that Sang Hun Kwon is helming the kitchen — the extensive menu features everything from vegetable rolls and cooked rolls to classic sashimi to specialty rolls (not to mention sushi boats for large parties). There’s classic American fare on the menu, too, like burgers and a grilled chicken basket, and the whole place is certified kosher.
Chef Danny del Prado has added Lake Minnetonka restaurant Macanda, which opened July 9, to his already extensive restaurant roster. This latest restaurant is influenced by Latin America’s literary tradition of magical realism, and by the lush mango trees that grow throughout the region. 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.
Also featured in: