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Food & Drink

Hello to a New Chimborazo, Fool Me Once Flees, and More April Restaurant News

Plus changes at Eat Street Crossing and more in the latest Viraluae Restaurant Roundup.

Instagram @chimborazo_ne / Provided by Eat Street Crossing|

Left: Inside Chimborazo’s new St. Paul space. Right: Chef Louross Edralin will take over Eat Street Crossing’s Ramen Shoten space with Staff Meeting.

It's not "news," per se, and therefore not technically welcome in the Viraluae Restaurant Roundup, but what the hell: We welcomed two stellar new entrants into our Best Budget Bites Hall of Fame in April.

If you haven't read about or gone out of your way to get Mi Mexico Querido's "mini" tacos dorados or Jeff's Pasty from Milda’s Cafe, what are ya waiting for?

OK, on to the new news:

Open

Diane’s Place

Diane Moua’s long-awaited restaurant in the Food Building (117 14th Ave. NE, Minneapolis) opened its doors this month, and well, just go ahead and make yourself a reservation now! The hype is high, the food looks amazing, and by all accounts Diane’s Place is the place of the moment, with the pastry chef pairing comforting recipes that highlight her Hmong heritage with pastry creations that made her a five-time James Beard Award nominee. 

The Dive at Coastal Seafoods

After moving their St. Paul seafood shop to a bigger and cooler space in December (286 Snelling Ave. S.), Coastal Seafoods’ Mac-Groveland location has added a restaurant. They’re serving up lobster rolls, tuna smash burgers, fish tacos, a soft shell crab BLT, oysters on the half shell, and more. 

Chilango Mex-Tex

Petite Leon chef Jorge Guzmán’s new Mex-Tex joint, Chilango, is up and running at 2730 W. Lake St., Minneapolis, with tacos, shareable snacks, mains, and veggies. There are daily specials—Texas tamale pie on Mondays, carnitas en chile verde on Wednesdays—to keep things fun and fresh. There’s also La Parrillada: a 24-oz, $150, bone-in, aged ribeye that serves three to four people.

Chimborazo St. Paul

Northeast Minneapolis Ecuadorian restaurant Chimborazo might quietly be one of the best restaurants in Minneapolis, and now they’ve opened a St. Paul location at 508 Lexington Parkway S. “We have been supported by you all for 15 years and it has been our biggest accomplishment to serve all of you,” an Instagram post announcing the April 22 opening read.

Wrap

Not content to simply open pizza shops all around the Twin Cities, the Wrecktangle team’s newest venture is Wrap, a lil sandwich shop at Graze food hall (520 N. Fourth St., Minneapolis). And “new” is a relative term here: You might recall the Wrap stall they had at the North Loop Galley food hall a few years back.

Origami Tiger Sushi

Uptown’s Origami Restaurant quietly closed earlier this year, but it reopened this month with a new owner and a new name: Origami Tiger Sushi. If you’re looking for a reason to check 'em out, they’ve got coupons on their Instagram.

New York Gyro

The long empty Lyn-Lake address briefly occupied by Chicago’s Very Own (2944 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis) is up and running again with the newest location of New York Gyro, which also has shops in Willmar, Columbia Heights, and beyond. 

Corner Coffee

Uptown’s Corner Coffee just opened a second location on Nicollet Mall, in the old Coconut Whisk space. Caffeinate here at your own risk, though: As folks have pointed out on Twitter, Corner Coffee is an alleged front for the homophobic and pro-life church Assemblies of God. 

That was fast: Fool Me Once is no more.Instagram: @foolmeoncempls

Closed, Closing, or Changing

Soul to Soul Smokehouse

Midtown Global Market’s Soul to Soul Smokehouse, open since 2021, has shuttered. It sounds like there was some shady business with a former partner taking money, according to their GoFundMe, which you can donate to here as they look for a new location. 

Ramen Shoten → Staff Meeting

Ramen Shoten, the stand-up noodle shop at Minneapolis's Eat Street Crossing food hall, will soon shift to a new concept called Staff Meeting from chef Louross Edralin that’s being created in partnership with the group behind Asia Mall. “In Las Vegas, my team and I are always working 10-12 hour shifts and serving 400-500 covers. After a crazy night, I will reward my team. I’ll say, ‘Hey, let’s have a staff meeting!’ and they all know what that means—we might head to a ramen shop or go somewhere lo-fi and get some great wings,” Edralin says in a press release. Look for it to open May 4.

Hark! Cafe

This vegan and gluten-free bakery is shuttering its cafe space, but not going away forever. “This summer we will transition from our bakery in downtown Minneapolis to a commercial kitchen space,” the Instagram post announcing their closure promises. 

Italian Eatery + Un Dito

An absolute shocker out of south Minneapolis: Italian Eatery, the beloved pasta shop from owners Eric and Vanessa Carrara, will close this summer, likely before mid-June. Eric told the Star Tribune "It's nothing bad," but they more or less wanted to go out on top. Get there while ya can. 

Fool Me Once

Elsewhere in semi-baffling closures, Minneapolis's Fool Me Once, the “cosmic cantina” that opened in Lyn-Lake less than a year ago, has abruptly shuttered. There’s no word as to why, and the staff members have found themselves suddenly unemployed; you can donate to a GoFundMe to support them here

Facebook: Peter Do

Just Announced and Coming Soon

Asia Village

Keefer Court co-owners Michael Bui, Mai Bui, and Peter Do just teased something called Asia Village—"our next and probably biggest project eva," Do writes on Facebook. Do's team is apparently partnering with the group behind Eden Prairie's wildly popular Asia Mall, and the renderings of the forthcoming Asia Village (see 'em here) look pretty exciting. Expect more crucial details—like where this thing will be, what it'll be, and when it'll open—at a press conference scheduled for Wednesday. "Let’s just say it’s in the North," Do adds on FB with a winky emoji.

Wakpa Bar

On May 1, Owamni will debut a new pop-up on the Wakpa patio. Enjoy beer, wine and Indigenous food—think seeds and nuts, popcorn and crickets, bison birria tacos, and smoked turkey legs—along the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. 

The Sandwich Room at Sea Salt

It’s always an exciting sign of summer when we get an opening date for Sea Salt at Minnehaha Falls Park, but this year was extra thrilling with a scoop from Longfellow Whatever: They’re opening an adjacent sandwich shop! The Minneapolis shop comes from longtime Sea Salt manager (now co-owner) Bill Blood, who apparently some know as “Sandwich Bill.” Hell of a nickname! We look forward to Bill’s creations.

Sip Society Cafe

Uptown’s Inspire Apartments will soon get a coffee shop called Sip Society, according to the Business Journal. Expect coffee drinks, Somali tea, wraps, breakfast sandwiches, juices, and smoothies, and look for it to open in June. 

Ava

The former Stilheart space in Minneapolis's North Loop will soon be a multi-level night club called Ava, according to Bring Me the News. They’re going for a “modern discotheque atmosphere,” with light bites from chef Kamal Mohamed (Nashville Coop, StepChld, Parcelle). 

Black Duck Spirits & Hearth

The Strib has the latest on chef Jason Sawicki (Lyn 65, Popol Vuh), who plans to open Black Duck Spirits and Hearth this summer at 2900 NE Johnson St. in Minneapolis. Expect an “eclectic menu,” with smoked foods that blend Mexican cuisine with Sawicki’s Polish heritage.

In the Works

As previously reported in the Viraluae Restaurant Roundup...

Tap In

It’s been a long, licensing drama-laden road for Tap In, the restaurant and bar heading for a former gas station on Lowry Avenue in North Minneapolis. But according to Eater Twin Cities, it’s “on the brink of opening” at 2618 Lowry Avenue North.

Tender Lovin Chix

The former Fire and Nice Alehouse spot (2700 Lyndale Ave S., Minneapolis) won’t be vacant long; MSP Mag has the scoop on Tender Lovin Chix, a food truck-turned-brick 'n' mortar from Marques (Ques) Johnson (of the short-lived CHX tendie shops) and Billy Tserenbat (of Billy Sushi). They’re looking to open in spring of 2024. 

Lynette

It was a bummer when Richfield’s Lyn65 closed to make way for an apartment complex a few years back, and it was a bummer when Riverview Cafe and Wine Bar closed indefinitely back in 2021. Good news on both fronts from Mpls. St. Paul Mag: Lynette, an homage to Lyn65 from a few of its founders, will head to the former Riverview space (3751 42nd Ave. S., Minneapolis) in spring 2024.

Crossing Bridge Noodle

Construction is underway at the old Bad Waitress building on Eat Street (2 E. 26th St., Minneapolis), where Sushi Train co-owner Kevin Ni will soon open Crossing Bridge Noodle, according to Southwest Voices. Their specialty? Crossing-the-bridge noodles, a pho-like dish made with whole chicken broth as the base.

Walkin’ Dog

Downtown Minneapolis skyway staple Walkin’ Dog is (kinda) coming back! Northstar Center shared the news on LinkedIn (LinkedIn!), saying you’ll soon be able to “enjoy dogs, malts, sides and camaraderie in an updated version of this Minneapolis classic that honors Dave & Cindy Magnuson’s legacy.” 

Jade Dynasty Restaurant and Bar

Not far from the forthcoming NY Gyro, there’s finally good news for the old Fuji Ya space at 600 W. Lake St. Southwest Voices reports that a new hot pot and dim sum spot called Jade Dynasty Restaurant and Bar is planned to open there sometime this winter. The restaurant comes from Chuen Sai “Paul” Wu and Eric Zeng, and will specialize in Cantonese dishes and authentic Asian cuisine. 

Small Hours

A new “hi-fi wine bar” from sommelier Sarina Garibovič of Ženska Glava and songwriter/musician Sam Cassidy is in the works, according to the Star Tribune. Small Hours (2201 NE Second St., Minneapolis) will have wine-adjacent snacks like bread and tinned fish, and what sounds like a very fun selection of vintage audio equipment. Look for it to open this summer. 

WildChld

Stepchld will soon get a next-door sibling: Wildchld, a cocktail bar that’s headed for 24 University Ave. NE. The Strib reports that the new bar is a collab between restaurateur Kamal Mohamed of Stepchld—which just got a full liquor license of its own to boot—and Bridgit Loeffelholz at Dampfwerk Distillery in St. Louis Park.

Tono Pizzeria + Cheesesteaks Minneapolis

Southwest Voices had the scoop on Tono Pizza and Cheesesteaks’ upcoming takeover of the long-vacant Michelangelo’s Masterpizzas space. Per our count, this’ll be Tono No. 7 in the Twin Cities—but the first one in Minneapolis.

Minari

No, not the tear-jerking, critically acclaimed film about the struggle for the American dream—this Minari comes from Daniel del Prado student Jeff Watson, per the Star Tribune. It’ll open in the old Erté & the Peacock Lounge space (323 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis), with a focus on Korean food, this summer. 

Aster House

Aster Café has long been a great place to catch live music, and now, the restaurant is going all in on it. Owner Jeff Arundel tells Chris Riemenschneider at the Star Tribune that he plans to open a new 200-capacity restaurant and venue this summer, just a block from Aster Café’s original St. Anthony Main space (which isn’t going anywhere). That gets a big hell yeah from us. 

Sculpture Garden Eats

A restaurant for the Walker’s Sculpture Garden? Total no-brainer. Kind of can’t believe there isn’t one already. Mpls.St.Paul Mag’s Stephanie March had a great scoop on the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Walker’s teaming up to bring this new concession stand to life; you can still submit an application through April 5. 

Darling Neighborhood Café

The folks behind Peoples Organic—who also happen to have been Prince’s personal chefs—will soon open Darling in the former Birchwood Cafe space in Seward, according to Sharyn Jackson at the Star Tribune. (You may recall that the Tracy Singleton-owned Birchwood has been for sale for a while, and closed for a long while, following a dispute in which three-quarters of the staff was laid off.) It should open this spring. 

Hope Breakfast Bar North Loop + Salt & Flour + Bassett Hound 

The new North Loop Green development (that’s the big one you could watch going up from Target Field) is welcoming residents, and soon, according to the North Loop neighborhood org, it’ll have a pair of new restaurants, both from chef Brian Ingram of Purpose Restaurants. One will be another location of his already popular Hope Breakfast Bar; the second is an Italian eatery, Salt & Flour. North Loop Green will also have a new concept from Marquee Development and Levy called Bassett Hound, this one along its one-acre green space. Named for the Bassett Creek that flows beneath it, that one’s scheduled to open June 1.

La Madre 

The Vicinity, a mixed-use building on the corner of Washington Street and Park Avenue in the Mill District, is getting a bar and restaurant specializing in Mexican street food, per The Development Tracker. La Madre comes from Abe Ponce Delgadillo of La Tapatia in Roseville, and is aiming to open in late August or early September. 

Ococo

Malaysian and Thai street food is coming soon to the Minneapolis skyway, according to J.D. Duggan at the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal. Abby Sia and Eve Tha-uea are behind the new skyway spot, which should open soon at 811 LaSalle Ave. 

Barcelona Wine Bar

For Downtown Voices, Brianna Kelly has the skinny on Barcelona Wine Bar—a national chain with 22 locations in 11 states, that will open its first Midwest location this year at 508 Washington Ave. N.

Catzen Coffee Bar & Den

A cat cafe and coffee lab is heading for Grand Avenue (1416 Grand Ave., St. Paul, to be exact). They’ll have lots of local treats: Dogwood Coffee, pastries from Hot Hands Pie and Biscuits, and snacks from Re-Mix Popcorn and Soul Grain granola. They'll open this fall, according to the latest update on their website.

Vinai

The former Dangerous Man building will soon house chef Yia Vang’s long awaited Hmong fine-dining restaurant, Vinai. Initially announced pre-pandemic for another location (1300 NE 2nd St., Minneapolis), Vinai is now expected to open in spring 2024. “This restaurant is about carrying on my parents' legacy,” Vang says in a press release. “But it’s also about carrying on a piece of Dangerous Man’s legacy, and the legacy of the community here.”  

Animales Brick 'n' Mortar

Here’s a meaty story for ya: Animales BBQ is looking to open in a brick-'n'-mortar building. Year-round ribs, folks! Jon Wipfli (of Animales) is teaming up with Billy Tserenbat (of Billy Sushi) to bring the place to life in either the North Loop or northeast Minneapolis.

New North Loop Project from Tim McKee

James Beard Award-winning chef Tim McKee (La Belle Vie, Sea Change, Octo Fishbar) has his eyes set on the North Loop for a new project inspired by the Basque region of Spain. He's being tight-lipped about the endeavor for now, but has revealed that it'll be somewhere on First Street and open sometime in this year. Read more via the Strib.

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