One of the year’s biggest dining projects, the Market House Collaborative (289 E. 5th St., St. Paul, 651-202-3415), opened Tuesday in the former home of Heartland Restaurant & Wine Bar.
The project is the work of James Beard award-winning chef Tim McKee, and includes several components. Octo Fishbar is a casual, seafood-focused, dinner-only restaurant (weekend brunch is planned for next spring, to coincide with the schedule of the St. Paul Farmers Market, which is located across the street). Almanac Fish Market acts as the retail component to the Fish Guys, a seafood wholesaler. The butcher shop component is Peterson Craftsman Meats, which offers beef and pork raised at Peterson Limousin Beef in Osceola, Wis., along with poultry from Wild Acres in Pequot Lakes, Minn., and house-made sausages.
The project will also include a branch of the Salty Tart (920 E. Lake St., Mpls., 612-874-9206, saltytart.com), where chef/owner Michelle Gayer will also operate a breakfast/lunch cafe, and will provide Octo Fishbar with its breads and desserts; look for a mid-November opening.
Next year, Birch’s on the Lake (1319 Wayzata Blvd., Long Lake, 952-473-7373, birchesonthelake.com) will open a brewery in the complex, focusing on sour beers.
McKee said that the project came out of a search for the next step in his career. In October 2015, he closed his four-star La Belle Vie in Minneapolis. In February 2017 he left his executive position at Parasole Restaurant Holdings and joined the Fish Guys.
“From where I am now, it couldn’t be back in the saddle, running a restaurant,” he said. “It had to be more. I thought that my best avenue would probably be consulting. I love the momentum that the Fish Guys have. They’ve built an amazing company in 15 years. I thought that one way to kind of broaden their reach was to develop a retail component that would work alongside a restaurant. That’s where the idea started.”
Why a food hall?
“I’ve been seeing all over the country — except here — the idea of a food hall,” he said. “I don’t really consider Market House Collaborative a food hall, although it kind of is. Food halls are usually a collection of things, all having to do something with food, and that’s what we are, too. But here we’re all kind of going in the same way — I want to put seafood in a different light — and in most food halls, everybody is there for their own direction. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I think food halls are great.
“The timing was perfect, because the space was available,” he said. “It’s a great venue, and I’ve always been a great St. Paul fan. I grew up in St. Paul. It’s kind of crazy, all the cool things that are happening in St. Paul. I like that story. Now I just have to pull it off.”
Northern Coffeeworks (1027 Washington Av. S., Mpls., 612-353-4222, northerncoffeeworks.com) is now open, and owner Josh Klauck — he’s the operator of Angry Catfish Bicycle Shop + Coffee Bar (4208 28th Av. S., Mpls., 612-722-1538, angrycatfishbicycle.com) — is serving breakfast (biscuit-and-egg sandwiches, toasts with gravlax or avocado), lunch (sandwiches, salads, a quinoa/wild-rice bowl), beer and wine, and coffee.
Penny’s Coffee (100 Washington Av. S., Mpls., pennyscoffee.com) has launched its Linden Hills outpost (3509 W. 44th St., Mpls.). Expect to find the same (terrific) crêpes as the downtown location, plus nine sandwiches ($7 to $13), ranging from avocado toast to grilled sourdough with tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto.
Nolo’s Kitchen & Bar (515 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-800-6033, noloskitchen.com) opened Monday in the former Gardner Hardware store in the North Loop, with an all-day focus (7 a.m.-10 p.m.) and weekend brunch. The focus is on updates to familiar dishes: think flatbreads, salads, sandwiches, including walleye and hot beef ($9 to $15) and a few entrees, such as porchetta and popcorn chicken ($15 to $32). The Basement Bar, also part of the building, will open on Oct. 20.
Mercy chef/owner Mike Rakun is aiming for an Oct. 16 opening for the breakfast-and-lunch operation he’s christened Benedict’s (845 E. Lake St., Wayzata).
Closings, seasonal and permanent
The Craftsman (4300 E. Lake St., Mpls.), the Butcher Block (308 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls.) and Jerusalem’s (1518 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls.) have closed.
Late-nighters in Stadium Village have one less option now that Mesa Pizza has closed. The slice shop continues to operate its Dinkytown (1323 SE. 4th St., Mpls., mesapizzamn.com) and Uptown (1440 W. Lake St., Mpls.) locations.
Obento-Ya Japanese Bistro (1510 Como Av. SE., Mpls.) has closed after a 10-year run, and the space is being replaced (hopefully in the next few months) by an outpost of Ramen Kazama (3400 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-353-6160, ramenkazama.com).
Bento Box(378 N. Wabasha St., St. Paul, 651-222-0895) owner Ber Yang is closing his tiny, three-year-old skyway shop on Oct. 31.
“This restaurant’s footprint was simply not big enough for me to sign another long-term lease at the current location,” said Yang in a statement. “I’m going to regroup, pull together a new concept I’ve been working on, and come back in a new location.”
Saturday is the last day for Lucia’s Restaurant (1432 W. 31st St., Mpls., 612-825-1572, lucias.com). Founder Lucia Watson opened the pioneering restaurant in 1985, and sold it to a group of investors in late 2014. It’s too late for fans of the adjacent Lucia’s to Go; the bakery/cafe closed in mid-September.
There’s still time to enjoySea Salt (4825 Minnehaha Av. S., Mpls., 612-721-8990, seasalt eatery.wordpress.com). The popular warm-weather restaurant in Minnehaha Park is closing out its 13th season on Oct. 22, and will return in the spring.
Day-trippers, take note: the Harbor View Cafe (314 1st St., Pepin, Wis., 1-715-442-3893, harborviewpepin.com) is ending its 2017 season on Nov. 19, serving lunch and dinner Friday through Sunday; Thursday lunch and dinner service ends Oct. 26.
Chef Shack Bay City (6379 Main St., Bay City, Wis., 1-715-594-3060, chefshackbaycity.com) serves Friday and Saturday dinner and Sunday brunch through the end of the year.