Three cheers for these 21 restaurants, breweries, drive-throughs, residencies, ghost kitchens, pop-ups, and even a barbershop-turned-coffeeshop for taking a gamble on pandemic-era dining in the Twin Cities.
For more openings, closings and announcements, check out our Restaurant Roll Call.
Travail: After pandemic (and construction) related delays, Travail’s sleek, three-level property has finally opened, with two lavish dinners to choose from on either floor (4134 Hubbard Av. N., Robbinsdale, 763-535-1131, travailkitchen.com). A New Hope is a 22-course (give or take a few) extravaganza with an almost-personal chef as your guide. The slightly more casual Flight Club takes you around the world with a cocktail tasting — and at least a dozen paired bites.
Cologne House Cafe: Jared Brewington, whose Minneapolis restaurants Funky Grits and Thigh Times Birdhouse recently closed, is taking a stab at Carver County. Cologne House Cafe is currently under renovation for dining in, but swing by on the weekend for drive-through meals to go. Check Facebook for the latest menus, which have included pulled pork sandwiches, Buffalo wings, meatloaf and mashed potatoes and banana cream cheesecake (114 Paul Av. S., Cologne, 612-314-5995, facebook.com/colognehousecafe).
Curry in a Hurry: Gandhi Mahal has found a temporary home in the former Chef Shack Ranch, while the restaurant — destroyed by fire in the Minneapolis riots — rebuilds. Owner Ruhel Islam estimated the rebuild could take three or four years. In the meantime, find an abbreviated menu at Curry in a Hurry (3025 E. Franklin Av., Mpls., 612-729-5222, curryinahurrymn.com) with tandoor-fired chicken, lamb and salmon, biryani and soft naan.
Cafe Wyrd: Twenty years after one of Minneapolis’ legendary coffeehouses closed, Cafe Wyrd is back — in a new location (the former Gigi’s Cafe). Stop in for cookies, scones, soup, sandwiches, salads and more (824 W. 36th St., Mpls., 612-825-0818, cafewyrd.com).
Cora’s Lounge: Because of indoor dining restrictions, and the end of patio season, the already small Holman’s Table is down to just 11 tables. So, the owners made a necessary expansion into the 1939 terminal’s lobby and opened Cora’s Lounge (644 Bayfield St., St. Paul, 612-800-5298, holmanstable.com). The midcentury furnishings give it a retro vibe. On offer are small plates, cocktails and happy hour with runway views.
Karyn’s Quarantine Kitchen: Until her restaurant Myriel opens later this year, award-winning chef Karyn Tomlinson is operating Karyn’s Quarantine Kitchen, a takeout-only venture named for the lively and informative how-to videos she posts on her Instagram account (470 S. Cleveland Av., St. Paul, myrielmn.com). The abbreviated menu, available on Saturdays, includes a changes-weekly meal kit for four as well as a family-style serving of pot roast sandwiches made with dinner rolls fashioned from a cherished family recipe (those same yeasty rolls helped her emerge victorious at Cochon555 in 2018).
Avocadish: An all-avocado menu (there are four guacamoles) is the basis for Avocadish, the newest resident in the North Loop food hall Graze Provisions + Libations (520 N. 4th St., Mpls., avocadish.com). This is the second opening for Avocadish; the first is in the University Food Hall in Dinkytown’s Sydney Hall. Even the desserts feature avocado (mostly vegan shakes, and pudding).
El Travieso Taqueria: Chef Hector Ruiz has converted his southwest Minneapolis restaurant Don Raúl into El Travieso Taqueria, which translates to “the Trouble Maker.” Stop in for tacos, quesadillas, burritos, wine and more (4953 Xerxes Av. S., Mpls., 612-922-9235, eltraviesotaqueria.com).
Riviera Maya Cantina & Restaurant: Inspired by the cuisine of Cancun, Riviera Maya Cantina & Restaurant has replaced another Mexican spot, Fiesta Cancun (7904 Main St., Maple Grove, 763-355-5340, rivieramayamn.com). Nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos, fajitas and more make up the extensive menu.
Bull & Finch Pub: An Irish gastropub has taken over the former Jake O’Connor’s space on Excelsior’s Water Street. At Bull & Finch Pub, Look for craft cocktails, beer and “pub classics with a modern twist,” such as fish and chips, burgers and mussels (200 Water St., Excelsior, 952-246-1030, thebullfinchpub.com).
Stockyards Tavern and Chophouse: Handhelds and burgers, meat and fish, ribs and pasta, breakfast and lots of celiac-friendly options are on the menu at Stockyards Tavern and Chophouse, a new dine-in and takeout restaurant in South St. Paul from Morrissey Hospitality (456 Concord Exchange S., South St. Paul, 651-350-7743, stockyardstc.com).
Fly Chix: Stadium Village has a new spot for chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders and mac and cheese bowls, called Fly Chix (309 SE. Oak St., Mpls., 612-331-3978, fly-chix.com). A second location, at 5011 Ewing Av. S., Mpls., is open for pickup and delivery only.
Now in residence
Breizh Crêperie: Crêpes and cider are a classic pairing in Brittany, France. That’s where chef Claire Corvaisier grew up and now her Breizh Crêperie has taken up residency at Minneapolis Cider Co. (701 SE. 9th St., Mpls., 612-886-1357, minneapoliscider.co). Try savory galettes made with traditional (and gluten-free) buckwheat batter ($6 to $14), such as Brie and honey, or sweet crêpes with wheat flour that go beyond Nutella and banana — and pair them all with a cider.
Union Hmong Kitchen: Chef Yia Vang has wrapped up his trailer residency at Sociable Cider Werks and moved indoors for the winter, taking over the kitchen at Minneapolis mainstay Republic (221 Cedar Av., Mpls., Mpls., 612-431-5285, unionkitchenmn.com). Look for Vang’s usual favorites, such as Hmong hot dish and sticky rice, plus spins on bar food like fish sauce-soaked chicken wings and the “Hilltribe” fried chicken sandwich. Dine-in and takeout available, as well as Vang’s Kamayan feast for parties of six to 10 in a private dining space.
New in ghost kitchens
Pork & Piccata: Sandwiches, plates, bowls and family-style meals are on the menu at Pork & Piccata, a pickup and delivery-only option from Broders’, operating from their restaurant Terzo (2221 W. 50th St., Mpls., 612-925-0330, porkandpiccata.com). Terzo’s porchetta is still available, along with the Italian American classic, piccata. Get yours with chicken, veal or walleye.
Toasty Buns: Kaskaid Hospitality has made room in its Crave restaurant kitchens for a delivery-only side project ]called Toasty Buns (toastybun.com). Order burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries, wings and flatbread pizzas.
Woodfire at Eastside: Jamie Malone weathered the early months of the pandemic by turning her downtown restaurant Eastside into La Pistola, a Spanish-style pop-up with ham, lobster and fries. That summery concept has now made way for Woodfire at Eastside (305 Washington Av. S., Mpls., 612-208-1638, woodfireateastside.com), with takeout pizza, fried chicken and icebox cake. Fans of La Pistola, fear not: one pie is named for the previous pop-up, with Spanish-style red sauce, picolat meatballs, olives and capers.
Even more restaurants opening soon
Petite León: Chef Jorge Guzman, formerly of Surly Brewing Co. and Solera, makes an anticipated return to Minneapolis after a two-year stint in La Crosse, Wis. He is one of the figures behind the Mexican- and Spanish-influenced Petite León, which has set an opening date of Oct. 30 for takeout to start, and monthly dine-in special events in the works. A second concept, Pollo Pollo, will have adobo-rubbed chicken al carbon for takeout and delivery (3800 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., petiteleonmpls.com).
Adam’s Soul To-Go: A new restaurant from the former chef and owner of Stillwater’s Caribbean Smokehouse, Adam’s Soul To-Go is soon joining the food court with local flair Potluck (Rosedale Center, 1595 Hwy. 36, Roseville, potluckmn.com). Adam Randall’s homestyle cooking includes his signature ribs, smoked chicken wings, pulled pork sandwich tostadas, and sides of collard greens, beans and rice, and cornbread.
High Pines Brewing Co.: The family-friendly taproom will soon to take over a former Joe’s Crab Shack (2704 Snelling Av. N., Roseville, highpinesbrewing.com) and will feature the handiwork of brewer Matt Faulkner. The Tipsy Steer is running the kitchen, offering “local, sassy brew food,” according to the brewery’s social media.
The Get Down Coffee Co.: Coffee is coming to a north Minneapolis barbershop. Houston White Men’s Room, in the Camden neighborhood, is expanding in late spring 2021, and in collaboration with Dogwood Coffee will install a cafe and coffee roasting facility called The Get Down Coffee Co. (1500 N. 44th Av., Mpls., getdowncoffee.com). The project is currently in the fundraising stage and nearing its $50,000 goal, which will help it become a multifaceted and diverse gathering space, a combination barbershop, retail store, coffee bar and cafe.
Staff writer Rick Nelson contributed to this report.