One of Minneapolis' best patios will be open once again at the end of the month. Chef Ann Ahmed has announced that Gai Noi, her anticipated new restaurant across from Loring Park, will open May 23.
The restaurant (1610 Harmon Place, Mpls., gainoimpls.com) is a celebration of her love of Laos, where Ahmed and her family are from. The name stems from khao gai noi, "a type of short grain glutinous rice emblematic of the northern Xieng Khouang regions of Laos," reads the website.
Dishes will include Luang Prabang-style papaya salad, a spicy cool version of the dish that's uniquely prepared with long ribbons of green papaya, and tofu, beef or chicken laab.
The casual restaurant — no reservations necessary — will be open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Drinks are from Nick Kosevich, who has sprinkled his creative cocktail know-how around town at places such as Francis Burger Joint and Mr. Paul's Supper Club and Earl Giles, both of which he is part owner.
Same name and location, different concept
If you're a fan of the Nordic-Japanese cuisine at Rök Eatery, better get there quick. Owner Travis Wycislak said the restaurant (882 W. 7th St., St. Paul, rokeatery.com) will be changing concepts and will become a casual bar featuring locally sourced tacos and live music starting May 17. Continually rising food costs and the uncertainty around its location (Schmidt brewery's rathskeller building) being for sale are among the reasons cited for the change. The current menu is available through May 13.
Northeast has a new diner
Breakfast is back in Northeast at the new Relish (700 Central Av. NE., Mpls., relishmpls.com), now open in the former Bad Waitress space. The diner and coffee shop, from the owners of the Coffee Shop Northeast, have refreshed the interior and are open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
On the menu are early-bird classics such as a biscuit breakfast sandwich ($8) and a cereal selection. The lunch and later menu sports a chopped cheese ($14) that has our attention and a sweet-and-salty classic spinach and Gorgonzola salad ($18). There's also a $2 relish tray, which seems only right with a name like that.
Former Modern Cafe co-owner opens Northeast bar
Dutch Bar is now open and serving inside what was once an office space wedged between Fair State Brewing Cooperative and Aki's Bread (2512 Central Av. NE., Mpls., dutchbarnempls.com). Former Modern Cafe co-owner Patty Grell and her son, Marco, are behind the project.
The small menu features a couple of sandwiches like a ham and Brie ($15) or sloppy joes ($14), while snacks include mushroom lentil duxelles ($9) and kettle chips with pimento cheese ($9). There's also a happy hour menu that pours well drinks and select wines like Les Allies Blanc de Blanc brut for $6 and cans of Schlitz for $4.
Dutch Bar is open Wednesday through Saturday from 3 p.m. to "late-ish."
Important note for Modern fans: There will never, ever be pot roast.
More doughnuts are never a bad thing
More vending machines are popping up around town from the Donut Trap. Now, in addition to being able to get your Beyoncé-inspired square fried treats outside Can Can Wonderland and at Rosedale Center, you can find them at Indeed Brewing (711 15th Av. NE., Mpls.) and on Concourse G at MSP airport.