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The news landed in email boxes last week, but quickly spread to neighborhood groups and eventually the larger public: i.e. Italian Eatery and its sibling restaurant Un Dito were closing. There were so many unanswered questions, namely, why would anyone choose to close a beloved neighborhood restaurant that was, by all outward measures, a success?

"It's nothing bad," Eric Carrara, who co-owns the restaurant with his spouse, Vanessa, said by phone Friday. "When we started, i.e. 13 years ago, we had a vision. It was to have an impact on the neighborhood, doing it our way."

The decision to close was several factors, but the Carraras came to the conclusion that they are most proud of what they've built, and to protect that, they wanted to go out on top. "When we first opened, we thought the full-service restaurant would be the driving engine behind other projects." That hasn't been the case, he said. There are so many moving parts to their businesses that it became an engine that requires a giant effort to tend.

"Plus, looking down the road, at the restaurant horizon, things are changing. We didn't want to have to change what we do to balance with that," Carrara said. Instead of implementing service fees, cutting staff or raising prices, they decided to bow out and give everyone time to say goodbye.

The final day of service hasn't been announced because, he said, they'll know once the staff has employment and plans in place. "We're going to keep going until we know everyone who can't stay with the company has found another path. And we want to give the neighborhood a chance to say goodbye."

The final day will likely be in late May or June. After that, a few of the pastas will make their way over to the couple's other small restaurant, St. Paul's Due, where pantry items will be available for purchase. The building (4724 Cedar Av. S., Mpls., will become available; Carrara said they own the property and have zero interest in selling to developers for another nondescript condo complex.

"It might be another restaurant someday, but we don't know."

On the menu at the new Starling: butter chicken tacos.
On the menu at the new Starling: butter chicken tacos.

Jester Concepts' Edina restaurant opens May 1

Starling, the newest restaurant from the group that brought us Borough, Parlour, P.S. Steak and the revived Butcher & the Boar (among others), will open its first suburban restaurant May 1. Located at 4917 Eden Av. in Edina, where the Perkins used to sit, the Shea-designed room has a sleek, modern feel.

Culinary director Wyatt Evans borrowed inspiration from around the world and landed on dishes like green curry walleye, butter chicken tacos, yakisoba and more. Beverage director Mike Liay took similarly expansive inspiration for his cocktails, which includes a Vietnamese coffee martini that's ready to one-up the standard espresso variety. There's also a galanga-laced Paloma and a Harissa margarita.

Starling will be open daily for lunch and dinner, with weekend brunch starting at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Get all the details at

Black Duck coming to Northeast

In the fall of 2019, chef Jason Sawicki (Lyn 65, Popol Vuh) bought a building in northeast Minneapolis with plans of opening his dream restaurant. Then reality (that whole pandemic thing) hip-checked him into survival mode, which gave us Fare Game food truck. But even that became a tumultuous run with the city of Minneapolis' enforcement of an ordinance prohibiting food trucks' use of external smokers.

Which is all to say, we have been eagerly awaiting his next move and we finally have it. Black Duck Spirits and Hearth will open at 2900 NE. Johnson St. this summer.

The eclectic menu will include smoked fare and dishes that combine his experience with Mexican cuisine and Polish heritage. Construction is underway, and someone should probably knock wood that the road to the finish line is going to be swift and smooth so we can finally sample some of these dishes. Follow the adventure at

Owamni opens seasonal stand with drinks and snacks

Wakpa Bar opens May 1 below Owamni with a menu of handhelds built for enjoying the summer near the falls. "Wakpa" is the Dakota word for river, and is a pop-up from the team behind the award-winning Indigenous restaurant from chef/owner/humanitarian Sean Sherman.

On the menu are pre-colonial picnic foods like bison birria tacos, bean dip with smoked fish, smoked turkey legs, popcorn and crickets and more — all served takeout style. Prices range from $6 to $18 for elk skewers. The new stand replaces the Tatanka food truck.

For those looking to enjoy that gorgeous terrace upstairs at Owamni, remember it's for walk-ins only. So, it's a first come, first served way to enjoy the restaurant (420 S. 1st St., Mpls.,

Duluth's Best is even the best in Superior

Duluth's Best Bread continues its slow-proofing domination with a third outpost. The bakery has crossed state lines into Superior (1418 Tower Av.), where the cinnamon rolls, sourdough and danishes will all be ready starting May 28, Tue.-Sun. from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"We tested the waters with a little pop-up this March," said Robert Lillegard, who co-owns the bakery with his brother. The response was overwhelming.

The original Duluth's Best Bread opened in 2015 in a tiny storefront in Lincoln Park before expanding to a downtown location on Superior Street in 2022. The positive response sealed the deal that the expansion timing was right.

Despite not being located in the city proper, the bakery name remains the same, even in Souptown. "It's a more defensible claim," said co-owner Michael Lillegard. "We don't have to prove we're the best bread in Superior, too, just in Duluth."

The new location is the former home of Twisted Pastries, which closed last summer.

The cookie that never sleeps heads to Duluth

In other sweet Duluth news, Insomnia Cookies just opened near UMD at 1004 Woodland Av. This is the first outpost in the city, and the fifth in Minnesota. The chain is known for serving and delivering late-night sweets, and this outpost is no exception. The bakery is open until 1 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and until 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Delivery is available, and flavors include snickerdoodle, chocolate chunk, confetti and more. Its other locations are in Dinkytown, St. Paul, St. Cloud and Mankato.

More independently owned coffee shops brewing

Corner Coffee has opened its fifth location in the former Coconut Whisk spot at 905 Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. The first Coffee Corner opened back in 2007, and now there are locations in Northeast, Camden, Uptown and the North Loop. The shop's menu includes coffee drinks, beans and limited snacks. You can order ahead online, too, at