Noa is betting on downtown Minneapolis.
The new restaurant from Chicago-based Infuse Hospitality (77 S. 7th St., Mpls, 612-886-2194, noaminneapolis.com) is opening for lunch Jan. 18 in the IDS Center with the steadfast Midwestern belief that "if you build it, they will come."
The "they" in question are the downtown workers who, despite the current wave of COVID-19, are slowly finding their way back into office life. And Noa, which has moved into the street-level location formerly occupied by Mission American Kitchen and Aquavit, is ready for them.
"We believe in downtown Minneapolis and we are proud to be a part of it," said Steve Pelissero, director of operations for Infuse Hospitality. General manager Josh Hochstatter, last seen at Fig & Farro in Uptown Minneapolis, will oversee hospitality; chef Greg Malisko will run the kitchen.
The interior has been given a considerable refresh with a decor that leans into open spaces and coastal shades of blue with lots of plants, from the faux ones on trellises hanging over dining areas to the live ones against a large built-in bookcase.
The IDS atrium provides an indoor patio space that overlooks the activity on Crystal Court, while inside there are several spaces built for after-work happy hours or meetings with privacy and audiovisual capabilities.
The menu meanders around casual crowd favorites that are made a bit lighter, like appetizers of hummus with roasted veggies ($13) or Red Table Meat charcuterie ($16) with fresh honeycomb and Wisconsin cheddar. Entrees include freshly made sushi ($11-$14) and steak with a savory miso glaze and sweet potato mash ($26). There are plenty of options for vegetarians, pescatarians, carnivores and those eating gluten-free.
The cocktail program boasts both cocktails ($15) and mocktails ($10). And the ice bar that Mission used as a hallmark of its cocktail program remains, allowing the bar staff to set down drinks and keep them chilly.
Noa will start with lunch service as they wait for the final go-ahead with their liquor license and to staff up. In February, the plan is to extend hours to include happy hour and dinner.
Infuse Hospitality also owns Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea, which has a location in the North Loop, and its CEO Michael Schultz has connection to the Twin Cities through his wife, Sari, a Plymouth native. The restaurant shares a name with their daughter, which means "movement" or "motion," in Hebrew.