Tim McKee, one of the Twin Cities' most influential chefs, is hitting the pop-up circuit.
From his James Beard Award for Best Chef Midwest to the long-running pinnacle of fine dining La Belle Vie, to the sustainable seafood at Sea Change to the Spanish flavors of Solera in downtown Minneapolis — not to mention countless other projects and mentorships — McKee has influenced both diners and a generation of chefs who now lead some of the most exciting restaurants in town. That's why the latest pop-up, in what is fast becoming the summer of pop-ups, is such a big deal.
McKee is partnering with Travail Kitchen & Amusements for a special ticketed event in the restaurant's Basement Bar through August. The idea came from a beer and conversation he had with Mike Brown, one of Travail's chef/owners. The menu will be inspired by Txikiteo (pronounced chee-kee-tay-o), a tapas crawl in San Sebastian, Spain.
Tickets must be purchased in advance and start at $60 per person; add-ons include cocktail flights, oysters, wagyu steak and more. Reservations are available Thursdays-Saturdays through mid-August. Travail is at 4134 Hubbard Av. N., Robbinsdale; buy tickets at travailkitchen.com.
Vinai teams up with Steady Pour
Chef Yia Vang's Vinai, the current front-runner for longest-running most anticipated restaurant, is partnering with bar and event space Steady Pour for a summer residency. Each five-course dinner begins with a small appetizer bite, progresses through noodles into a heavier protein and ends with dessert. Tickets are $120 per person and are available for June 23-25, July 7-9 and July 14-16.
Vinai has been on a journey to fully open since plans were first announced pre-pandemic. Since then there has been a 2020 Kickstarter campaign, an announced location at 1717 NE. 2nd St. in Minneapolis, several mobile feasts, takeout meals and pop-ups. Plus, this year, Vang was nominated for a James Beard Award.
In addition to Vinai, Vang also operates Union Hmong Kitchen out of Graze Provisions + Libations food hall in Minneapolis' North Loop, hosts TPT's digital show "Relish," and recently launched the new podcast "Hmonglish."
Chef Adam Vickerman is bringing back Tosca
Pasta fans, rejoice — chef Adam Vickerman is back where it all began and is reigniting the flame inside Tosca at its original Linden Hills location (3415 W. 44th St., Mpls.). Trattoria Tosca was a well-received Italian restaurant from Harvey McLain, who also owns Turtle Bread, and was overseen by an array of chefs, including Vickerman, who would become well-known in the Twin Cities food scene.
The restaurant, which closed in 2016, was part of a revolution for that restaurant group, which also included Levain and Cafe Levain, where Vickerman also cooked. Now, the chef announced via social media that the first restaurant he opened is making a comeback with service five nights a week. Look for a midsummer opening.
Food Network star Molly Yeh opening restaurant in East Grand Forks
Fall is a good time for a road trip. That's when blogger, author and television star Molly Yeh will open Bernie's in East Grand Forks, Minn. The host of Food Network's "Girl Meets Farm," along with her husband, Nick Hagen, have taken over the former Sickie's (121 Demers Av. E.). Yeh promises a menu of Midwest traditions, Scandinavian flavors, local ingredients and really good bread.
Yeh is a Juilliard graduate who rose to prominence with her blog My Name Is Yeh, about moving from Brooklyn to a farm on the North Dakota-Minnesota border. She's also the author of "Molly on the Range" and the forthcoming "Home Is Where the Eggs Are."
Follow the restaurant's progress on Instagram (instagram.com/berniesegf).
Funky Grits owner bringing fried chicken to Minneapolis
Jared Brewington will open Official Fried Chicken at 4010 E. 46th St. in Minneapolis. The simple menu will focus on Broasted fried chicken, made in a proprietary pressure cooker. The menu is incredibly focused, with just three kinds of fried chicken and French fries.
This is a return to both the city and fried chicken for Brewington, founder of the now-shuttered Funky Grits. He also ran a stand inside North Loop Galley food hall when it first opened, serving — what else — fried chicken. But this time there's a Broaster. The restaurant is expected to open soon; get updates at officialfriedchicken.com.
Hot Indian team branches out to birria tacos
Bussin' Birria Tacos is now open inside the Culinary North food court inside the Mall of America. Amol Dixit and chef Janene Holig opened the stand in place of Hot Indian, their food truck and restaurant chain.
The tacos are made on corn tortillas sourced from Lake Street's La Poblanita. The tacos are made with beef, chicken and a vegan option from the Herbivorous Butcher.
Oakdale's Burrow opening this weekend
A second location of the Burrow is opening in Oakdale this weekend with grand opening festivities June 10 from 3-11 p.m. and June 11 from 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
The gaming destination features go-karts, mini golf, ax throwing, sports simulators, arcade games and a host of other activities as well as live entertainment. On the food side, expect smoked meats, barbecue, pizzas, burgers, hush puppies and curds; drinks include craft cocktails, slushies and 32 local beers on tap.
Sociable Cider Werks looking for next food truck sensation
When Sociable Cider Werks in northeast Minneapolis bought a food trailer in 2019, it wanted not only to provide a steady food option for its customers, but also to provide opportunities for local chefs and entrepreneurs.
So far, resident chefs have included Ian Gray with the Curious Goat, Sammy McDowell's Sammy's Avenue Eatery, Yia Vang's Union Hmong Kitchen and now Francis, a plant-based burger joint. Who will be next?
Those with the initiative and ideas should apply at sociablecider.com/resident-kitchen by June 30. The cider house hopes to have a partner selected by the end of July, with a September start date. Sociable Cider Werks is at 1500 NE. Fillmore St., Mpls.