Tender Lovin' Chix is shifting into park for its new full-time home on Lyndale Avenue. The food truck from Marques (Ques) Johnson and Billy Tserenbat of Billy Sushi will set up a full restaurant at 2700 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls. The former home of Fire & Ice Alehouse will undergo a light remodeling with a target date of reopening next year.
It's a return to the neighborhood, of sorts. Tender Lovin' Chix began as Chix, a walk-up window founded by Johnson and others who have since moved on from the business. Johnson then joined forces with Tserenbat, who began his career with a food truck, to launch the mobile operation earlier this year.
In addition to the fried chicken and the Tokyo fried rice that TLC serves, the new space will allow room for a full bar. Follow the progress on Instagram at instagram.com/tender_lovin_chix.
Sean Sherman honored with Julia Child Award
What will groundbreaking Indigenous chef and activist Sean Sherman do with the $50,000 grant he received from the Julia Child Foundation? Give it away.
Throughout his moving acceptance speech at last week's Minneapolis gala, Sherman spoke about the difficult paths Indigenous people have faced — and are still facing in countries including Brazil and Ukraine. It seems only right, he said, to give the money to the people who are doing the work on the ground, and announced he'll donate the money to José Andrés' World Central Kitchen. (Andrés is a past Julia Child Award recipient.)
Sherman is the founder of NATIFS (North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems), the nonprofit that now operates Owamni. The award, in its ninth year, honored the chef for his activism and advocacy in helping reclaim and celebrate Indigenous communities and culinary traditions around the world.
The gala, emceed by Andrew Zimmern, was held outside Washington, D.C., for the first time, and the menu of Indigenous food was prepared by Owamni chef Lee Garman. Speakers included former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Native chef Elena Terry and Toni Tipton-Martin, now editor-in-chief of Cook's Country and last year's recipient of the Julia Child Award.
Sushi and fun back on Grand Avenue
This week marks the return of Saji-Ya and Emmett's Public House to St. Paul's Grand Avenue. Saji-Ya is a pioneering Japanese restaurant; Emmett's a casual Irish pub with an extensive whiskey list. Both closed in late 2021, when the building they occupied was torn down to make way for a mixed-use development including apartments. Now both have returned and are open for business at 695 Grand Av., beginning Nov. 1.
Saji-Ya owner Peter Kenefick referred on social media to the restaurant's new era as a "revitalization." He said, "We have retained our executive chef, Noe Frausto, who has earned his reputation as one of the best, and we are honored to have him in our kitchens and as a master of his craft behind the Sushi Bar."
No reservations are available just yet; the restaurants will start with walk-ins only.
Fox and Pantry has expanded
The Fox and Pantry, the sweet coffee shop, cocktail spot and classroom space in Plymouth, has always been a little cozy. Starting this week, the shop is debuting its expanded space, which doubles its capacity. Owner Kym Joyles had been eyeing the location next door with big thoughts about what added square footage might mean for her business. Now that dream is a reality, with the official unveiling planned for Nov. 1. The Fox and Pantry is at 15725 37th Av. N., Plymouth, thefoxandpantry.com.
Pickleball with a martini? Check!
Smash Park opens its first Minnesota location on Nov. 8 at 1721 W. County Road C in Roseville. On site will be six pickleball courts, duckpin bowling, interactive-screen ax throwing, and a full bar and kitchen. Food is billed as "scratch-driven," which is less itchy than it sounds. Leading the menu are pickle balls — like pickle dip and cheese curds smashed into one. Plus, empanadas, a smoked meat platter, burgers, salads, a big "a$$" nacho and more. Cocktails include a lineup of martinis and a whole section of giant cocktail "social bowls," built for sharing with a crew.
Smash Park's first location opened in West Des Moines in 2018. The company is in growth mode with another location in Iowa and one coming soon to Nebraska. The complex also hosts big parties, for those still looking to plan a big holiday gathering. Find all the details at smashpark.com/roseville.
Get a free peek at Four Seasons' Nordic Village
Nordic Village returns to the fourth-floor patio at the Four Seasons in downtown Minneapolis for a second year. The exclusive rooftop dining experience has been expanded, with more custom-made wood cabins that are heated and outfitted with cozy blankets. Once tucked inside, you'll find a four-course menu prepared by the hotel's chef.
Want to take a look? There's a free open house Nov. 4 from noon to 4 p.m. and the public is invited to tour the space, graze on snacks, shop the Nordic Village Market, or book a guided sauna experience with Cedar and Stone saunas. While the open house is free, tickets for the experience start at $165 per person. Find them on Tock. Nordic Village is open Nov. 1 through March 31.