After 37 years of serving dolmades, skordalia, spanakopita and shish kebab, It's Greek to Me (626 W. Lake St., Mpls.) quietly closed its doors on Sunday.
The restaurant has anchored the northeast corner of Lake Street and Lyndale Avenue in south Minneapolis since 1982. It began as a storefront partnership between brothers Argyrios and Alkis Arambagjis, immigrants from Salonika, Greece, and their spouses.
"Think of it as your little Greek corner cafe, a ma and pa joint, except in this case It's Greek to Me is owned by two brothers," wrote Minneapolis Tribune critic Karin Winegar in her first take on the restaurant, shortly after it opened.
Expansions took place over the years, as adjacent spaces became available (including the addition of one of the city's more charming off-the-sidewalk patios), and the restaurant's success certainly helped reverse the fortunes of what had been a troubled commercial district.
In 2016, the restaurant changed hands, and spouses Nick and Athena Karos took over.
"We look forward to maintaining our efforts to provide you with authentic modern Mediterranean Greek cuisine, catering, and our merchandise at a new location, to be announced in the near future," reads an announcement on the restaurant's website.
At the megamall
Another TV food star is coming to the Mall of America.
Following brick-mortar iterations of "Wahlburgers" and "Cake Boss" (in the form of Carlo's Bakery), Food Network behemoth Guy Fieri plans to open an outlet of his Chicken Guy mini-chain at the Bloomington mall in early 2020.
"As one of the top tourist attractions in the country, we are thrilled to open our next Chicken Guy at Mall of America," said Chicken Guy co-founder Robert Earl, in a statement. "It is a city within a city, bringing an extensive range of food, shopping and entertainment to visitors from across the globe. We are confident that Chicken Guy will be a perfect addition to the mall."
The menu focuses on freshly prepared chicken tenders, which follow a brining formula that calls upon lemon juice, buttermilk, pickle brine and herbs. The chicken is pounded and breaded, and then fried or grilled.
The tenders are served in sandwiches (where will it land in the recent Popeyes vs. Chick-fil-A smackdown?), skewers and salad bowls, and paired with a selection of nearly two dozen sauces, from "Nashville Honey Hot" to curry mayonnaise.
Side dishes include seasoned fries, mac-and-cheese, fried pickles and coleslaw, and the dessert menu features vanilla soft serve ice cream topped with Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Apple Jacks breakfast cereals.
The restaurant will be located at Culinary on North, the mall's (newish) third-level food court, adjacent to Piada Italian Street Food.
Chicken Guy debuted at a Walt Disney World Resort in 2018. Two more outlets opened last month, at a Washington, D.C., football stadium and a Miami shopping mall.
Meanwhile, in Uptown
The tortilla-centric project now under construction in the former home of Lucia's Restaurant (1432 W. 31st St., Mpls.) finally has a name: Sooki & Mimi. It's an homage to two influential figures in chef/co-owner Ann Kim's life: her maternal Korean grandmother Sook-Young Kim or "Sooki," and her American grandmother figure Thelma Lange, aka "Mimi." Another detail: The project is going to include a basement bar.
Octo Fishbar (289 E. 5th St., St. Paul, 651-202-3409, octostp.com) will be hosting a five-course, sake-fueled dinner on Sept. 18. Starting at 6 p.m., chef Tim McKee will be joined by Shige Furukawa (Kaiseki Furukawa and Kado No Mise), Jim Christiansen (formerly of Heyday), Danny Del Prado (Martina and Colita), and Adrienne Odom (Salty Tart). Sake Story Imports of Seattle will be providing the artisanal sake pairings. Tickets are $125 (plus tax and gratuity) and are available at eventbrite.com.
Opening in Edina
On Sept. 27, the retailer formerly known as Restoration Hardware is launching its new three-story store and rooftop restaurant. RH Minneapolis, the Gallery in Edina is located in the southwest corner of the Southdale shopping center parking lot, at 69th Street and France Avenue S.