It's only Monday, and it's already a busy week in the restaurant world.
First, the closings. Stewart and Heidi Woodman have pulled the plug on year-old Birdhouse (pictured, above), their version of a casual, natural foods-focused diner in Uptown Minneapolis.
"It's with heavy hearts that we share that Birdhouse restaurant will close today," said Stewart in an email. "We thank all of our customers who dined with us there over the past year. Unfortunately foot traffic has not been steady enough to keep our doors open. Heidi’s continues to thrive, and we look forward to seeing you and serving you there."
Another closure, set for June 24th, was announced today: Biella (pictured, above) in downtown Excelsior is calling it quits, citing rising expenses and increased regulations.
"After months of working to try to move Biella to the corner I have decided to close after a great 10-year run," said owner Mark Nazigian in a statement. "Please come by for a last dinner or two as I would love to see everyone before we close."
On the debuts side of the spectrum, there's Terzo, which is quietly opening on Wednesday at 5 p.m. ("I guess we can't keep it quiet," said owner Molly Broder with a laugh) in the space that was most recently Pierre's Bistro.
It’s a fitting name. Terzo is Italian for third, and the wine bar (which is pouring 50 Italian wines by the glass, and tapping 10 beers) is the third business at Broderdale (a.k.a. the 50th-and-Penn intersection in south Minneapolis), following in the footsteps of Broders' Cucina Italiana and Broders' Pasta Bar (pictured, above), all the work of the enterprising Broder clan.
“It’s a total family affair,” said Molly Broder, and she’s not exaggerating; all three of her sons have immersed themselves in the project. “Charlie has developed an amazing wine list — we have been stockpiling wine for a while to get ready for this — and the menu that Thomas and Danny have developed is a great expression of the next generation of Broders’ food.”
Speaking of opening dates, another one was announced today: Marin Restaurant & Bar, going into the former D'Amico Kitchen space in the Le Meridien Chambers hotel (pictured, above) in downtown Minneapolis, will begin service on June 23. The restaurant -- which features one of downtown's great patios -- is the work of Mill Valley Kitchen owner Craig Bentdahl and chef Mike Rakun. Look for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
The change means a new staff and a new menu, including an amusingly over-the-top burger that skips the cheese in favor of deep-fried cheese curds. "It's phenomenal," said Green Mill head honcho Paul Dzubnar. "It's a heart attack, so make sure you take your blood thinner before you eat one."
Dzubnar said that he's going to to keep the Galaxy open year-round. "We'll try, anyway," he said. "If we can't keep it open all winter, we'll do takeout and delivery."
The drive-in's ownership remains the same: Steve Schussler of Schussler Creative. "I've always been the creator of things, but I'm not fond of running things on a day-to-day basis," he said. "We needed to find someone who is better at doing that, and we did."
Finally, at Bar La Grassa in the North Loop neighborhood in Minneapolis, chef Erik Sather -- who has been a part of the team at the four-star restaurant since it opened in the fall of 2009 -- is making a career change. Starting June 24th, he's going to become a familiar face to Seward Co-op shoppers as the store's meat and seafood manager.
"He and his wife are expecting a baby and feel that a Monday-through-Friday day job will be more conducive to starting a family," said BLG chef/co-owner Isaac Becker. "Nancy [St. Pierre, Becker's spouse and business partner] and I will miss him dearly, along with the entire staff that loves and respects him. He opened Bar La Grassa with us and is responsible for a lot of the success that restaurant has enjoyed over the years."
Sather is being replaced by longtime sous chef Aaron Slavicek.