New Northeast face

There’s a new chef at the helm of the Modern Cafe (337 13th Av. NE., Mpls., www.moderncafeminneapolis. com). He’s Taelyn Lang, who had been cooking at the Bachelor Farmer.

“It turns out that I’m not as good as I think I am, so I fired myself,” co-owner Jim Grell said with a laugh. Grell had been running the Modern’s kitchen since chef Phillip Becht departed nearly 2½ years ago.

“Taelyn is already changing the whole culture of our kitchen. It makes me jealous that I’m not a young cook, learning from him. These young cooks are all so talented.”

Lang has already produced a new menu in the restaurant’s contemporary diner-style. Yes, the signature pot roast remains, slightly tweaked.

“We’re now using grass-fed beef from Peterson Limousin Farms [in Osceola, Wis.], and it’s crazy-good, better than ever,” Grell said.

In other Modern news, Grell said he’s returning to plans he first flirted with several years ago. Come spring, look for an expanded kitchen, new restrooms and a patio.


On the horizon

Mac’s Fish/Chips/Strips (1330 W. Larpenteur Av., St. Paul, www. is opening a second location (and serving beer and wine) at 612 W. 54th St. (at Lyndale Av. S.) in south Minneapolis.

Watch for the happening-soon opening of the Glen Lake Cafe (14725 Excelsior Blvd., Minnetonka) from the folks at the 318 Cafe in Excelsior, with plans to serve casual breakfasts, lunches and dinners.


Campus newcomers

When the University of Minnesota’s 48,000 or so students returned to campus earlier this month, they found several new dining options. One Two Three Sushi (318 14th Av. SE., Mpls., has expanded its quick-service format into Dinkytown, with more legroom than the proto-chain’s original IDS Crystal Court location (a second downtown location is headed into the skyway level at 50 S. 10th St.).

Around the corner, Baldy’s BBQ (1501 University Av. SE., Mpls., has settled into the landmark Dinkydome, with a menu not unlike its Lakeville and Farmington outlets.

Haiku Japanese Bistro (620 Washington Av. SE., Mpls., www.haiku is replicating the sushi-hibachi format it practices in Mendota Heights into Stadium Village; the restaurant and bar is set to debut this week.

Next door, Abdul’s Afandy (614 Washington Av. SE., Mpls.) looks as if it’s set to open soon. Longtime dinners with an affection for affordable, uncomplicated Middle Eastern fare will remember owner Mohammad Abdul Ahmad’s restaurant of the same name, a 1980s staple on Nicollet Avenue’s pre-Eat Street days.