One of the most encouraging dining-out trends to hit the city of Minneapolis in recent years is about to get another big boost.

Following in the successful wake of Sea Salt in Minnehaha Park, Tin Fish at Lake Calhoun and Bread & Pickle at Lake Harriet, Doug Flicker, chef/co-owner of Piccolo (4300 Bryant Av. S., Mpls., Mpls., 612-827-8111, is opening a casual, warm-weather-only restaurant at Lake Nokomis. He's calling it Sandcastle, and it's going into what is now a dilapitated structure on the lake's north beach.

"It's a weird little black and white building that no one really notices," Flicker said with a laugh. But its profile will be raised next spring, following a green-minded renovation that will result in a 25-seat dining room and small -- emphasis on small -- kitchen.

"We're drawing up blueprints and figuring out what we can do," said Flicker. "It's going to require a little bit of magic."

Sandcastle bested two competing proposals last week at a neighborhood-based advisory panel of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The project isn't a done deal quite yet -- it requires a stamp of approval from several other layers of park board bureacracy, scheduled for September -- "but the park board said they go by the civilian board's recommendation," said Flicker.

As for the food, Flicker is promising a menu aimed at catering to both beachgoers and neighborhood residents. The spectrum ranges from cheese curds (sourced from Castle Rock Organic Farms in Osseo, Wis.) and a North Carolina-style barbecued pork shoulder sandwich to a sweet pea falafel wrap, ceviche and a hot dog topped with kimchi and a fried egg. Frozen bananas dipped in chocolate and pine nut brittle are one dessert idea, and expect to find beverages along the lines of agua frescas made with rhubarb or watermelon juice. Flicker is also hoping to secure a wine and beer license.

"It's a fantastic opportunity, and I'm super-excited," said Flicker. "I think we're going to start to see more of these things popping up in parks. Look at Sea Salt, everyone already knows it and loves it. [The park board] is learning that people will go to parks more often if they can find good food."

Crayfish, times two

The Bachelor Farmer (50 2nd Av. N., Mpls., 612-206-3920, is marking its first anniversary Saturday (5 to 10 p.m.) with a krftskiva (Swedish for "crayfish party"), featuring beer, aquavit, chilled crayfish with dill, meatballs and other fare, along with free live music.

Ikea (8000 Ikea Way, Bloomington, 952-858-8088, is going the all-you-can-eat route with a krftskiva on Aug. 17 (starting at 4 p.m.) that includes crayfish, meatballs, boiled new potatoes, salads and desserts. Cost is $9.99 for adults and $2.49 for ages 12 and under. Advance ticket purchase suggested.

Doughnut deal

To entice doughnut lovers into her terrific Seward neighborhood shop, Donut Cooperative (2929 E. 25th St., Mpls., 612-516-3626) owner Dawn Otwell is offering a don't-miss deal through Sunday: All raised doughnuts -- conventional, and vegan -- are a dollar a pop, down from their $2-$2.50 price.


Two classic Minneapolis restaurants lost loved ones this week. Our sympathies to the family, friends, colleagues and customers at Murray's and Jax Cafe, following the deaths of Pat Murray and Jack Kozlak.