A new spin on restaurants

When Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge moved from its original location to flashier riverside digs (1900 Marshall St. NE., Mpls., www.psychosuzis.com) two years ago, owner Leslie Bock retained ownership of her restaurant/bar's original location. Now Bock is proposing to convert that space — a former drive-in at 2519 Marshall Av. NE. — into another thematic property she's calling Betty Danger's Country Club.

"It's going to look like a 1950s country club," said project designer Jim Smart of Smart Associates of Minneapolis. Picture a dining room serving what Smart describes as "Minne-Mex" fare, a split-level bar and a covered patio with a taco-and-beer hut. The real talker is a slow-moving, 60-foot, Italian-made Ferris wheel ("or a 'vertical revolving patio,' " said Smart with a laugh), with gondolas designed to accommodate eating, drinking and view-taking.

"You'll get your beer and your taco, you'll queue up and then you'll be able to take in the beautiful new Lowry Avenue Bridge and downtown Minneapolis," said Smart. "It's going to be quite spectacular."

The project was approved by the Minneapolis Planning Commission earlier this week, and goes before the City Council later this month. If all goes as planned, the restaurant and bar could be open by the end of the year, with the Ferris wheel debuting next spring.

More good food headed to Lowertown

The owners of the Strip Club Meat & Fish on St. Paul's East Side — Tim Niver and J.D. Fratzke — plan to open a new restaurant as part of the retail development in the apartment complex called the Lofts at Farmers Market. "We're dying to talk but can't right now," said Niver. "My practical side says to wait until after we sign the lease." He did note that Fratzke will be at the helm cooking while Niver will continue as a management partner.

"We're looking forward to being by the farmers market. It's very exciting looking ahead at it," said Niver. "We just want to cook and feed people."

Best of the best

The Twin Cities area is well represented in the just-announced list from Bon Appetit magazine of the nation's 50 Best New Restaurants. Borough (730 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-354-3135, boroughmpls.com) and World Street Kitchen (2743 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., 612-424-8855, eatwsk.com) made the big list, though not the final cut for its 10 Best New Restaurants. To see the 48 other contenders (and the top 10), check out the magazine site at bonappetit.com. The list was compiled by Andrew Knowlton, the magazine's restaurant and drinks editor.

'Grand Forks' debuts

Marilyn Hagerty's book hits bookstores in two weeks (the end of August). The 86-year-old food critic from Grand Forks, N.D., whose review of the Olive Garden went viral in 2012 and captured the attention of Anthony Bourdain, has compiled more than 100 restaurant reviews that reflect the changing tastes of diners.

Bourdain published the book under his own imprint at Ecco Books. He calls the book "a history of American dining — in the vast spaces between the jaded palates and professional snarkologists of the privileged coasts — as told by one hardworking small-city journalist," according to the press release. The list price is $14.99; $9.78 on Kindle.

Or you can read Hagerty's reviews in "Best of the Eatbeat," an e-book that the Grand Forks Herald produced after her review went viral (99 cents, Kindle). She has also written "Echoes: A Selection of Stories and Columns," published in 1994.

After Hagerty's review went viral — and she went to hobnob in New York City — she received the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Media.

LEE SVITAK DEAN, rick nelson