The long wait for Restaurant Alma’s anticipated project is nearly over and the first two parts of southeast Minneapolis remake will open to the public over the course of the next ten days.

On Wednesday, we got a preview of the new Cafe Alma (which opens Friday) and the quaint Alma Hotel (which opens Nov. 18) as the centerpiece – the much-heralded Restaurant Alma – undergoes final renovations.

Cafe Alma, decked out in cobalt, wood and cream, gracefully toes the line between a coffee shop and a wine bar. To the left of the entrance to the main restaurant, the new space welcomes patrons with wall-length windows offering a peek inside. A long, curved, gold-top bar topped with a La Marzocco espresso machine and a case of fresh pastries. Wine and aperitif bottles line the shelves behind the bartop. Bar stools and window perches follow the bar to a back area where wooden booths  look out into an open kitchen. There are also a pair of rooms that seat 20 people apiece – or can be connected for a 40-person party – tucked into the building’s rear.

On Wednesday, the folks from Bittercube were on hand, passing out sparkling wine and mixing up sample cocktails – including their “starry night,” their take on a French 75 but made smoky in appearance with a sprinkle of charcoal dust. The Still Got It, meanwhile, is a butternut squash inspired daiquiri, combining rum, simple syrup and a foam, all infused with the autumn gourd.  

There will be two separate menus: one for day noshing -- breakfast confections, fresh fruit and vegetable juices as well as sandwiches (think fried egg tartines with smoked whitefish and griddled brioche with bourbon poached pears, pork belly and marscapone) --- and the other featuring more substantial dinner offerings. The evening lineup will include several grain and pasta dishes such as the rigatoni with spicy pork ragu and a hominy corn cake with smoked lamb as well as larger plates like the buttermilk fried quail and the sirloin steak with chimichurri. 

On tap will be a handful of local brews as well as a couple of cocktails and wines, including a prosecco. There is a larger poured wine selection by the glass.

Upstairs, a seven-room hotel galvanizes Scandanavian minimalism in the building’s stunning space marked by exposed brick, cream honeycomb tile and white rafter ceilings. 

The cafe hours are Sunday-Thursday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 7 am. to midnight.

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