There are plenty of new restaurants to look forward to in 2018.
The team at Lyn 65 — headed by chef José Alarcon — is readying upscale Popol Vuh and honky-tonk Centro. The two concepts will share space in a rebuilt 100-year-old building in northeast Minneapolis, with a focus on Mexican fare (from a wood-burning grill) and mezcal. Look for an early January opening.
Another wood-fired operation, this time from Thomas Boemer and Nick Rancone of Corner Table and Revival, will headline Keg and Case Market, now under construction in the former Schmidt Brewery complex in St. Paul. The exciting food hall project will also include a Five Watt Coffee, Gazta & Enhancements (a cheese bar from the folks behind O’Cheeze), Clutch Brewing Co., the first scoop shop for Sweet Science Ice Cream, and others, but previously announced Hola Arepa has bowed out.
As a part of its major renovation, Rosedale is also getting into the food hall act. A New York City-based venture is converting a former Borders bookstore into the country’s first iteration of Craveable Market. The second-floor space will feature a wide range of options, from Mexican street food and dishes inspired by New York City’s Chinatown, to a bar pouring a wide variety of whiskeys. A fall opening is planned.
Another food hall, Malcolm Yards Market, is slated to open this fall in Minneapolis’ Prospect Park neighborhood. The project will be anchored by Du Nord Craft Spirits and is the work of developers John and Patricia Wall.
Dark spaces won’t stay dark for long. On Dec. 22, the former Victor’s on Water in Excelsior will reopen as Italian-focused Red Sauce Rebellion, the work of Eli Wollenzien and Deacon Eells of nearby Coalition. The former Obento-Ya in southeast Minneapolis is on its way to becoming the second outpost of Ramen Kazama, and chef David Fhima will take over the historic Forum Cafeteria space in downtown Minneapolis with Bistro 373. Also in City Center: Prime Six is going into the empty Rosa Mexicano space.
What had been Parella (and, before that, Primebar, Il Gatto and Figlio) will become vegetarian Fig + Farro later this winter. Cassidy Flannery is opening the Sonder Shaker, a cocktail bar and lounge, on the site of the former Nye’s Polonaise Room. And Nye’s owners Rob Jacob and Tony Jacob are resurrecting a smaller (and opening soon) version of their beloved watering hole on the site of their former polka bar.
Look for Tavola — billed as a “farm-to-table Italian” restaurant — to appear in the upcoming Elliot Hotel. Surly Brewing Co. chef Ben Peine is promising New Haven-style pizza from a wood-burning oven in the former Brewer’s Table space.
The chains have plans, too. Look for the arrival of Earth Burger (vegetarian- and vegan-focused), Wahlburgers (from brothers Donnie, Mark and Paul Wahlberg, in partnership with Hy-Vee) and Sweet Jesus (soft-serve ice cream) at the Mall of America.
Finally, zipping ahead to 2019, two exciting projects have been announced for downtown Minneapolis: Andrew Zimmern will be taking the lead in developing the two-level food hall in the former Dayton’s department store. And what is surely one of the metro area’s highest-profile locations — a riverfront pavilion in Water Works Park, on the site of the former Fuji Ya — will become home to Owamni: An Indigenous Kitchen by chef Sean Sherman and Dana Thompson of the Sioux Chef.