What that new opportunity is, Riebel isn't saying, at least not yet. But he does confirm that he's staying in the Twin Cities and that the project will materialize in the next six months. In the meantime, diners have 30 days to take advantage of Riebel's three-course, $39 dinners, a terrific dining-out deal.Victory 44 expands
The gem that is Victory 44 (2203 44th Av. N., Mpls., www.victory-44.com) is in expansionist mode. Chef Erick Harcey has grabbed the square footage next door and has stylishly remade what had been an underperforming coffeehouse, rechristening it Victory 44 Coffee Bar & Provisions.
When it's not serving as overflow for his packed-to-the-rafters dining room -- proof positive that the North Side can and will support good food -- it's also providing a home to the a.m. side of his growing business, with a focus on top-quality coffees, teas and baked goods.
A full-fledged breakfast menu is on its way, as early as next week, and it sounds promising. Harcey is pledging bagels, produced in-house and topped with salmon pastrami, along with an omelet and quiche of the day, waffles and his personal favorite, poached eggs paired with greens and toast (using breads from another Minneapolis newcomer, Sun Street Breads). "I want to find five or six dishes that the neighborhood really loves," he said.
In the meantime, Harcey has been brushing up on his pastry skills, pulling together one heckuva of blueberry-yuzu turnover, a stunner of an almond tart, a wicked butterscotch muffin and other goodies. If there are better coffeehouse baked goods north of downtown Minneapolis, I haven't tasted them.
Coffee beans and baristas come courtesy of the Dogwood Coffee Co., which seems more focused than ever on its metrowide domination of the process-obsessed java-drinking demographic. Harcey gets into the act by producing his own coffee syrups -- no run-of-the-mill Torani for this joint -- a dozen that range from salted caramel to bergamot.
And since he's obviously not busy enough, Harcey found the time to build the two handsome communal tables that dominate the shop, using reclaimed timbers that had been pavers on West River Road near the Mill City Museum. "They didn't really make sense as a road," he said with a laugh. "But they definitely work as tables."Now that's a sandwich
Now that farmers markets are being flooded with sun-ripened tomatoes, I've got a bad case of BLTs on the brain. Here's where I go for relief: the Birchwood Cafe (3311 E. 25th St., Mpls., www.birchwoodcafe.com), where chef Marshall Paulsen puts together a doozy, made with juicy heirloom tomatoes, and crazy-good thick-cut bacon from Waseca, Minn., pork farmer Tim Fischer; the sweet corn-chipotle cream sauce, lemon-basil aioli and house-baked multigrain bread are swell touches, too. It just might be the best way to spend $11 during Minnesota's all-too-brief tomato season.