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Continued: Taking the cake in Gaviidae Common

  • Article by: RICK NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 23, 2010 - 1:57 PM
Coming next week to downtown Minneapolis: a permanent location for Cocoa & Fig (www.cocoaandfig.com).

Co-owners Laurie Pyle and Joe Lin have been on the lookout for a retail outpost to expand their catering and farmers market operations, and finally found one on the skyway level of Gaviidae Common, a small storefront that most recently housed Groveland Confections.

"It's a big growth for us, in a tiny space," said Pyle. "But it's a good location for testing the waters and seeing how retail works for us."

Pyle and Lin are partnering with St. Louis Park-based Bull Run Roasting Co. for drip coffees (no espresso, since nearby Caribou Coffee has a mallwide non-compete) and plan to serve quiche and breakfast pastries, including muffins, scones and their fabulous cream cheese-Nutella brioche.

At lunch, the menu will switch to tarts, galettes, macaroons, cookies and brownie-like bouchons. Look for eye-catching cupcakes and 6-inch three-layer cakes made in a variety of flavors, from almond cake with caramel buttercream to chocolate with coffee-mocha icing, plus a popular item from the C&F catering menu: dessert "shooters" in 2-oz. shot glasses, including triple chocolate mousse and Key lime pie. (I'm still baking the recipe Pyle formulated for Taste in October 2009 to help celebrate the section's 40th anniversary.)

Further down the road, Pyle said, she hopes to partner with Rustica (3220 W. Lake St., Mpls., www.rusticabakery.com), using the bakery's breads to produce made-to-order sandwiches in the shop's cramped kitchen. Most of the store's inventory will be produced in the C&F kitchen in Shakopee.

When farmers market season returns in late April, the duo plans to return to Saturdays at the Prior Lake Farmers Market as well as weekends at the Minneapolis Farmers Market and Thursdays at its branch on Nicollet Mall. "We're thinking of this as an extension of what we've been doing at farmers markets," Pyle said.

Look for a Feb. 10 opening.

A well deserved honor

The James Beard Foundation announced this week --there was a reason for the pre-Super Bowl news release -- that Wayne Kostroski is its 2010 Humanitarian of the Year (past honorees include Paul Newman and Alice Waters). Kostroski, co-owner of Cuisine Concepts, the company behind the Franklin Street Bakery (1020 E. Franklin Av., Mpls., www.franklinstreetbakery.com) and Bar Abilene (1300 Lagoon Av. S., Mpls., www.barabilene.com), is founder of Taste of the NFL, a nonprofit that has distributed more than $9 million to food banks nationwide since its inception in 1992. Kostroski will receive the honor in May in New York City at the annual James Beard Foundation Awards, widely considered the Oscars of the food world.

Around town

The lights are out at Staccato in downtown Minneapolis. Also closed: Maggiano's Little Italy at Southdale in Edina, and Prima in Minnetonka; the original Prima (5325 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., www.primamn.com) remains open.

After a year's tenure, chef Joan Ida has left Porter & Frye (1115 2nd Av. S., Mpls., www.porterandfrye.com). No replacement has been named.

Following a 15-year run, Sawatdee Bar & Cafe (118 N. 4th St., Mpls., www.sawatdee.com) is calling it quits on March 20. Owner Supenn Harrison's six other locations will remain open.

RICK NELSON

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