What is it with Minneapolis museum restaurants?
First the Walker Art Center’s Gather drops its lunch service. Now Grain Stack, the newly remade restaurant at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (and a significant improvement from its predecessor) is going on summer vacation.
“Our new food service model is based on being financially sustainable, so when our traffic is slower (such as this summer), we won’t operate the mezzanine-level restaurant, as it would require us to subsidize the operation and that is not the best use of our contributed resources,” reads a memorandum to museum staff and volunteers.
“After the success of the MIA + Stock and Badge’s Grain Stack operation which served thousands of MIA visitors during the Rock the Cradle, Art in Bloom, and Matisse: Masterworks from the Baltimore Museum of Art, the mezzanine-level restaurant will now close for the summer effective Tuesday, June 10,” reads the statement.
Fear not, hungry art lovers: Stock and Badge’s other MIA food-and-drink operations will remain open, including the Dogwood Coffee bar (and its great two-for-one craft beer happy hour) and the family-friendly, grab-and-go Half Pint, both located in the museum’s lobby.
Jorge Guzman, chef at Solera in downtown Minneapolis, has been tapped to oversee the restaurant, beer garden and event center at Surly Brewing Co.'s news-making facility now under construction in Minneapolis' Prospect Park neighborhood.
“A big part of the Destination Brewery experience will be our craft beer-inspired food, so we knew we needed to put just as much focus on our kitchen and staff," said Surly president Omar Ansari in a statement. "Our executive chef will be the ‘head brewer’ of our beer hall, restaurant and event space. We are excited to add Jorge to the Surly team and immerse him in our world of beer.”
Guzman has been running the Solera kitchen for three years. He's also a veteran of Corner Table and the former Tejas.
Eight-year-old Surly expects to relocate from its Brooklyn Center home to its new Minneapolis digs later this year, opening the $30 million facility in stages. First up will be a casual beer hall with a 300-person capacity, scheduled for early 2015. The 175-person event center, 100-seat restaurant and two-acre beer garden will follow.
"We’re going to push the envelope with our beer-inspired foods using locally sourced, sustainable ingredients," said Guzman in a statement. "We’re not going to sit back.”
Friday is National Doughnut Day. Some might want to take advantage of the delightful freebie offer at YoYo Donuts, which is handing out one free doughnut -- the ones with the holes in the center, so no Bismarcks, Long Johns or fritters -- starting at 6 a.m. and running while supplies last. Expect a line.
But for those who want to use the day as an excuse to indulge in a non-freebie fashion, here are a few options:
Consider one (or two, or three. . .) of Anne Rucker’s sublime brioche doughnuts — filled with Nutella or a vanilla bean cream ($3), or glistening in a brown-butter glaze ($2) — at her just-opened Bogart’s Doughnut Co. (pictured, above). Hint: Arrive early; doors open at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 7:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Rucker closes when she sells out, which can be as early as 10:30 a.m.
Or drop in on Glam Doll Donuts for the weekly over-the-top special ($3), a peanut butter-cream filled number with a raspberry glaze and peanut crunch on top.
Or look to Twitter for the whereabouts of the Chef Shack for co-owner Carrie Summer’s exquisite, cardamom- and cinnamon-dusted (and organic, so they’re good for you, right?) mini-doughnuts. If the truck isn’t out on Friday, head to its bricks-and-mortar iteration, which serves dinner starting at 5 p.m.
Or book it to the Birchwood Cafe for a vegan/gluten-free doughnut ($2.50; this week's flavor is chocolate-banana-chai), or to Hans’ Bakery for one of the state’s great Bismarcks ($1.69), or to Mojo Monkey Donuts for the unbelievable maple-bacon bars (also known as Long Johns); owner Lisa Clark is making a donation to the Salvation Army -- the originator of National Doughnut Day -- with every doughnut purchase.
I could go on, and on, and on. For a list of my favorite Twin Cities doughnuts, go here.
When the Wall Street Journal asked Hugh Acheson (James Beard award-winner, 'Top Chef' judge, New South chef) where he had eaten a recent memorable meal, Acheson singled out Piccolo in Minneapolis where he had dined about six months ago.
"I had dinner at Piccolo, which serves modern American farm-to-table food. The chef, Doug Flicker, is cooking with a seasonal sensibility that is profound, professional and inspiring. The food was just so fresh and smart, even on a cold, fall day. I had speck-wrapped capon with chanterelles, parsnip chow-chow, cockscomb pain perdu and parsnip milk. Nothing like a castrated chicken to make a meal sublime. And it makes you feel good when you find food of that caliber in a place where you didn't expect it."
I’m not sure how long the doors had been open, but when I arrived at Bogart’s Doughnut Co. at 7:02 this morning, there were five people in line ahead of me, and six drool-worthy varieties of doughnuts were filling the cases stretching under an elegant white marble counter.
Owner Anne Rucker appeared from around the corner, a tray lined with vanilla bean cream-filled doughnuts in her arms. The woman in front of me recognized her and said what we were all thinking.
“I’ve been driving by every day this week, hoping to see that you were open,” she said with a laugh. She had her Walker residence employee name badge hanging around her neck – it’s located a few blocks to the south – and she told Rucker, “Welcome to the neighborhood. We’ll all be coming over. A lot.”
Shoppers at the Kingfield Farmers Market will recognize Rucker, an attorney who has followed her passion for baking, first with a popular market stand she calls Bogart Loves (from her middle name, and her grandmother’s maiden name) and now this tiny, gleaming white doughnuts-and-coffee shop at 36th and Bryant in south Minneapolis.
Like all great doughnut shops, I smelled the goodness long before I walked in the door. Rucker’s trademark brioche doughnuts, glistening with sugar and the very definition of fried-dough perfection, were filled with Nutella or a vanilla bean cream, or smeared in glazes, either brown butter or vanilla bean. Cake doughnuts were either lavender-scented or done up in rich chocolate. Prices run $2 (for the cake doughnuts and the glazed brioche doughnuts) and $3 (for the filled brioche doughnuts).
Rucker is trying to open quietly – a near-impossibility in today’s social media world – with a grand opening scheduled for Friday. Doors stay open, “until we run out,” she said. That was around noon on Wednesday, her first unofficial day of business.
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