Co-owners Joe Wagner and Sam Bonin and chef Edward Hayes Jr. have become intimately familiar with the concept of sweat equity. They've spent the past eight months transforming the former Europol Eva's Delicatessen into the Northeast Social (359 13th Av. NE., Minneapolis, northeastsocial.com) by doing most of the construction themselves."I went from pretty boy to this," said Bonin with a laugh as he held out skinned and blistered hands. "Hey, I tiled my own floor," added Hayes. "That gives a guy a whole new perspective."
Their place is a looker, all dark woods, glazed tiles and, to top it off, a carefully restored stamped-tin ceiling. "I feel like we complete the block," said Wagner, a reference to his traffic-drawing neighbors, which include the Ritz Theater, the Modern Cafe, 331 Club and Erte. "We love the neighborhood, and we're proud of what we've done here."
Hayes' working menu starts with grilled lamb sausages and Welsh rarebit before moving on to a half-pound burger, St. Louis-style pork ribs, a potato gnocchi-mushroom stroganoff, a Brazilian-cut steak that he's hoping becomes a signature item and peach cobbler. "We don't want to call it American contemporary, but that's what we're going to do," said Hayes, who is running his own kitchen after working for others at W.A. Frost & Co., i Nonni, Cue and Heartland.
The bar is skipping hard liquor ("We want to feed people instead, and then we want to go out for a drink ourselves," said Hayes) to focus on wine and beer. The selection of large-bottle beers will be served in tableside coolers and poured in short juice glasses. "It's a technique not seen in the city right now," said Bonin. "We're going to have a blue-collar feel with white-collar service."
An April 27 opening is planned.Around town
New York City christened not one but two baseball stadiums this month, and fans are eating well. At the Mets' Citi Field, ticketholders are gobbling menu favorites from Manhattan restaurateur Danny Meyer's wildly popular Shake Shack and Blue Smoke; Drew Nieporent, owner of Nobu, Corton and the Tribeca Grill, is operating a 550-seat restaurant inside the ballpark. Up in the Bronx, the club and suite areas of the new Yankee Stadium will see appearances by "Iron Chef" Masaharu Morimoto and critics' darling April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig and the John Dory, while cheap-seaters can hit a sandwich counter supplied by Lobel's, the famous NYC butcher.
It got me wondering: Will the Twins step up to the culinary plate when Target Field opens next spring?
At Urban Bean (3255 Bryant Av. S., Minneapolis), owner Greg Martin is kicking off patio season in style. From 5 to 8 p.m. next Thursday, Martin is making room for Chef Shack-ers Lisa Carlson and Carrie Summer and their bison burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, French fries and crème brûlée; he's pouring the Pabst Blue Ribbon. Can't make it? The Chef Shack will be parked at its regular perch at the Mill City Farmers Market (2nd St. and Chicago Av. S., Minneapolis, millcityfarmersmarket.org)when the market opens for the season May 9.
deal of the week
Sunday through Thursday evenings, the Craftsman Restaurant (4300 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, craftsmanrestaurant.com) offers five different $19 bottles of wine; the selection changes frequently.