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Restaurant news: Makers Cafe, Valentine's Day, Luci Ancora

  • Article by: RICK NELSON
  • Star Tribune
  • February 13, 2014 - 9:58 AM

Making an impression

A new concept from Dunn Bros. quietly opened last week in Edina. It’s called Makers Cafe (4920 W. 77th St., www.makers-cafe.com), and it intentionally doesn’t resemble its coffeehouse sibling.

“We wanted to launch a separate brand,” said Laura Radewald, the company’s marketing officer. “Something more food-forward, and something that attracts a different audience.”

The name originates from what Radewald said is a focus on “celebrating handmade food, and all things handmade.” That explains the pop-up retail shop located inside the 60-seat restaurant, selling wares created by Midwestern crafters.

The kitchen starts cooking at 6 a.m. daily, with frittatas, quiche, breakfast sandwiches and Dutch-style pancakes, then serves salads-sandwiches-small plates lunch and dinner menus until 10 p.m. The bar features Dunn Bros. coffees, TeaSource teas, keg wines and a handful of locally brewed craft beers.

A pair of happy hours are attention-getters. From 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, the restaurant offers a free Tater Tots bar, and at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, the kitchen offers a free chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk. “A great reason to take a break from work,” said Radewald with a laugh.

The restaurant is adjacent to Cafe Inc., a membership-only collaborative work space.

“Cafe Inc. approached us while we were in development, so we decided to open our first Makers Cafe in partnership with them,” said Radewald. So far there are no specific plans regarding additional locations. “But we are planning to roll out more of them,” said Radewald. “And we may coordinate our expansion plans in conjunction with Cafe Inc. as they expand.”

 

Valentine’s Day

The National Restaurant Association, an industry trade group, estimates that 25 percent of the American population will dine out on Valentine’s Day, making it the second-busiest dining-out holiday of the year, after Mother’s Day.

Which explains why my snail-mail and e-mail boxes were inundated with Valentine’s Day promotions, many of which are being offered not just on Feb. 14, but all weekend.

One that floated to the top hails from the ever-creative Burger Jones (3200 W. Lake St., Mpls., and 1619 W. County Road 42, Burnsville, www.burgerjones.com), which is offering two burgers, fries and a bottle of Dom Pérignon Champagne, for $125. The offer is available Thursday through Sunday.

Even the national chains are getting into the act. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Bakers Square (11 Twin Cities locations, www.bakerssquare.com) is offering two entrees (including mac-and-cheese, pot roast and Asian-style chicken stir fry) and two slices of pie for $19.99.

By the way, in a 2013 survey, the NRA also asked men and women about the types of Valentine’s Day gifts they like to receive. The leading gift for men? Surprise, surprise, 46 percent responded with “restaurant gift cards.” For women, “jewelry” was the top choice at 37 percent, followed by “flowers” at 23 percent and “restaurant gift cards” at 13 percent.

 

Sunday supper

At Luci Ancora (2060 Randolph Av., St. Paul, www.luciancora.com), chef Stephen Smith makes Sunday evenings special by offering an ever-changing four-course (appetizer, soup/salad, pasta and entree) dinner, served family-style. The price varies each week, but usually lands in the $20- to $28-per-person range.

RICK NELSON

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