Coming soon, southwest

Rebecca Illingworth, owner of the recently closed Bin on the Park in downtown St. Paul, is taking her business west and launching Latin Hills Kitchen (3509 W. 44th St., Mpls,, where she will dabble in all things Latin while emphasizing the recipes she grew up eating in Mexico City.

"A little Cuban, a little Spanish, a little Mexican, it's going to be diverse," she said. "But nothing Americanized. It's going to be authentic, and natural."

That will include empanadas, "a really good rice and beans," made-to-order burritos and tacos, paella, "a great Cuban sandwich" and a whole host of house-made salsas.

"I'm returning to what I know best," she said. "When I opened in Lowertown, I wanted it to be a restaurant that served liquor, but it became a bar that served food," said Illingworth. "I want to go back to the original intent."

Following a popular trend, the restaurant will offer daytime counter service and evening table service, Tuesday through Sunday.

Illingworth is planning for a late September/early October opening.

Opening Wednesday

Aug. 20 is the opening night for Workshop at Union (731 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.,, the Stewart Woodman-led remake of the first floor of the Union complex.

The menu, served Thursday through Saturday evenings (plus show nights at the neighborhood's theaters), includes appetizers in three portion levels and prices (amuse-bouche, $4-$5; mini, $7-$9; and midsize, $9-$11) and a handful of shareable entrees ($12-$18).

Union's dramatic rooftop restaurant and bar ( continues to serve dinner daily.

At Lexington and Grand

What's going on at the Lexington (1096 Grand Av., St. Paul)? Plenty, although it doesn't appear that way at the dormant landmark.

Co-owners Jack Riebel, Kevin Fitzgerald and Josh Thoma purchased Grand Avenue's dining doyenne in April, and immediately began the task of renovating the 79-year-old building. Turns out, that's easier said than done.

"It's a big job to get in there and even understand what we need to do," said Thoma, nothing the project includes gutting the kitchen and the building's mechanical systems, along with adding a rooftop dining component. "It's a fairly substantial remodel," he said.

What will remain is the interior's extensive millwork. And of course the photographs of Capital City movers and shakers that line a back hallway. "That's what we get the most calls about," said Thoma.

Construction is scheduled to begin in October and is expected to last about five months.

Farmers market smackdown

Who will walk away with the Master of Market 2014 title? On Saturday at the Minneapolis Farmers Market (312 E. Lyndale Av. N., Mpls.,, Landon Schoenefeld of HauteDish (119 Washington Av. N., Mpls., and Drew Yancey of Borough (730 Washington Av. N., Mpls., will be given 20 minutes to shop the market and a half-hour to create a one-of-a-kind dish using their purchases.

Their work will be judged by cookbook author Raghavan Iyer, "The Splendid Table" host Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Taste editor Lee Svitak Dean. The fun begins at 10 a.m., and audience members can pick up free canvas shopping bags and vie for prizes, including $100 gift cards to the competitors' North Loop restaurants.

Rick Nelson