It's the season for restaurant renovations. As a part of a complete overhaul of its Seven Corners home, Town Hall Brewery (1430 Washington Av. S., Mpls., www.townhallbrewery.com) is doubling its brewing capacity. Look for a re-opening around March 1.
What started out as a quick facelift at venerable Tracy's Saloon & Eatery (2207 E. Franklin Av., Mpls., www.tracyssaloon.com) turned into one unforeseen structural issue after another for owner Sanjaya Wanduragala. Closed since Dec. 9, the restaurant and bar is re-opening on Feb. 15.
As a part of the Radisson Plaza Hotel's top-to-bottom remake into a Radisson Blu hotel, the property's FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar (31 S. 7th St., Mpls., www.firelakerestaurant.com) is undergoing a revamp, starting on Feb. 3. The street-level restaurant is expected to reopen in mid-April.
February 22 is the last day that the Birchwood Cafe (3311 E. 25th St., Mpls., birchwoodcafe.com) will remain open, prior to implementing some serious renovation and expansion plans. The restaurant will be closed for about 10 weeks.
The Birchwood won't remain idle, however. Starting March 1, Verdant Tea (2111 E. Franklin Av., Mpls., www.verdanttea.com) will be hosting a Birchwood breakfast pop-up. From 8 a.m. to noon daily, Verdant will feature a selection of Birchwood breakfast items — including pastries and its signature savory waffles. Birchwood chef Marshall Paulsen and Verdant tea master David Duckler also plan to collaborate on creating a menu inspired by northern Chinese street fare.
Finally, it's great to see that Ngon Vietnamese Bistro (799 W. University Av., St. Paul, www.ngonbistro.com) is back in business, after a burst water pipe flooded the dining room earlier this month and required chef/owner Hai Truong to replace the ceiling.
More on Eat Street
Eat Street, that stretch of Nicollet Avenue S. in Minneapolis, continues to draw new food-and-drink tenants.
The latest? The Copper Hen Cakery & Kitchen (2515 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls.), which will be located about a block south of the Wedge Co-op's recently announced new bodega-style store and deli.
When they first envisioned their new enterprise last year, owners Danielle and Chris Bjorling were billing it as a "farm-to-table" cakes and desserts destination.
Now they've expanded upon that premise and plan to offer what they describe as a "farmhouse-style" lunch, dinner and brunch service, featuring such sturdy items as chicken pot pie and shepherd's hand pies, along with pizzas, soups, salads and sandwiches made on house-baked breads.
Be on the lookout for an early April opening.
Year of the Horse
Plenty of restaurants are offering Chinese New Year specials. Here's a deal for tea drinkers: On Friday, Jan. 31, TeaSource (three Twin Cities locations, including 561 Prairie Center Dr., Eden Prairie, www.teasource.com) is having a one-day-only sale, taking 50 percent off the price of all Chinese teas.
Pizza and beer
Day Block Brewing Co. (1105 Washington Av. S., Mpls., www.dayblockbrewing.com) is now open in the 131-year-old Day Block building, serving a half-dozen specialty beers brewed on the premises, as well as pizzas and a short list of beer-friendly snacks.
It has been quite a week for Punch Pizza (www.punchpizza.com). Co-owner John Soranno and employee Nick Chute were guests of First Lady Michele Obama at President Obama's State of the Union speech Tuesday, in recognition of the 18-year-old company's $10 minimum-wage policy.
Then the company — which operates eight Twin Cities locations, and will open a ninth this spring in the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes complex in Maple Grove — launched a novel promotion.
Here's how it works: Buy a $25 T-shirt and receive a 25 percent discount every time you wear said apparel into a Punch location during 2014. The company is selling up to 1,000 T-shirts.