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Doughnut 'restaurant' with fried chicken, bacon varieties opening in Mpls. skyway

Next month, a lounge featuring long banquettes, armchairs and a 360-degree fireplace will debut in the downtown Minneapolis skyway.

A new cocktail room? Nope, the guilty pleasures this shop will be peddling are doughnuts.

Cardigan Donuts, which will open in the City Center building in the first week of May, wants to put its own spin on the fried treats.

The doughnuts – all 20 varieties of them – will run the gamut between classics and more off-the-wall versions such as Cardigan’s chicken-and-waffles interpretation. The more ramped up versions include bourbon and walnut, nitro cold press mocha and chai varieties. Pastry chef Dan Rosene (most recently at Tria in North Oaks) plans to stretch the limits of traditional fried dough. Some of his potential combinations include that chicken-and-waffles doughnut, a black forest bar with brandied cherry jam and a bacon-and-egg doughnut with candied bacon and a yolk buttercream.

“We’re going to be really aggressive, we’re going to have a lot of fun with these,” owner Justin Bedford said. “Our baker is going to really get creative trying some new things.”

The space, too, will be unique to other doughnut shops in the area. Bedford and Jim Smart, president of Smart Associates (a restaurant design company), designed the 1,600-square foot service and seating area to feel like a mid-century modern-style living room. They hope the ambience helps entice customers to eat in.

“This hasn’t been designed as a doughnut shop,” Smart said. “This is very much a restaurant. There are some really prime, cozy spots.”

Cardigan will also serve oatmeal bowls and Greek yogurt bowls with doughnut-esque toppings, and hot tea and coffee as well as local kombucha and Black Eye Roasting Co.’s nitro cold press on tap. 

New restaurant and 'eatertainery' planned for old hardware building in North Loop

Minneapolis’ North Loop is getting another restaurant and another bar – the latest in a continued surge of restaurateurs taking interest in populating the fast-growing neighborhood.

NOLO’s Kitchen and Bar and Basement Bar are expected to open in the historic Gardner Hardware Building at 515 Washington Av. N. this fall. (Gardner occupied the building for 60 years before closing in September.)

The restaurant, located on the ground floor, will serve breakfast/lunch/dinner, seven days a week and focus on “comfort food” and a “casual environment,” according to a release.

Look for dishes like omelets, chicken and waffles and breakfast burritos to be served in the morning, and sandwiches, flatbreads, salads and larger entrees such as ribeyes and pork chops to be served at lunch and dinner.

The basement bar, meanwhile, will follow the “eatertainery” trend that has become popular in Minneapolis and elsewhere recently. A “food truck”-style menu – tacos, burgers, hot dogs and soft serve, among other things – will be complemented by games including shuffleboard and bubble hockey and plenty of sports-geared TVs.

The ownership group, which anticipates September debuts for the concepts, consists of Marty Collins, who also owns McCoy’s Public House in St. Louis Park as well as other restaurants in Kansas City, and Brett Johnson, who owns The Hilltop Restaurant in Edina. Chef Peter Hoff, also a native Minnesotan, most recently cooked in California.

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