Empire Coffee + Pastry
This first-rate enterprise, approaching its third birthday, is in expansion mode. Sisters Amy (she’s the coffee pro) and Chrissy (she’s the baker) Kelsch are adding a second location, an 18-seater in the Highlight Center that will serve a.m. pastries and sweets plus a sandwiches-salads-soups lunch. The plan is to open the Tuesday after Labor Day.
451 Stinson Blvd., Mpls., 612-331-3877, and coming soon to 807 NE. Broadway, Mpls., empireminneapolis.com
Seward Co-op Creamery Cafe
After taking lessons from its short-lived predecessor, the natural foods co-op is going casual with this restaurant reboot, concentrating on familiar fare: pancakes, eggs and hash in the a.m., then soups, sandwiches and salads the rest of the day, all at $13-and-under prices. Dessert? Ice cream cones, from Sonny’s Ice Cream, plus a house-made soft-serve. Opening Sept. 12.
2601 E. Franklin Av., Mpls., 612-230-5575, coopcreamery.coop
Chef/owner Max Thompson has spent the summer in renovation mode at the Restaurant Formerly Known as 128 Cafe, expanding the bar, adding a full liquor license, recruiting a mixology team and rethinking the lunch-dinner-weekend brunch menu. (Regulars, note: The ribs — and the knotty pine paneling — are history.) Reopening in late September.
128 N. Cleveland Av., St. Paul, 651-645-4128