Bebe Zito Ice Cream
Co-owners and newlyweds Ben Spangler and Gabriella Grant are turning ice cream cones into portable parties via off-the-wall flavors and over-the-top pairings. The weekend-only burger menu is spectacular.
704 W. 22nd St., Mpls., bebezitomn.com
In May, when the prospect of launching a restaurant seemed shaky at best, Enkhbileg "Billy" Tserenbat forged ahead. The opening marked his return to the sushi game, big time, three years after Tserenbat sold his Sushi Fix.
116 1st Av. N., Mpls., billysushi.net
The Grocer's Table
First-time restaurateur Lindsay Pohlad has a hit on her hands with this great-looking and quality-obsessed destination, a cafe/bakery/market/wine bar combination. Chef Craig Johnson's approachable and appealing cooking is making diners happy at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
326 Broadway Av. S., Wayzata, thegrocerstablemn.com
Chef Justin Sutherland moved his restaurant from Lowertown to Cathedral Hill, gaining roomier digs, an expanded menu and a top-shelf patio.
173 Western Av. N., St. Paul, handsomehog.com
Owner Heather Asbury not only heartily embraces the neighborhood restaurant model (a genre she absorbed during her long tenure at Lucia's), she and her crew elevate it, catering to a wide range of tastes and budgets while answering the age-old question, "What's for dinner?" Or, for that matter, breakfast or lunch.
5201 Chicago Av. S., Mpls., heathersmpls.com
The folks behind the new Omni Hotel wisely recruited James Beard award-winning chef Ann Kim (Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola, Hello Pizza) to stamp her unmistakable imprint on this stylish property. Wood-fired pizzas are the centerpiece; Kim's spin on breakfast and lunch will eventually follow.
2611 Nordic Way, Eagan, omnihotels.com
At this unassuming northeast Minneapolis storefront, chef/owner Gustavo Romero is singing the praises of nixtamalization, one painstakingly prepared tortilla (and tortilla-centric family-style meal) at a time.
1222 NE. 2nd St., Mpls., nixtampls.com
What a team! Chef Jorge Guzmán, barkeeper Travis Serbus and Lyn 65 vets Ben Rients and Dan Manosack have transformed the former Blackbird into a platform for Guzman's dynamic cooking, which filters locally sourced ingredients through the prism of his Mexican heritage.
3800 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., petiteleonmpls.com
Martina chef Daniel Del Prado has turned his considerable talents to pizza (two styles, both excellent) and gotta-try small plates in the airy space formerly occupied by Rose Street Patisserie.
2811 W. 43rd St., Mpls., rosaliapizza.com
Sidebar at Surdyk's
Capitalizing on their sterling track record with airport-based Surdyk's Flights, the Surdyk family decided to carve space out of their booming liquor-wine store to create a neighborhood hangout. Bonus points for the sleek renovation of the store's first-rate cheese shop.
303 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., sidebaratsurdyks.com
Travail Kitchen and Amusements
Another moved-and-improved scenario, from a chefs' collective that has always excelled at reinvention. This time, they've debuted a dazzling and sophisticated three-level culinary hub, a platform that promises all kinds of innovation in the years to come.
4134 Hubbard Av. N., Robbinsdale, travailkitchen.com
The talented forces behind upscale Popol Vuh have remade the space into a contemporary quick-service Mexican cafe-bakery-bar hybrid, with winning results, especially pastry chef Ngia Xiong's spot-on output.
1414 NE. Quincy St., Mpls., vivirmpls.com