Bella (Nhi) Lam has come full circle with Coconut Whisk, her line of vegan and gluten-free products.
Lam began selling her baking mixes at farmers markets three years ago this month, and her brick-and-mortar storefront opens Thursday as Coconut Whisk Cafe (901 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., coconutwhisk.com), featuring an all-vegan, gluten-free menu.
"In May 2018, I launched Coconut Whisk at farmers markets as a struggling college student," Lam said. "Three years later, to be able to launch a brick and mortar in the same month feels like a full-circle moment. May is also Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month, so it feels extra emotional after such a difficult year for the BIPOC community."
Initial hours will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. The cafe will serve items like waffles and mini pancakes on a stick and bubble tea as well as Coconut Whisk mixes. Lam also will sell items from other BIPOC, women and locally owned brands.
Beer and barbecue in the North Loop
Grab your appetite and some hand wipes, StormKing Brewpub and Barbecue (618 N. 5th St., Mpls., stormkingbrewpub.com) is open for business.
Chef/owner Jordan Smith, who's also behind Black Sheep Pizza, announced his latest venture in March, along with the news that he was teaming up with Rapids Brewing Co. of Grand Rapids, Minn.
"Beer and barbecue, it's such a great combination," Smith said at the time. "And their beers are spectacular."
The menu includes barbecue standards like brisket, chicken and ribs, sandwiches and all the sides you'd expect — coleslaw, fries, potato salad, etc. In addition to Rapids Brewing Co. beer, there's also a tidy selection of craft cocktails and wine. Want to feast at home? Meat is also available by the pound.
Hours for the counter-service restaurant are 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Dining options include a 60-seat patio.
If the StormKing name sounds familiar, you might be remembering Smith's first foray into barbecue. The original StormKing opened in 2017 and ran for about a year.
Murray's owners in the pizza business
In case you missed it, the Murray family, one of the Twin Cities' most enduring dining dynasties, has branched out beyond the Silver Butter Knife Steak for Two of its timeless downtown Minneapolis steakhouse and opened Arturo's Pizza (18 NE. University Av., Mpls., arturospizzaminneapolis.com) in a former Red's Savoy outlet.
"We've always been on the lookout to diversify our brand, and if the right opportunity came along we would be open to it," said Tim Murray. "We thought we'd get in on the pizza craze. That's the business that seems to be doing well these days."
They've christened the place after their grandfather, Arthur Murray ("He was Irish, but we're using the Italian version of his name," said James Murray), and are turning out an homage to New York-style pizza daily from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Herbie Butcher's opening this week
Friday is the opening day for Herbie Butcher's Fried Chicken (735 E. 48th St., Mpls., herbiebutchersfriedchicken.com). The vegan fried chicken restaurant, created by Aubry and Kale Walch, the siblings behind the Herbivorous Butcher, will be open for takeout 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Tiny Diner (1024 E. 38th St., Mpls., tinydiner.com), with its roomy patio, is now open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
The dining room and back bar at Young Joni (165 13th Av. NE., Mpls., youngjoni.com) are reopening on June 1.