There were so many painful goodbyes this year, from longstanding businesses that faithfully served the Twin Cities for decades to relative newcomers that only recently dared to take their shot.

Among this year's closures was an entire generation of restaurants that had extraordinarily long runs come to an end as the proprietors — many of them immigrants — faced retirement.

David Fong's, 64 years.

Mama's Pizza (indoor dining), 58 years.

Williams Uptown Pub & Peanut Bar, 50ish years.

Asia Chow Mein, 50 years.

Perkins (Maplewood), 42 years.

Keefer Court, 40 years.

Khyber Pass, 37 years.

Canton, 40 years.

Camdi, 35 years.

Rock Bottom Brewery, 30 years.

Black Dog Cafe, 23 years.

Erte & the Peacock Lounge, 21 years.

Stella's Fish Cafe, 17 years.

Red Stag Supperclub, 15 years.

Mort's Deli, 15 years.

Seven Steakhouse & Sushi, 15 years.

Still more had respectable streaks as familiar anchors in their neighborhoods and beyond.

10-plus years: Grumpy's (Roseville), Sen Yai Sen Lek, Black Sheep Pizza (St. Paul), Sandcastle, Darby's Pub & Grill.

Five to nine years: Hammer & Sickle, Tin Whiskers Brewing, Revival (original Minneapolis location), Able Seedhouse + Brewery, Firebox Deli (Minneapolis), Red Table Meat Co., Amore Uptown, the Fremont, Hot Indian, the Sheridan Room, Dumpling, Kyatchi (St. Paul), Zait & Za'atar, Local Roots.

Short, but sweet: Other restaurants that closed, many of which launched just before or during the pandemic, had shorter but no less impactful tenures, including: Zettas, Grand Catch, Nordic Waffles (Rosedale Center), B.A.D. Wingz, Andy's Diner, Gray's, El Norte Kitchen, Ties Lounge & Rooftop, East Side Bar, Tequila Butcher (Wayzata), Minny Row Market and Provision Community Restaurant.


This year saw a burst of creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in the Twin Cities food world, with restaurant openings that reflected the post-pandemic energy to go big and make a mark.

The suburban Renaissance

The suburbs were one particular benefactor of all this new restaurant life. They welcomed: Farmer and the Fishmonger (Apple Valley), Smack Shack (Bloomington), Protagonist Kitchen and Bar (Richfield), La Bodega Taco Bar (St. Louis Park and Crystal), Nouvelle Brewing (Robbinsdale), Wild Hare (Stillwater), Pagoda (Roseville), White Rabbit Kitchen (Andover), 9 Mile Brewing (Bloomington), Tono Pizzeria + Cheesesteaks (Woodbury), Devil's Advocate (Stillwater), Wingman Matt (Eden Prairie), the Mudd Room (Mendota), Love Pizza (Golden Valley), Stalk & Spade (Edina), the Better Half (Lakeville), Crooked Pint (Savage), Bear Cave Brewing (Hopkins), Macanda (Wayzata), Northern Taphouse (Plymouth), Kitchen and Rail (Eagan), Sato (St. Louis Park), Burger Press (Edina), Gary's Supper Club (Lakeville), White Bear Meadery (Maplewood), Shakopee House and Rum Row (Shakopee), Wineside (Minnetonka), Taco Libre (Roseville), and multiple eateries in Asia Mall (Eden Prairie).

Coffee shops proliferate

Coffee shops had a resurgence, notably those helmed by Black and Indigenous people and people of color. New on the scene are Makwa Coffee (Roseville), Roots Cafe (St. Paul), Abogados Café (St. Paul), Flava Coffee Café (St. Paul), Mocha Momma's (Minneapolis), Hepcat Coffee (St. Paul) and the Briar (Minneapolis). There were moves or expansions for FRGMNT Coffee (Eden Prairie), the New Uptown Diner (Minneapolis), Alma Provisions (Minneapolis), the Nicollet Diner (Minneapolis), Fletcher's Ice Cream & Cafe (Minneapolis), Backstory Coffee Roasters (Minneapolis), Folly Coffee Cafe and Jinx Tea Bar (Minneapolis), Jones Coffee (Minneapolis and Minnetonka), Misfit Coffee Co. (Minneapolis) and Spyhouse Coffee Roasters (Rochester).

Food halls and malls get even better

OG ZaZa, Black Coffee and Waffle Bar, and Shake Shack all joined Rosedale Center. With the opening of Eden Prairie's Asia Mall comes Pho Mai, Uni Uni Bubble Tea, Bober Tea & Mochi Dough, Hot Pot City, Home Taste, CrunCheese, Dosirak and Legendary Spice. The Mall of America welcomed Duck Donuts, Beard Papas, 1st RND, Opa! of Greece, Bussin' Birria and Kura Sushi. Near Ridgedale Center, find Rush Bowls. Momo Dosa and Slice both launched second locations at Midtown Global Market. The North Loop Galley welcomed Kawae and Ottimo. The Galleria got a Sweetgreen and MSP airport opened Settobello.

Fast, casual, fun

These new spots are perfect for an easy, breezy meal. In St. Paul: Capital Corn, Mario's, Burger Press, Smok'N Outdoors. In Minneapolis: Pa Tea and Poke, Urban Skillet, Boludo El 38, Wrecktangle Lyn-Lake, Dream Creamery, CrunCheese, Bober Tea and Mochi Dough, Chicago's Very Own, Revival Smoked Meats, Nashville Coop, TAMU Grill, Official Fried Chicken, Afro Deli, Socca Cafe, Carbon Kitchen + Market, Abang Yoli, Vellee and Clancey's.

City center comebacks

The Twin Cities' business districts are waking from their pandemic slumber, courtesy of Spice & Tonic, Noa, Hell's Cafeteria, Mara, Riva Terrace, Charlie's Minneapolis Club, Guacaya Bistreaux, Bar Rufus, Blondette, Miaou Miaou, Wood + Paddle Eatery and Ovation in Minneapolis; and from Noyes & Cutler, Momento, Lost Fox, Gray Duck Tavern and Apostle Supper Club in St. Paul. St. Paul's neighborhoods, too, got some new energy, from GusGus, Kalsada and Em Que Viet.

Sugar, flour and more

Get your bread and/or treats from these bakeries: Asa's Bakery (Minneapolis), Laune Bread (Minneapolis), Hold the Wheat (St. Louis Park), Soga Mochi Donut (St. Paul), Yum! Kitchen and Bakery (St. Paul), Lutunji's Palate (Minneapolis), Edward's Dessert Kitchen (Minneapolis), a revamped Donut Star (Burnsville) and two new skyway bakeries in downtown Minneapolis, Cardigan Donuts and Mother Dough.

New watering holes

New (or returning) places to get a drink and a bite, and maybe some entertainment, are: Lush Lounge and Theater, Little Tijuana Neighborhood Lounge, Emerald Lounge, Jetset Underground, Earl Giles Distillery, Tom's Watch Bar, Roxy's Cabaret, Nomu Room, Billy After Dark and Arts and Rec in Minneapolis. In St. Paul: False Eyedoll, Emerald Lounge and Wild Bill's Sports Saloon.