When the Elliot Park Hotel (823 5th Av. S., Mpls., elliotparkhotel.com) opens for business in late September, its Tavola won’t be a cookie-cutter Marriott restaurant, said Taryne Dixon, the property’s food and beverage director.

“There’s no set manual,” she said. “We have a lot of latitude to be creative, and to incorporate ourselves into the community.”

Chef Aaron Uban — his résumé includes Kieran’s Irish Pub, the former Heartland Restaurant & Wine Bar and another downtown hotel restaurant, the former Porter & Frye — is creating breakfast, lunch and dinner menus with an Italian accent and within an “approachable, affordable” framework, said Dixon.

“That’s unique for a hotel restaurant,” she said. “We want to create an authentic experience and become a part of the Elliot Park neighborhood.”

Dinner menu items will include pastas in full and half-size portions, an array of small-plate items and a rib-eye steak for two.

A showy oven has a front-and-center spot in the restaurant’s roomy bar, where Uban and his crew will bake pizzas and what Dana Orlando, the hotel’s general manager, is calling “a hefty bread program.”

“When you bake fresh bread all day, everyone in the lobby wants to come in and see what’s going on,” she said.

The restaurant will focus on neighborhood residents by offering 10 percent discounts (which diners can elect to donate to a local charity), Sunday night family-style suppers and a daily happy hour that will run from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

The cocktail program will feature amaro-centric libations, and the wine list will be Italian-driven and price-conscious.

“Why can’t you get a good glass of wine in downtown Minneapolis without spending twenty bucks?” said Sean Curran, the restaurant’s general manager.

The bar will maintain eight taps.

“The majority will be local beers,” said Dixon. “But we’ll also have Coors Light, because we’re a hotel. We also don’t want to compete with our neighbors — and now our friends — next door at Finnegans.”

The hotel and the brewery are collaborators, not competitors.

The Elliot Park’s second-floor kitchen will be doing the cooking for the VIP lounge at Finnegans.

The good-looking restaurant (and the entire 168-room hotel) is the work of ESG, the Minneapolis architectural firm. Opening date is Sept. 20.


Gray Fox Coffee (801 Marquette Av. S., Mpls., grayfoxcoffee.com), the latest from Copper Hen Cakery & Kitchen (2515 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-872-2221, copperhenkitchen.com) owners Danielle and Chris Bjorling, is now serving weekday breakfast, lunch and happy hour. The restaurant’s stylish digs are animating what has been one of downtown’s most inert indoor gathering spaces, the former TCF Bank atrium.

Sweet Chow (116 1st Av. N., Mpls., chowtakeaway.com) has launched its ice cream shop, located in a space that’s adjacent to the restaurant.

Kirsten Poppenhagen, formerly of Fika (2600 Park Av. S., Mpls., fikacafe.net), is building eight flavors from scratch, including Thai Tea, Vietnamese Coffee, strawberry and a dairy-free Toasted Coconut-Lime. The menu also includes a few adult-only floats. The counter is open noon to 8 p.m. daily.

In the news

It’s great to see Ann Kim, chef/co-owner of Young Joni (165 13th Av. N., Mpls., 612-345-5719, youngjoni.com) being featured in four consecutive Saturdays in the Wall Street Journal.

Kim has already published a pair of summer-themed recipes (a panzanella salad, oven-roasted salmon with a corn-kimchi succotash) and two more are on the way.

For those who can’t locate a print edition, note that the Journal’s website is subscriber-only.