Matthew Bickford and Mike Ryan, co-owners of Be'wiched Deli (800 Washington Av. N., Mpls., www.bewicheddeli.com), have been on the hunt for a second location. But instead of a Be'wiched 2.0, they're launching Icehouse, which Bickford describes as a 200-seat "listening room with food and drink."
"We're going to try to make some money with alcohol," he said with a laugh. "The margins are certainly better."
A tentative November opening is planned, but until then there's a lot of work ahead for the storefront that was most memorably home to Sindbad's Cafe and Market (2528 Nicollet Av. S.). "It's a major rehab of a 100-year old building," said Bickford. "We want to embrace the historical splendor of the space, and not screw it up."
Music lover and techie Brian Liebek will handle the entertainment bookings, while Bickford and Ryan will manage the food, serving lunch, dinner and late night, along with a jazz/gospel Sunday brunch.
"We don't anticipate any exact crossovers from Be'wiched, although we're not going to stray too far from the core, either," said Bickford. "But we like to procure and smoke meats, so sandwiches will have a good representation on the menu. We'll flush out salads a bit more, and try and do handmade pastas and seafood, some of the things we can't do at Be'wiched."Around the corner ...
Bickford and Ryan aren't the only team in expansion mode. Northeast Social (359 13th Av. NE., Mpls., www.northeastsocial.com) co-owners Joe Wagner and Sam Bonin are taking their act to the former Taco Morelos space (14 W. 26th St.) -- as well as what used to be the adjacent Caterpillar Lounge portion of the former Azia -- and launching what they're currently calling the Eat Street Social Club. "But we've tossed around Whittier Social Club, too," said Wagner. "We want to embrace the neighborhood."
Wagner and Bonin are viewing their new business opportunity as a bit of a homecoming. "Sam and I once shared a little apartment over there, so the Spyhouse, the Black Forest and Quang, they're our hangouts," said Wagner. "We feel really good about going into the area. It's maybe what Uptown felt like 15 years ago, and we want to be a part of that and get in on the ground level."
Northeast Social chef Geoff Little will develop the American bistro-style menu, and French Meadow Bakery & Cafe vet Fernando Silva will run the kitchen on a day-to-day basis. The bar's classic-cocktails-with-a-twist will be created by mixmaster Nicholas Kosevich of the former Town Talk Diner. "We've been friends with Nick for a long time, and have been waiting to do a project with him," said Wagner.
The plan is to serve weekday lunch, daily dinner and weekend brunch when the restaurant opens in mid-September.