It turns out that there are happy endings. Blackbird, which was destroyed by fire Feb. 18, is reopening next week in its new location (3800 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., www.blackbirdmpls.com), pending city inspections. "I'd say the middle of next week," said co-owner Gail Mollner.
The new Blackbird, roughly 2 miles northeast of the original, is larger than its predecessor -- roughly 75 seats vs. 42 -- but it still features a counter, where diners can watch chef Chris Stevens (Mollner's husband and business partner) and his crew do the cooking. Mollner said the menu has evolved somewhat, but will include fan favorites such as spicy peanut noodles, crispy duck rolls and Stevens' memorable take on the banh mi.
One feature that made the move is the dining room's quirky, eye-catching antler collection. Some of it somehow survived the fire, and the couple are adding two sets of donated antlers -- one was a gift from their electrician, another from a new neighbor -- to the mix. Same hours, too: lunch and dinner daily, and weekend breakfast. Welcome back.Around town
Kim and Kari Bartmann, the sisters behind Bryant-Lake Bowl, Barbette and Red Stag Supperclub, are getting into the gastropub business. They're converting the former Casey's Bar into Pat's Tap (3510 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls.), promising local microbrews, organic wines, full liquor and a traditional bar menu (by Barbette chef Kevin Kathman) produced with locally raised ingredients. Why Pat? It's their mother's name.
Now open: Dogwood Coffee Co. (3001 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., www.dogwoodcoffee.com), specializing in brewed-to-order coffees and espressos made with an ever-changing variety of coffee varietals. The Calhoun Square shop is owned by Greg Hoyt, former owner of the Bull Run Roasting Co.
Palomino (825 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., www.palomino.com) is going out in style. The restaurant, which is being replaced by Crave, is offering a different weekly special through its closing event on Dec. 11. First up (through Nov. 7): $5 off every lunch entree, and $5 pomegranate-lemonade cocktails; a portion of the proceeds benefit the House of Charity's public meals program. Check out each week's farewell bargains at www.palominolastcall.com.
Well, that was fast: Sauce Pizza & Wine, which opened in late June, has closed. The space, located in the Shops at West End development in St. Louis Park, is being repurposed as a private dining room for the adjacent Rojo Mexican Grill (1602 West End Blvd., www.rojomexicangrill.com). In other West End news, Little Szechuan (422 W. University Av., St. Paul, www.littleszechuan.com) just signed a lease to open a second location in the complex, next door to Kieran Folliard's popular Cooper Pub & Restaurant.
Also on the planning boards: Three concepts from New Orleans-based Doyle Restaurant Group, including La Crêpe Nanou, the Wine Loft wine bar and Huey's 24/7 Diner. "I'd say that the first quarter of 2011 is a realistic opening date," said senior property manager Michael Landstad.
Speaking of 24/7, American Pie Pizza (6529 Nicollet Av. S., Richfield, www.americanpiepizza.org) delivers its entire all-American menu -- pizzas, ribs, salads, burgers, broasted chicken and more -- all day and all night, 365 days a year, in Bloomington, Richfield, Edina, south Minneapolis and downtown Minneapolis.