Keeping track of restaurant openings is a bit like following the Vikings' losses; it's tough to keep up. Here goes.
In Season (5416 Penn Av. S., Mpls., www.inseasonrestaurant. com) has opened. Catch chef Don Saunders' late-fall menu (braised rabbit ragout over fresh papardelle, butternut squash soup with pumpkinseed oil) through early December, when he makes the seasonal switch to winter. Entrees average $19.
The team behind the Strip Club has taken over the former home of Subo and launched the Inn (89 S. 10th St., Mpls., www.inneats.com). Chef Tyge Nelson (formerly of Barrio and La Belle Vie) is serving dinner Monday through Saturday, with dishes such as chicken poached in a bacon broth, house-cured Lake Superior herring and a burger made with grass-fed beef and topped with a foie gras mousse and a fried egg. Sandwiches average $15; entrees hover around $19.
Meritage (410 St. Peter St., St. Paul, www.meritage-stpaul.com) is taking a short break to ready itself for its expansion: a much larger kitchen (with a chef's table) and a new zinc-topped bar and raw bar. "Our goal is to have the best shellfish program in town," said chef/co-owner Russell Klein. The restaurant will be closed through Dec. 3 and will reopen quietly on Dec. 4, with a Dec. 7 grand re-opening.
Look for Hazel's Northeast to land any day now in the former Pop! (2859 NE. Johnson St., Mpls., www.hazelsnortheast.com). After growing up working for their father and uncle at the Travelers Inn Restaurant in Alexandria, Minn., brothers and co-owners Adam and Andrew Sieve went their separate ways -- education and banking, respectively -- before returning to the family business with this new breakfast-lunch-dinner venture.
"We're coming back to our roots," said Adam Sieve. "We come from a small town, and Northeast feels like its own separate community, so it feels very normal to us here. We love the neighborhood."
As for the food, "We want to have a family restaurant, much like Pop! was, so we'll be doing classic American comfort food, with a twist," he said. That means biscuits and gravy, corned beef hash and black bean cakes with eggs at breakfast, sandwiches and salads at lunch, and braised short ribs, wild rice ravioli and Swedish meatballs at dinner.
"We grew up with them, and we love them," he said. "Pop! was known for its Swedish meatballs, so we've been having this existential argument about doing them, because we don't want people to think we're ripping them off."
The brothers Sieve are aiming for an early December opening. Oh, and the name? It's an affectionate nod to a nickname for their late grandmother, Helen Sieve.
Besides a much-needed new look for Tucci Benucch (goodbye, dusty fake Italian tchotchkes and hello, sleek Italian country farmhouse look; first floor, West Market, www.leye.com), the Mall of America's latest is a branch of Dallas-based Paciugo Gelato & Caffe (third floor, West Market, www.paciugo.com), now scooping frozen deliciousness and pouring coffee.
Peace Coffee fans will be happy to learn that the popular Minneapolis roaster has opened its first coffeehouse. Peace Coffee - Wonderland Park Coffee Shop (3262 Minnehaha Av. S., www.peacecoffeeshop.com) is brewing the roaster's small-batch specialty beans and serving bagels from Common Roots Cafe and baked goods from the bakehouse at the Wedge Co-op.
In other breaking coffee news, People's Organic Coffee & Wine Cafe is set to open Dec. 4 in the Galleria in Edina. Lynn Gordon, founder of the French Meadow Bakery & Cafe, is the driving force behind the new casual cafe, which will feature lunch and dinner, coffee, beer and wine.
Total bummer: The Creamery, a terrific day-trip destination in Downsville, Wis., has closed.