Open and shut

After 31 years, Vescio’s Cucina (4001 County Road 25, St. Louis Park) has called it quits.

The Italian restaurant’s Dinkytown location, Vescio’s Originalé (406 14th Av. SE., Mpls., 612-378-1747,, remains open. And, yes, it’s still serving its rib-sticking college student special: all-you-can-eat pasta (spaghetti or rigatoni) for just $7.95 at lunch and $9.95 (includes a soft drink) at dinner. A student ID is required.

Now open: Upton 43 (4312 Upton Av. S., Mpls., 612-920-3406,, the contemporary Nordic restaurant from Erick Harcey, chef/owner of Victory 44 (2203 44th Av. N., Mpls., 612-588-2228,

Harcey is translating his Swedish grandparents’ home cooking through the prism of his considerable skill set. Expect modern takes on Bonnie Ramberg’s beef-pork meatballs and Willard Ramberg’s lutefisk, plus pickled herring, poached salmon and pressed duck.

Dinner is served daily, with one small holiday scheduling caveat: The restaurant is closed through Dec. 26 for Christmas.

Also open: Heirloom (2186 Marshall Av., St. Paul, 651-493-7267,, where chef/owner Wyatt Evans (formerly of W.A. Frost & Co.) is promising “contemporary farmhouse cuisine,” which, on his seasonal menu, currently translates to pasta tossed with sage and acorn squash, brisket with preserved mustard greens, pork jowl with slow-roasted cabbage and a sweet potato purée, and a duck egg custard topped with cranberry preserves.

Top price is $18, a sign that Evans is sticking to the “neighborhood” side of his business plan’s equation.

Dinner is served Tuesday through Sunday (the restaurant is closed Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Day), and there’s a $12-and-under Sunday brunch that features house-baked pastries, biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs with ham and hash browns, smoked trout with pickled onions and soft-cooked eggs.

Meanwhile, at Lyn 65

Speaking of Sunday brunch, it’s now being served at Lyn 65 Kitchen & Bar (6439 Lyndale Av. S., Richfield, 612-353-5501, Look for waffles topped with chef/owner Ben Rient’s first-rate fried chicken, a breakfast-style ramen (with house-made noodles), house-made bagels with lox, and more.

Spring can’t come fast enough for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is that’s when the restaurant’s food truck will make its debut.

Look for the Wyn 65 (it’s a decked out 1979 Winnebago-like recreational cruiser, one that’s “very tricky and fun to drive,” said chef Jason Sawicki) to pop up at Twin Cities breweries, hawking that incredible fried chicken, as well as the kitchen’s crazy-good bologna sandwich, and other goodies.

Celebrity chef

Kaskaid Hospitality — the juggernaut behind Crave, Burger Burger, Zio Cucina, Union and Avenida, is taking on a spokesperson.

He’s Daniel Green, author of healthy-eating cookbooks and a familiar face to watchers of the Food Network’s “Kitchen Inferno.”

“We felt we needed someone who would be our ambassador, to tell our story,” said Kaskaid head honcho Kam Talebi. “He’s going to create some new options on our menus for healthier eating, that’s his passion.”

Green’s menu updates will start appearing at Crave next month.