A long-dormant corner of the busy Lyn-Lake intersection has been revived.
Hasty Tasty (701 W. Lake St., Mpls., thehastytastympls.com), a restaurant and bar from Michael Veazey and former Commodore chef Chris Gerster, debuted on Wednesday. Veazey owned the former Falafel King, which was housed there until 2014.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s not the first eatery called Hasty Tasty to grace the Twin Cities. Back in the 1940s and ’50s, a series of cafes and sandwich shops with that moniker developed a passionate following.
But the latest iteration, while harking on the sentimentality of the former, will have an identity that’s all new.
“I love the name,” said Gerster, who left the Commodore in September. “It just says something fun to us. It’s catchy and it’s a little bit nostalgic in keeping the Minnesota vibe. We’re rebooting it with a totally different concept.”
Gerster’s and Veazey’s approach will be centered around a wood-fired rotisserie and smoker custom-made in Texas.
“It’s the type of smoker that’s typically used in Texas for brisket,” Gerster said. “But we’re going to use it for new American flavors, and as more of a flavor vehicle than a cooking tool.”
There will be some barbecue — mostly internationally inspired, such as the tamarind-glazed ribs — but Gerster will also infuse smoke into his vegetable- and grain-forward dishes, such as the coconut risotto with charred broccoli, fried peanuts and lime. Most items will come in two different sizes to give diners the option to treat them like a side or a full meal. And chalkboard specials — think lobster or braised pot roast — will be regulars, as well.
Bittercube, meanwhile, has devised a cocktail program for the restaurant, according to what Gerster calls the malt-shop-meets-whiskey-bar theme. There’s also wine and beer on tap, and an Italian slushie machine swirling up frozen cocktails.
“It’s going to be fun,” Gerster said. “There will be hints of a diner style. Lots of bold colors. It feels like a place where people are going to want to come and hang.”
Northeast Minneapolis newbies
The anticipated sequel from Hola Arepa owners Christina Nguyen and Birk Grudem is here.
Hai Hai (2121 University Av. NE., Mpls., 612-223-8640, haihaimpls.com), a Southeast Asian street foods restaurant and cocktail lounge, opened in the site of a former strip club on Wednesday, revealing a tropical atmosphere filled with live plants, hanging bird cages and gold accents.
“The decor is inspired by the Vietnamese city of Hoi An,” Grudem said of Hai Hai, which replaces the former 22nd Ave. Station. “We love it there, and we tried to re-create the feeling of that romantic city.”
As for the food? Expect the likes of wontons, spring rolls and shrimp on stalks of sugar cane from Nguyen. The cocktails, via Grudem, will include an Old Fashioned featuring a house-made Vietnamese cinnamon liqueur and a margarita made with green mango-steeped tequila.
Hai Hai has new neighbors, too. Across the street, Crepe & Spoon (339 22nd Av. NE., Mpls., crepeandspoon.com), a small shop serving up sweet and savory crêpes along with 12 ice cream flavors, debuted last week.
With a base made from a blend of coconut and almond milks, all but two flavors of the ice creams are dairy-free, with varieties that include piña colada, chocolate rye and popcorn. As for crêpes, flavor combos range from butter, jam and lemon curd to bacon and arugula and ham and cheese. Here, too, vegan options shine — the bacon and ham are both faux, via Herbivorous Butcher.
First Avenue to open its second bar
The owners of Minneapolis’ First Avenue music club are opening a new bar and restaurant — this time in St. Paul.
In 2010, the club debuted the Depot Tavern, a casual pub that abuts the club. Now they’re adding a similarly adjoined bar and restaurant to the big St. Paul venue they co-manage at the Palace Theatre.
The new restaurant will move into the current Wild Tymes location at 33 W. 7th Place. First Avenue took over the lease on Wednesday, then will remodel and rebrand the space.
Right now, there’s no name, and Kranz said the new concept — which he expects to open in spring of 2018 — is still being “fleshed out.”
An international cocktail pop-up with holiday themes has landed in Minneapolis.
Lawless Distilling Co. (2619 28th Av. S., Mpls., lawlessdistilling company.com) is hosting Miracle, a seasonal pop-up that began in New York in 2014, in its distillery room every night until New Year’s Eve. Look for libations like How the Gimlet Stole Christmas, made with spruce syrup, and the hot dog toddies, served in test tubes and heated on a hot dog roller.
Read full reviews and other restaurant news at startribune.com/dining.