As one Mexican restaurant plans to open its first full-service home, another is saying goodbye.

El Jefe Cocina & Bar, in Minneapolis' Tangletown neighborhood, is closing Aug. 20 after five years at 5309 Lyndale Av. S. By mid-October, that address will have a new tenant: El Sazon Cocina & Tragos.

This new restaurant comes from the team behind El Sazon Tacos & More — the popular Eagan gas station taco stand that turned a convenience store into a fine dining establishment on select evenings.

By day, chef/owner Cristian De Leon will continue turning out tacos, burritos and bowls with his signature braised meats. By evening, diners will get a glimpse of his hot-ticket tasting dinners, with stunningly plated dishes such as ceviche, and salmon with wild rice. Zoilo Ruacho, who devised nonalcoholic cocktails for the gas station dinners, is working on a bar program for the new Minneapolis location.

Instead of folding tables set up among displays of energy drinks and bait, this permanent home will display works from local artists. But it will remain "casual, with some upscale dishes," said co-owner Karen De Leon.

"Our slogan for this place is 'Welcome to our casa,'" Karen said. "Welcome to our home."

The De Leons launched El Sazon in March 2022 at a BP (1815 Diffley Road, Eagan,, both of them coming from long careers in restaurants. They first hosted "Night at the Gas Station" last December as an opportunity for Cristian to share more of his fine-dining skills. The sit-down meal with drink pairings was an instant hit, with each subsequent dinner selling out.

The new spot will be open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Brunch will be served on the weekends. The Eagan location will remain open.

El Jefe, meanwhile, also has found a new home. In addition to its food truck appearances at farmers markets and beyond, it is now the resident restaurant inside the James Ballentine "Uptown" VFW (2916 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls.), serving tacos seven days a week, including weekend brunch.

Venezuelan cuisine comes to St. Paul

After months of waiting, Crasqui, the new restaurant from Venezuelan chef Soleil Ramirez, opens Aug. 10 in the West Side Flats building (84 Wabasha St., Suite 3, St. Paul,

Ramirez, who also owns and operates Arepa Bar in Midtown Global Market, has crafted a menu that draws inspiration from the Caribbean island the restaurant is named for. There is grouper ceviche with guava pearls, salad with hearts of palm and arugula dressed in chimichurri, and a showstopping rib-eye served with chorizo, crispy morcilla and guasacaca. There are several gluten-free and vegetarian options, too.

Crasqui will be open for dinner 4-9 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 4-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and 4-8 p.m. Sun. and weekend brunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.-Sun.

Minneapolis' most anticipated hummus house is now open

Baba's Hummus House is now open at 2220 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., from sibling business partners Rana Kamal and Khalid Ansari. The duo is also behind a line of hummus by the same name ( and the popular State Fair stand. Much like the bowls that fairgoers know and love, there are hummus bowls on the menu, as well as grab-and-go hummus and pita bread. The menu also expands into coffee drinks and Palestinian flatbread with a variety of toppings, and there's also a market and bakery. Baba's is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The prettiest alley in Loring Park now has a coffee shop

Fawkes Alley Coffee is now open behind Gai Noi near Loring Park (1621 Harmon Place, Mpls., The business is set up as a nonprofit benefiting the Futsal Society, which promotes making soccer accessible to city kids. The menu is fairly short and standard with a few food snacks in addition to the beverages. It's open daily from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

It's game time for Union Hmong Kitchen

For those longing for those rich, spicy sausages from Union Hmong Kitchen at U.S. Bank stadium, the wait is over. They will soon be added to the food lineup during the Vikings season, plus the sausages are bringing the Mee-ka burger along for the ride. The rice powder-seasoned smash burgers from the UHK pop-up will soon be available at the stadium, too.

Crooked Pint continues to grow

The locally owned Crooked Pint Ale House opened its 15th location recently in Mankato (1850 Madison Av., With classic pub fare and a lengthy tap list, the two-story Mankato restaurant also features a large patio, indoor golf simulators, duckpin bowling, video game areas, pickleball courts and a Green Mill on the Go outpost.