A possible indication of an economic recovery is that long-empty restaurant spaces are taking on new tenants. One example: the former Indio in Uptown Minneapolis (1221 W. Lake St.) is on its way to becoming Darbar India Grill.
"It has long been my dream to open a restaurant in Uptown," said owner Diljit Singh. "There are very nice guests over there. They already know and appreciate Indian food."
As the owner of four popular India Palace restaurants (Roseville, Burnsville, Woodbury and Plymouth, www.indiapalacemn.com), it's a culinary category Singh certainly knows well.
His Uptown location won't resemble his other restaurants. No lunch buffet, for starters. Instead, the kitchen will feature an exhibition tandoori oven ("So people can see the oven at work," he said) that will roast free-range chickens, among other ingredients, and the menu will also focus on grilled items served small-plate-style. The restaurant, which will serve lunch and dinner, will also feature a full bar and a patio.
Construction is underway ("We've already put everything in the Dumpster and are starting new," he said) and Singh hopes to open the restaurant in mid-August.Around town
Bad news for Eden Prairie diners: Kabobi has closed. "It's a great concept, but the location wasn't good," said co-owner Gholam-Abbass Shahbazi, who said that the fast-casual concept is down, but not out. "We're looking at different places, and this time we want to be sure that we find the right place for it."
Get ready to say goodbye to Azia (2550 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., www.aziarestaurant.com). The Eat Street restaurant's last day is Aug. 8, with a brunch that morning/afternoon and a farewell bash that evening. Its replacement, Thom Pham's Wondrous Azian Kitchen (533 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.) is scheduled to open in mid-August.
RICK NELSONRecent openings
Burger Moe's, 242 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-222-3100, www.burgermoes.com
Faces Mears Park, 380 Jackson St. (Cray Plaza), St. Paul, 651-209-7776, www.facesmearspark.com
Heartland, 289 E. 5th St., St. Paul, 651-699-3536, www.heartlandrestaurant.com
Parma 8200, 5600 W. 83rd St., Bloomington, 952-896-8888, www.parma8200.com
Patisserie 46, 4552 Grand Av. S., Mpls., 612-354-3257, www.patisserie46.com
Sauce Pizza & Wine, 1610 West End Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-657-5020, www.mnsauce.com
Travail Kitchen Amusements, 4154 W. Broadway Av., Robbinsdale, 763-535-1131
Twisted Fork Grille, 1342 Grand Av., St. Paul, 651-690-5901, www.twistedforkgrille.com
Uptown Cafeteria and Support Group, 3001 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-877-7263, www.uptowncafeteria.com