After nearly 40 years as Minneapolis' premier Chinese bakery, Keefer Court will close Dec. 31, the owners announced over the weekend. The bakery (326 Cedar Av. S., keefercourt.com) has been the go-to stop for sweet bean filled treats, sesame balls, curry beef buns and mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Paulina and Sunny Kwan opened Keefer Court as a fortune cookie factory in 1983. In 1995, the bakery spun off and opened in its current Cedar-Riverside location. For the past five years, their daughter, Michelle, has operated the bakery. In a statement on Facebook they said, "We are so sad to say goodbye but have enjoyed so many decades of being part of this wonderful community. You have shown us so much love and appreciation that we will cherish all the friendships and connections we have made over the years. Kwan (Michelle) has spent the past 5 years working tirelessly to take over the family business, and we are so proud of all her hard work!"
Now, the Kwans will settle into retirement as Michelle pursues her own passions.
Since the pandemic, the bakery has remained takeout and delivery-only, but the love for those flavors with just the right amount of sweet has remained strong. In November, Keefer Court was named one of the Star Tribune's 40 Iconic Restaurants.
Coffee comes back to a familiar Lyn-Lake location
SK Coffee, the specialty coffee shop and roaster in St. Paul's Vandalia Tower, has announced plans to open a second shop at 24th Street and Lyndale Avenue S. in Minneapolis. The coffee-loving location was most recently Misfit Coffee and before that was the original Muddy Waters location.
SK Coffee is known for sourcing single-origin and rare coffees while working with the farmers who grow them. The new shop is under construction and expected to open in early 2023.
Dinner now served at the Lynhall
The Lynhall is finally running on all cylinders again. First, a new pastry chef (Jeremy Intille), and now executive chef Natalie Allesee has brought back supper at the original Lyndale Avenue location (2640 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., thelynhall.com). Entrees include dishes like mushroom cappelletti with parsnips, kale, preserved lemon and duxelle ($24); or a Ploughman's burger ($18) with a double Peterson beef patty, caramelized onions, smoked Carr Valley cheddar, special sauce and pickles, served with fries. Dinner is served Thu.-Sun.
Although it might be a bit early to think about the festival of light, the Lynhall also has opened up preordering for Hanukkah treats like sufganiyot, babka, challah and more.
Pajarito brings back lunch
In other expanding-hours news, Pajarito, the Mexican restaurant from Stephen Hesse and Tyge Nelson, is resuming lunch service at its St. Paul location, too (605 W. 7th St., pajaritorestaurant.com), opening at 11 a.m. Wed.-Sun. The Edina location (3910 W. 50th St.) serves lunch daily. That juicy beef torta is calling.
East Side Bar is closing
St. Paul's ESB, or East Side Bar, is closing Dec. 23. Announced via social media, the statement read in part: "We're also very grateful to our regular customers, who went above and beyond to try to make this work. But it just wasn't to be."
Opened in the midst of the pandemic, the bar (858 Payne Av., esbstp.com) was known for its comfort food and great beer selection. Stop by for one more round of curry fries before its last day. ESB will keep its current operating hours until then.
Tequila Butcher won't be back this summer
One final bit of news from Bummerville is that Tequila Butcher on Lake Minnetonka won't return for another season. The Misfits Hospitality Collective ownership group (which also owns the Bourbon Butcher, Farmer and the Fishmonger and the newly revamped Shakopee House, among others) announced that its lease was not renewed.
Culinary awards recognize two locals
Sue Zelickson and Zoë François were both honored with 2022 IACP Awards. The International Association of Culinary Professionals recognize individuals in the industry across the country and is a highly sought after award. François won the baking cookbook award for "Zoë Bakes Cakes," which works to cover every kind of basic cake with detailed and easy-to-follow directions. The Minneapolis-based pastry chef is also the host of Magnolia Network's cooking show "Zoë Bakes."
Meanwhile, food media legend, James Beard Award-winner and national treasure Sue Zelickson was honored with a lifetime achievement award. Zelickson has hosted radio shows, authored cookbooks, created an entire food world award show, and advocated for countless small makers and chefs in the Twin Cities food world.