Grand Cafe chef/owner Jamie Malone took over and remade Eastside. Chef David Fhima moved into the Art Deco wonderland known as the Forum Cafeteria and launched Fhima’s Minneapolis. Another architectural thriller — the third-floor balcony overlooking the IDS Crystal Court — reopened as Jolliet House. Prime 6 landed in the City Center spot previously occupied by Rosa Mexicano, and Tavola opened in the new Elliot Park Hotel.
It was a good year for dining in the skyway in downtown Minneapolis, with the appearance of Beancounter Coffeehouse, Los Ocampo, Grey Fox Coffee & Wine Bar, O’Cheeze, Hot Indian Foods and additional locations of Peace Coffee, Green + the Grain and So Good So You.
Other Minneapolis openings include La Mesa, Parallel, Hideaway Burger Bar, Apoy, Sonder Shaker, Standish Cafe and Cafe Meow, the region’s first cat-friendly cafe. Nye’s reopened, in an altered format.
The suburbs witnessed a burst of creative culinary energy. Witness the openings of Lat14 Asian Eatery, Moderna Kouzina, Thirty Bales, Red Sauce Rebellion, Local Roots, La Voya, Pho Lodge, the Dough Room and chef Lenny Russo’s remake of NineTwentyFive. Roseville’s beloved Maverick’s Real Roast Beef reopened, and Rosedale got its own next-generation food court, Revolution Hall. And Travel Channel star — and south Minneapolis resident — Andrew Zimmern chose the Shops at West End in St. Louis Park to debut his Lucky Cricket.
Counter service continues to appeal to restaurateurs — and customers — in ever-increasing numbers, including Funky Grits, Urban Wok, Brim, Fish Bowl Poke, Momma’s Kitchen, Boludo, Mama D’s Kitchen, Surly Pizza Upstairs, Hawaii Poke and Edwards Dessert Kitchen.
Ice cream was also on a roll. Witness the debut of Fletcher’s Ice Cream, La Michoacana Purepecha and Dipped & Debris, along with the expansion of Wonders Ice Cream (Burnsville, the Mall of America and Dinkytown) and the appearance of ice cream scoop cases at Sweet Chow and Edwards Dessert Kitchen.
A handful of food trucks established brick-and-mortar locations, including Hibachi Daruma, R.A. MacSammy’s, Home Street Home, Minnesota Nice Cream, Misfit Coffee and O’Cheeze. Bibuta is landing in Gaviidae Common in early 2019.
And the openings keep coming. Former Upton 43 chef Erick Harcey just launched Willards in Cambridge, Minn.; award-winning cookbook author Raghavan Iyer is the force behind Pizza Karma in Eden Prairie; Guavas Cuban Cafe took over the former Xavi in Minneapolis; Ziadi’s Mediterranean recently opened in the former Rabbit Hole in Midtown Global Market; Piggy Bank is taking a run at the space that was last occupied by Lotus Uptown; and Dirty Martini is up and running in the former Stem Wine Bar and Eatery.