A new cocktail bar is coming to northeast Minneapolis from the team behind StepChld, and it's right next door.

WildChld is slated to open this spring in the former Hyde space at 24 University Av. NE. It's an offshoot of Kamal Mohamed's Ethiopian- and globally inspired restaurant, and will have light bites from the same kitchen.

The bar program will be led by Bridgit Loeffelholz, the creative director of St. Louis Park German-style distillery Dampfwerk.

At Dampfwerk, Loeffelholz is responsible for some of the most cutting-edge cocktails in the metro, all made with the distillery's fruit brandies, whiskeys and herbal liqueurs. WildChld gives her the opportunity to branch out beyond the limitations of distillery cocktail rooms, which can only use the spirits produced on-site.

"It's a different form of creativity," Loeffelholz said. "At the distillery, I have to work with what I have, to create a balanced cocktail. Now, I'm going to be creative in a different way, but I get to choose who I work with. This is definitely my first foray into the breadth of this industry and working in the same ballpark as everyone else."

Loeffelholz is still devising the menu, but fans of Dampfwerk's unique cocktails can expect some similarities.

"My passion has always been around fruit brandy. Every person I talk to, they're like, 'how many fruit brandy cocktails are you going to have on the menu?' I'm like, ooh, that's a tough question," she said. "But it's going to definitely have the ethos of what we do at the Dampfwerk."

"And the fun thing is Kamal trusts me," she added. "So that's reassuring."

There's cocktail news at StepChld, too. After maintaining a robust wine program since its opening in 2021, the restaurant recently got a full liquor license and will be adding cocktails to the menu by next week.

WildChld is currently under construction, and its freshly painted rust-colored walls are going for a "desert sunset vibe," Mohamed said. It will be a place to grab a drink while waiting for a table at the restaurant, or to retire to for a nightcap afterward.

The bar joins another new venture from Mohamed on the next corner: Parcelle, a sun-filled, health-focused organic cafe, with a Wesley Andrews coffee bar, that opened in January.

With three businesses on one street, Mohamed is putting his stamp on this busy corridor just over the bridge from downtown Minneapolis. "This block, we're going to have something for breakfast, lunch, dinner and now cocktails," he said.

Mohamed is also part of the family behind the expanding Nashville Coop.

If that sounds like a lot for one business owner, it is.

"I think after this year, I'm going to slow down just to let some of these things percolate and breathe," Mohamed said.

Tavern Grill opening in Eagan

Raise a glass, the Tavern Grill is coming to the Viking Lakes campus in Eagan, just across the street from the Minnesota Vikings' headquarters.

Like the other Taverns, all owned by Minnesota-based Hemisphere Restaurants, the scratch menu will be brimming with burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and salads, and have a full bar, patio and plenty of seating. Buildout of the space, adjacent to Vikings Lake Residences, will start this spring, with an anticipated late-summer opening.

The Viking Lakes location will be the 11th Tavern Grill, including seven in the Twin Cities as well as restaurants in Bismarck and Fargo, N.D., West Des Moines, Iowa, and Sioux Falls, S.D.

Café Cerés expands, again

Chef Shawn McKenzie's Café Cerés is still in expansion mode. Almost exactly a year from opening the downtown Minneapolis location, a fourth spot quietly opened within walking distance of Minnehaha Falls, on the ground floor of the Wakpada apartment complex (4603 Minnehaha Av. S., Mpls., cafeceresmpls.com). Get your pastries and Turkish coffee daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Waffle-centric coffee shop closing original location

Black Coffee and Waffle Bar has announced it will leave its original location (1500 Como Av. SE., Mpls.) on March 17. The business made the announcement via social media, but spun it as a bad news-good news situation. The good news is that Black Coffee's outposts in Rosedale Center and on Marshall Avenue in St. Paul will continue to serve coffee and a variety of sweet- and savory-topped waffles. The other good news? Vitality Roasters is moving into the Como Avenue space.

More accolades for Owamni

Add USA Today to the publications honoring Owamni (420 S. 1st St., Mpls., owamni.com) as one of its best restaurants of 2024. The list of 47 restaurants honors chef Sean Sherman's vision for Indigenous food and his support for Indigenous producers. Owamni opened in 2021 to much fanfare, from its groundbreaking menu devoid of colonial ingredients to its stellar patio and picturesque setting along the Mississippi River, on Native land. The restaurant just ended its winter tasting menu, and will reopen Feb. 23 for lunch and dinner. And, unlike the reservations-only tasting menu, walk-ins are once again available.

It's almost Eagan Restaurant Week

The fourth annual Eagan Restaurant Week begins Feb. 26, with more than 15 restaurants participating. New this year is a mobile pass — diners sign up for the free program at eaganrestaurantweek.com, and when Restaurant Week officially starts, the pass is delivered to diners' phones via text and email with details of participating restaurants and special offers and menus. (No app to download, hooray.) Eagan Restaurant Week runs through March 3, and is a project of Enjoy Eagan.

Staff writers Nicole Hvidsten and Joy Summers contributed to this report.