Rachel Booth had long dreamed about opening an ice cream shop, and a few months ago the vision was set into action — when she took over a northeast Minneapolis nook and left her job as general manager at the Sheridan Room.
But Crepe & Spoon (crepeandspoon.com, 339 22nd Av. NE., Mpls.), when it debuts sometime in December, will hardly be a typical frozen treat emporium.
First, there’s the vegan focus. Booth is opting to use coconut and almond milks instead of traditional cream in most of the flavors (maybe eight of 10 total) and rely on seasonal produce and herbs. The crêpes won’t contain animal products, either, though Booth and business partner Michael Beachy are mulling whether to also include regular non-vegan crêpes.
“The biggest thing was just to create new options,” said Booth, who was responsible for developing off-the-beaten-path ice cream flavors such as popcorn, basil and black pepper at the Sheridan Room. “Flavors that speak for themselves rather than just the fat content. We want people to feel good about eating it.”
And there’s a further twist. Booth, who comes from a bar management background, is creating an alcohol-free “cocktail program” for the frosty lineup. Booth’s vision is to celebrate the ingredients rather than the hooch.
That means a gin and tonic is made by infusing an ice cream base with flavors of juniper berries and quinine, a major ingredient in tonic. And an old fashioned would incorporate rye (the grain, not the whiskey), cherries and oranges.
That concept could eventually make its way to the crêpe side, too, but at the moment Booth is only committing to a jam crêpe, using house-made preserves. Although the building — a former storage building for a liquor store — is zoned for a liquor license, don’t expect any actual cocktails for now.
“For now we’re just keeping it simple — ice cream and crêpes,” Booth said.
She is currently waiting for a city permit to begin construction on the 870-square-foot space.
More news around town: Salty Tart in St. Paul
The year of expansion continues for Salty Tart (saltytart.com).
Last week, pastry chef Michelle Gayer signed a deal to join the new Market House Collaborative (289 E. 5th St., St. Paul), the ambitious Lowertown project in the former Heartland Restaurant & Wine Bar space, led by renowned chef Tim McKee.
Salty Tart will be operating a counter-service bakery and cafe in the space formerly occupied by Heartland’s market.
Market House collaborative will also include a butcher shop and a seafood-forward restaurant from McKee, chef of the former La Belle Vie restaurant and now a partner with the Fish Guys, a wholesale seafood company. The project is expected to debut this fall.
Earlier this summer, Gayer moved production from her Midtown Global Market kitchen to a larger facility in south Minneapolis and debuted a kiosk at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. A new kiosk is under construction at the Midtown Global Market to replace the Salty Tart’s original home.
On the docket
The next Super Bowl is coming to the Twin Cities, and that doesn’t just mean great football, but great food events, as well. Taste of the NFL, a nonprofit dedicated to hunger relief, will be holding galas around town all season, beginning with Sunday’s Party With a Purpose at U.S. Bank Stadium. Chef Thomas Boemer of Corner Table and Revival will provide the food. Tickets are $50 and available at eventbrite.com. Additionally, Mission American Kitchen and Bar in downtown will also host a Taste of the NFL lunch and live auction the following day for $100 per guest. James Beard award-winning chef Susan Spicer, who is based in New Orleans, will be cooking at both events.
And the American Swedish Institute’s annual signature event — Cocktails at the Castle — is back on Sept. 15. This year, the indoor/outdoor festivities will celebrate women, featuring musical artists Lady Midnight, Lady Lark and DJ Keezy, beer from Urban Growler Brewery and a pop-up shop by My Sister. Tickets are $17 for members and $20 for nonmembers, at asimn.org.