Spring has sprung for restaurant concepts whose ideas were sown long before the thaw. Now, Twin Cities eaters reap the rewards, with dozens of recent restaurant openings — and many more to come. Here’s just a sample of the latest crop.
Minnesota Nice Cream (308 E. Chestnut St., Stillwater, mnnicecream.com): Colorful, glitter-topped soft-serve ice cream has gone from a truck to a northeast Minneapolis brick and mortar. Last month, it expanded to Stillwater, in the former Wedge & Wheel.
Hamburguesas el Gordo (1731 S. Robert St., West St. Paul, gordoburgers.com): After losing its lease in St. Paul, the famed Del Gordo burger is back, along with tacos and hot dogs inspired by northern Mexico street vendors.
T-Rex Cookie (525 Diffley Road, Eagan, 612-345-5815, trexcookie.com): Displaced from its Minneapolis address due to redevelopment, Tina Rexing’s giant cookie bakery is now open in Eagan. She’s also building a food truck.
Jinx Tea (4503 S. France Av., Mpls., 612-965-0107, jinxtea.com): A food truck devoted just to teas has gone brick-and-mortar. The new Linden Hills store features 12 taps of cold brew tea, including one kombucha. Those go into cold-crafted nonalcoholic cocktails, like the “matcharita.” Carbonated teas, not-too-sweet bubble tea and hot steeped teas round out the menu at this family-owned spot.
Cobble Social House (213 N. 3rd Av., Mpls., 612-345-5463, cobblempls.com): It’s not really a cocktail bar, but there will be cocktails. It’s not exactly a restaurant, but food is served. You won’t notice a sign, but when you spy the golden eye, you’ve arrived. If the introduction to Cobble Social House sounds like a riddle, that suits the “alluring curiosity” owners envisioned for this new enigmatic North Looper. Cobble has dubbed itself a “social house,” a small speakeasy-like place with a very limited number of seats, an intimate feel and a selection of wine, beer, cocktails and elevated drinking snacks.
Elephant Bar (213 E. 4th St., St. Paul, 651-300-5476, elephant.bar): In the former home of Hygga Cafe in Lowertown St. Paul, former Third Bird/Tilia chef Lucas Almendinger is shepherding a menu of New American fare with flavors from the Indian subcontinent (think Tikka Masala chicken wings and cornmeal paratha with mint chutney).
Benedict’s (10 E. Center St., Rochester, benedictsrochester.com): The Wayzata diner from executive chef Mike Rakun opens its second location in the new Hilton Rochester. Breakfast, lunch, brunch, “morning cocktails” and happy hour are on the menu at the skyway-accessible, daytime-only spot, designed by Shea Inc. Opening June 24.
Brick & Bourbon (119 S. 5th Av., St. Cloud; 12900 Technology Dr., Eden Prairie, brickandbourbon.com): With locations in Stillwater and Maple Grove, this comfort food-and-craft-cocktail restaurant continues its expansion to St. Cloud this summer. And overlooking Purgatory Creek Park, another Brick & Bourbon will be located in the Elevate at Southwest Station Apartments currently under construction in Eden Prairie. It’s the southwest metro’s chance at menu items such as a candied bacon flight, chocolate cigars and Reuben soup in a crock. Opening by the end of 2019.
Unnamed winery (411 N. Washington Av., Mpls., schramvineyards.com): The team behind Schram Vineyards in Waconia and Schram Haus Brewery in Chaska is opening a North Loop winery in the Internet Exchange Building, designed by Shea. Wine will be produced on site, and there will be a bar, tasting area and outdoor space. Opening in 2020.
Hannah Sayle contributed to this report.