For years, Daniel del Prado has cut his teeth under lauded chef Isaac Becker and in restaurants from here, to Portland, Ore., to Europe.

Now, Del Prado — who currently operates the kitchen at the popular Burch Steak on Lowry Hill — is ready to open his own place.

Two of them, actually.

After leaving Burch in May, the Argentina-born chef will debut a small barbecue joint in the North Loop, and later, a seafood restaurant in southwest Minneapolis highlighting his varied cooking background. Del Prado, who is teaming with partners Ben Hertz (Penny's Coffee) and John Gross (Minneapolis Holding, a real estate development company) didn't want to reveal the exact locations until the leases are finalized.

"I'm excited," said Del Prado. "It's going to be a busy year for me, but I feel like I've got a lot of support in the community."

Look for the barbecue, tentatively named Diamond BBQ, to debut in mid-June with a menu heavy on craft cocktails and smoke-laden, Texas-style meats. Del Prado said the restaurant will be "small budget" with just 60 seats and affordable prices. The star of the lineup will be brisket, brined for a week and then smoked for 12 to 14 hours. Other anticipated offerings include pork ribs and house-made German and Polish sausages. As for sides, he promises treats such as Frito pie, a Roquefort mac and cheese and seasonal vegetables such as charred broccolini. There will be a craft cocktail program and a wine list that will highlight Champagnes and other sparkling wines.

"I wanted to do something that is not in Minneapolis," Del Prado said. "We're going to keep it very affordable and approachable and kind of traditional, with a hook."

After his first venture is off the ground, Del Prado plans to open a seafood restaurant inspired by his Argentine background and influenced by his Italian heritage.

"It's going to be a lot like some of the seafood we cook at Burch," Del Prado said. "Very rustic with a lot of fire."

The emphasis will be on accessibility.

"I want it to be very simple, very fresh," he said of the eatery he's tentatively calling Martina.

New around town

The wait for Wayzata's lauded new eatery is over.

Bellecour (739 Lake St. E., Wayzata,, the latest project from Spoon and Stable chef Gavin Kaysen, debuted on Wednesday, unveiling a pristine space and French-inspired menu stocked with seafood — including an extensive raw bar — and favorites such as steak frites, croque-madames, rotisserie chicken and duck à l'orange. Pastry chef Diane Yang is operating the small bakery in the front of the restaurant, churning out fresh breads, croissants, cakes and other confections.

Meanwhile, Restaurant Nine Twenty-Five (925 Lake St. E., at the upcoming Hotel Landing in Wayzata is getting closer to a reveal after announcing that former Lucia's chef Ryan Lund would be taking over the kitchen.

Lund — who left Lucia's in September after about a decade at the helm — and the rest of the crew at Hotel Landing anticipate a summer opening.

And last weekend, St. Louis Park's first distillery room, the new Copperwing's cozy space at 6409 Cambridge St., opened its doors.

Copperwing ( specializes in whiskey, but also pours a vodka and a "vodskey" — an accidental discovery that lands somewhere between whiskey and vodka. It also has a sweet vermouth and a brandy in the works. Big Watt Beverage Co., the company behind Five Watt Coffee shops and Big Watt bitters, will be handling the cocktail program at Copperwing.

Edina goodbye

Mozza Mia (3910 W. 50th St.,, a pizza eatery in Edina's 50th and France neighborhood, called it quits last weekend after 6½ years in business. Parasole Restaurant Holdings will honor gift certificates at its other restaurants, which include Manny's, Salut, Chino Latino, Libertine and Burger Jones.

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