When Quang, the acclaimed pho-and-more restaurant, opened with just four tables on Minneapolis' Nicollet Avenue 30 years ago, there wasn't such a thing as "Eat Street." Ten years in, Quang moved to a larger space across the street and didn't change much.
But the neighborhood evolved a lot since then, and now it's the restaurant's turn.
Quang (2719 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-870-4739, quang-restaurant.com) closed last weekend to kick off a weeklong intensive renovation that happened to coincide with the Lunar New Year. The Vietnamese restaurant will reopen Sunday, while work continues till early summer.
"We're conducting a pretty major overhaul," said Quang's social media manager Jarrett Reed, husband of co-owner Sen Reed. "We wanted to make sure we're here for another 30 years."
Quang is working with Christian Dean Architecture on the design. The big changes will be in the front of the house, which gets congested with customers waiting for tables and delivery service workers waiting for order pickups. The aesthetic will also get a refresh, harking back to the building's midcentury modern roots.
Don't worry, pho fans. Founder Lung Tran's classic menu isn't budging. If anything, Reed said, look for more bubble tea and desserts.
The Local expands
Irish pub the Local began its march toward metro domination when its second outpost (of a proposed 10) opened Wednesday in St. Louis Park (1607 Park Place Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-698-2000).
Dubbed the Local West End, the new pub is a remodeled rebrand of the former Cooper, which was part of the same company, Cara Irish Pubs.
The old Cooper looked "more French" in some ways, said Cara Irish Pubs CEO Peter Killen. To Irish up the place, an Ireland-based crew took 35 days to add in tiled floors, lots of dark wood, a new warrior-princess mural above the bar, and "snugs" — wood-and-glass-enclosed booths that now line two walls.
All that new wood makes the restaurant feel smaller, but the footprint has also shrunk: A large backroom was turned into private dining, and a side dining room was closed off. It's now a separate space available for lease.
Chef Vincent Francoual, culinary director for Cara Irish Pubs, is still in charge of the menu, which has changed slightly to match that of the first Local, in downtown Minneapolis (931 Nicollet Mall, 612-904-1000, the-local.com).
Fish and chips, steak-and-potato pie, corned beef and cabbage, pretzel rolls, homemade tater tots and ample salads are some of the offerings. Sunday suppers with a carving station are coming soon.
And, of course, you can still get Francoual's Vincent Burger, made famous at his former Nicollet Mall restaurant, Vincent. An elevated Juicy Lucy made of short rib surrounding melted smoked Gouda, Francoual's namesake was never going away. "We know what sells around here," Killen said.
A 90-mile move
Lucky Rochester. The fast-growing southeastern Minnesota city just scored a culinary coup, landing a James Beard award-winning chef.
He's Paul Berglund, the St. Louis native who made his mark on the Twin Cities dining scene during a six-year (and four-star) run at the Bachelor Farmer. He left that North Loop gig in mid-2017 and has spent the past 18 months as culinary director for Vestalia Hospitality, the company behind Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola and Hello Pizza.
What is taking him to the home of the Mayo Clinic? Love.
"I'm getting married," he said, to Mayo neurologist Dr. Tia Chakraborty. "And I'm moving to Rochester, if that wasn't obvious. And I've found a great job that I'm really excited about."
Berglund is now the culinary and sustainability director of Fiddlehead Coffee Co. The burgeoning enterprise started inside the Forager Brewery in 2017 before matriculating, earlier this week, into its own space.
That new address (412 3rd Av. SE., Rochester, 612-839-1685, fiddleheadcoffee.co) underscores the commitment that co-owners (and siblings-in-law) Patrick and Sarah Phelan have to the region's agricultural community: The restaurant and roastery is located on the street level of a new 92-unit residential building that's across the street from the warm-weather home of the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market, one of the state's top farmers markets. Proximity is everything, right?
"I'm committed to working for the health of the food system in Minnesota," said Berglund. "A big part of the job is seeing that Fiddlehead is committed to tackling issues of food access, and sustainability, and connecting with the local agricultural community."
Berglund is following the lead of another high-profile Twin Cities chef who has relocated to another city in the region: former Surly Brewing Co. chef Jorge Guzman, who is now cooking at the La Crosse Distilling Co. in La Crosse, Wis.
At Fiddlehead, Berglund and chef Brandon Adams are currently offering baked goods in the morning, a grain-bowl-focused lunch menu and a series of small plates in the evening.
"We'll be focusing on local foods, whenever possible," said Berglund. "We're going to do our best to give Rochester the best food that we can."
Ziadi's Mediterranean Cuisine is now open at Midtown Global Market, in what used to be the Rabbit Hole space. It shares owners with Moroccan Flavors, also in the market (920 E. Lake St., Mpls., 612-345-4136, ziadis.com). Marco's Pizza is now making its Ohio-style pies in New Brighton (2051 Silver Lake Road, New Brighton, 651-212-2545). The new franchise joins other metro locations in New Hope, Anoka and Shakopee.
Changes in Bloomington
West Coast-based cookie shop Baking Betty's will be selling its crème brûlée, gingersnap and s'more stuffed cookies when it opens later this year on Level 3 West at the Mall of America (bakingbettys.com). The company is owned by a Minnesota native. In other MOA news, Tiger Sushi has closed, and fans of their sushi will now have to go to Plymouth to get it. Owner Lisa Edevold has partnered with Tiger Sushi general manager Sarah Bernu and with chef Aileen Soufangue to launch Lucky Street (1400 County Road 101 N., Plymouth, 952-208-8890, luckystreetusa.com), which opened last week. The menu features Thai food with a French influence, plus the sushi from Tiger. And Bloomington's Streetz American Grill closed on the first of the year, but coming in March in its place will be a Snuffy's Malt Shop (1200 W. 98th St., Bloomington).
Dogwood Coffee Co. has a new shop and roastery in northeast Minneapolis (1209 NE. Tyler St., Mpls., 612-202-8986, dogwoodcoffee.com). The cafe opened last week, and serves Rustica pastries in the airy warehouse space. Cafe Zupas has come to Ridgedale Mall — the parking lot, anyway. The fast casual restaurant is next to the new indoor sky diving facility (12415 Wayzata Blvd., Minnetonka, 651-435-8470, cafezupas.com). Apple Valley eatery Hawaii Poke is expanding to Eagan in the coming weeks (3345 Central Park Commons Dr., Eagan, hawaiipokeusa.com).
Edina's Wooden Hill Brewing Co. has added two additional fermenters to its system. Less than a year after opening, the brewery is expanding annual production capacity by 70 percent (more than 80,000 gallons). Wooden Hill also added a 1,500-square-foot private event area called the Brewer's Ballroom (7421 Bush Lake Road, Edina, 952-960-9663, woodenhillbrewing.com). And Noodles & Company (multiple locations, noodles.com) has expanded the menu to add some new plant-based dishes, including zoodles — zucchini spirals used in place of noodles.
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