New in the North Loop

The latest opening in the Twin Cities’ hottest restaurant neighborhood is Shag (730 Washington Av. N., Mpls.,, serving sushi and cocktails in a back-to-the-1970s setting. It’s the work of restaurateur Michael McDermott, owner of Rojo Mexican Grill (1602 West End Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-657-5385, and Southdale Center, Edina, 952-595-5495, and Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar (921 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-351-1234,



The downtown Minneapolis location of Taste of Thailand (11 S. 7th St.) has quietly closed its doors. The restaurant’s St. Paul location (1671 Selby Av., remains open.

Sorry to see the Daily Diner Frogtown (615 University Av., St. Paul) call it quits. The restaurant, a jobs-training project of Union Gospel Mission, opened in April 2013.


On the newsstand

Once again, GQ’s annual survey of the nation’s top 25 new restaurants — which appears in the magazine’s March 2015 issue — ignored the Twin Cities (the closest that critic Alan Richman got from either coast was Chicago, Houston and Austin). But Architectural Digest has its eye on Minneapolis: Spoon and Stable (211 N. 1st St., Mpls., is featured in the glossy’s March 2015 issue.


Sunday fun day

Can’t handle the seemingly omnipresent line associated with Al’s Breakfast (413 14th Av. SE., Mpls.)? Here’s a fairly well-kept secret: The tiny diner is available for private parties outside its usual hours, typically on Sundays before the 9 a.m. starting time.

“We get people in around 7:45, then shoo them out the door at 5 to 9,” said general manager Alison Kirwin. “Or we’ll usher in people after we’ve closed for the day, around 1:30 p.m., and then it’s more of an open-ended timetable.”

Get a group together (no more than 14, of course, which is the number of stools that line Al’s well-worn counter) for bacon waffles, blueberry-walnut pancakes and eggs Benedict, and a one-of-a-kind experience. A $150 fee buys the room, then it’s regular food, tax and gratuity charges. For reservations, e-mail