Red Cow expanding to St. Paul's Cathedral Hill

Less than a year after opening the perpetually packed Red Cow (3624 W. 50th St., Minneapolis,, owner Luke Shimp is already in expansion mode.

A second version of the modern-day tavern is currently scheduled to open in late April in the Cathedral Hill address currently occupied by Costello's Bar & Grill (393 Selby Av., St. Paul,

"The takeover date of Costello's is up in the air," said Shimp. "But we're probably looking at sometime shortly after the first of the year."

During the intervening months, the space will undergo a renovation ("My goal is to make it look and feel the same as the original Red Cow, and create a brand around it," said Shimp) that will include a much-needed kitchen expansion and the addition of a patio on the building's west side.

Red Cow chef Evan Connolly will move to St. Paul and oversee menus similar to the restaurant's Minneapolis counterpart, continuing to emphasize shareable small plates, premium burgers — beef, bison, elk, lamb, chicken, turkey, tuna and curried chickpea — and a wide-ranging weekend brunch.

One difference is that the St. Paul property comes with a full liquor license (the Minneapolis Red Cow has wine and beer only).

"It's going to be fun to add that spirit component to the concept," said Shimp.

He isn't stopping there.

"There's nothing concrete, but we're in talks with two landlords right now," he said. "Hopefully one of them will come to fruition for a fall 2014 opening."

Sonora Grill (920 E. Lake St., Mpls., is also experiencing a major growth spurt.

While they're keeping their current counter at the Midtown Global Market, co-owners and taco maestros Alejandro Castillon and Conrado Badilla are also advancing to a free-standing restaurant in the nearby Longfellow neighborhood, transforming a former Embers franchise (3300 E. Lake St.) and planning on a Dec. 20 opening.

Also growing: Patrick's Bakery & Cafe (2928 W. 66th St., Richfield, owners Patrick and Azita Bernet are expanding into Maple Grove, taking over the former California Pizza Kitchen in the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes. Construction is underway.

Back in Northeast

After an 18-month hiatus, the neighborly Mill City Cafe has returned, with a new name — the Mill Northeast — and a new location (1851 Central Av. NE., Mpls.,, in the short-lived home of a Porky's Drive-In outlet (and, most recently, a Falafel King outlet).

Co-chefs Matt Kempf and Tommy Begnaud have also retained the restaurant's eclectic menus, offering a daily brunch that features cinnamon-wild rice pancakes, turkey-lamb bacon club sandwiches and chicken and dumplings.

Dinner includes butternut squash-glazed carrot risotto, crêpes with smoked pork and white Cheddar polenta, shrimp fritters, and an abbreviated selection of small plates (Scotch eggs, cheese curds, oysters) is served 3 to 6 p.m. daily and 10 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

The bar pours from a long list of craft beers and prepares a dozen or so $8 cocktails. When the warm weather returns next spring, co-owner Mandy Zechmeister promises a patio to replace the real estate currently occupied by the building's drive-through setup.