Staff Directory 6370601

Rick Nelson

Columnist/Reporter | Dining and Food
Phone: 612-673-4757

Rick Nelson joined the staff of the Star Tribune in 1998 and is the newspaper's restaurant critic. He is a Twin Cities native, a University of Minnesota graduate and a James Beard Award winner. 

Nelson and Taste editor Lee Svitak Dean are publishing "The Great Minnesota Cookie Book: Award-winning recipes from the Star Tribune's Holiday Cookie Contest" (University of Minnesota Press) in October 2018.
Recent content from Rick Nelson
Yumi Japanese Restaurant + Bar is Southdale’s latest eatery.

Check out these 5 new Twin Cities area restaurants

Get your fix for roast beef, tacos, pizza, sushi and more.
Gem lettuce with sauce vert, pistachios and herbs at Saint Dinette.

5 best things our food writers ate in the Twin Cities this week

Taste editor Nicole Hvidsten and restaurant critic Rick Nelson highlight the favorites of their weekly dining experiences.
The Butcher’s Tale’s sprawling patio will continue to be a draw.

Crave owners reviving Butcher & the Boar in downtown Minneapolis

The Butcher's Tale, led by several key Butcher & the Boar staffers, will open next month.
The patio at W.A. Frost & Co. in St. Paul is a local favorite. Rick Nelson

14 indoor and outdoor restaurant openings in the Twin Cities and beyond

Slowly, but surely, the dining industry is showing signs of normalcy as doors open.
Toma Mojo Grill co-owners Paul Backer, left, and Michael Knox.

Two Tilia vets plan to open Spanish restaurant in former Noodles & Co. in Minnetonka

Chicken- and pork-centric Toma Mojo Grill will focus on Spanish and Portuguese fare.
Nicollet Diner will open Roxy where the former Ichiban’s stands.

Only 24-hour restaurant in Mpls. is adding a cabaret

The Nicollet Diner is relocating to the former Ichiban at Nicollet Mall and Grant Street in downtown Minneapolis.
Aaron and Ashley Schram expanded their Waconia winery to the North Loop.

Axebridge urban winery now open in North Loop in Minneapolis

Schram team offers new and familiar varietals, leveraging locally harvested grapes.
Photos by ELIESA JOHNSON Chef Yia Vang cooking with his dad.

Chef Yia Vang on why he won't change his father's Hmong sausage recipe — no matter who asks

Chef Yia Vang penned a powerful essay on preserving his family heritage with his cooking.
The Dirty Secret, complete with vegan bacon, is J. Selby’s take on the Big Mac.

32 vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in the Twin Cities

The Twin Cities vegan dining-out scene is on a growth curve, with no signs of slowing.
Aubry Walch and Kale Walch, co-owners of the Herbivorous  Butcher, a nationally recognized vegan brand based in Minneapolis.

'The world is changing': The siblings behind a booming vegan brand based in Minnesota

Aubry and Kale Walch, the sister-brother team behind the Herbivorous Butcher in Minneapolis, have forged a national following for their vegan versions of meats, poultry and cheeses. Coming next: Fried chicken.
Eureka Compass Vegan Food founder Colin Anderson and chef John Stockman worked together to prepare a monthly vegan community dinner at the St. Paul ma

St. Paul's vegan bodega wants to become the biggest vegan grocery store in the country

The founder of Eureka Compass Vegan Food has big plans for a one-stop vegan supermarket.
The Dirty Secret is J. Selby’s plant-based version of the Big Mac.

Plant-based eating: It's healthy and wise. Here's how to give it a try.

We share resources, recipes, restaurants and cookbooks to add more color and less meat to your meals.
Smack Shack’s original lobster roll is served at its MSP outpost.

Smack Shack will be bringing lobster rolls to the former Fuddruckers in Bloomington

A suburban branch of the popular North Loop restaurant will open this summer.
Surly’s beer hall has been closed since November.

Surly to reopen its Minneapolis beer hall and beer garden

The June 1 opening is attributed to vaccination progress.
Richfield’s bustling Lyn 65 in 2015.

Richfield's Lyn 65 is leaving 65th and Lyndale on April 10

General manager Nicole Ranallo says she's "not quite ready" to announce restaurant's new location.
Rick Nelson • Star TribuneSoft serve ice cream cone at Cup and Cone.

5 best things our restaurant critic ate in the Twin Cities this week

Restaurant critic Rick Nelson highlights the favorites of his weekly dining experiences.
Braised beef over curried rice and stir fried vegetables at Chowgirls Catering Monday March 17, 2021 In Minneapolis, MN.]  Jerry Holt •Jerry.Holt@st

Twin Cities restaurants fight food insecurity — even as their industry struggles

With their industry facing unprecedented challenges, the local restaurant community is doing what it has always done – helping those in need.
Provided  Easter crepe cake from Bellecour Bakery.

Last-minute Easter and Passover meals to go from 4 Twin Cities restaurants

It's not too late to get ready for the holidays.
JEFF WHEELER •  Gavin Kaysen will create two restaurants for the new Four Seasons hotel.

Chef Gavin Kaysen will create two restaurants for new Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Minneapolis

The five-star Four Seasons is scheduled to open in spring 2022.
Peter and Dana Smith named their Hopkins market after two of their great loves: Minnesota and their oldest daughter, Rowan.

Meet MinnyRow, a new Minnesota-centric food market in Hopkins

A mural's message just inside the door at MinnyRow Market says it all: "Keep your friends close and your farmers closer."
ProvidedWaffles from Krown Bakery & Eatery in Anoka.

3 places to celebrate International Waffle Day in the Twin Cities

Clear your schedule on Thursday, you've got waffles to eat.
Credit: Libby AndersonSpoon and Stable and Animales Barbeque have teamed up for an Easter dinner takeout special.

Updated: Twin Cities restaurants let Easter dinner come to you

It's a holiday twofer: You're leaving the cooking to someone else and supporting local restaurants.
Chef Daniel del Prado has opened Sanjusan in the North Loop.

Twin Cities chef Daniel del Prado opens Sanjusan in Minneapolis' North Loop

The busy chef's portfolio keeps on growing.
Minneapolis baker Zoë François.  “Reprinted from Zoe Bakes Cakes. Copyright © 2021 by Zoë François. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of

Minneapolis baker Zoë François takes on cakes in her latest cookbook, 'Zoë Bakes Cakes'

After eight cookbooks about bread, Minneapolis author and pastry chef Zoë François is focusing on her "favorite thing to bake."
Rick Nelson • Star TribuneLocal honeyberry and raspberry crisp ice cream at Pumphouse Creamery.

5 best things our food writers ate in the Twin Cities this week

Taste editor Nicole Hvidsten and restaurant critic Rick Nelson highlight the favorites of their weekly dining experiences.
Angel Food Bakery is taking its doughnut game to St. Louis Park.

Angel Food Bakery is leaving downtown Minneapolis and relocating to St. Louis Park

The popular doughnut maker is headed to the newly renovated Texa-Tonka shopping center.
Sharyn Jackson • Star TribuneMargherita pizza from Red Rocket Pizza Co.

5 best things our food writers ate in the Twin Cities this week

Our food writers highlight the favorites of their weekly dining experiences.
Provided  The pastrami sandwich at Revival is a close cousin to corned beef.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day at these 3 Twin Cities restaurants

Shepherd's pie, corned beef and other Irish delights are on the menu.
Irish Scones and Kumquat Marmalade

Minneapolis baker Zoë François can't get enough of Irish dairy – and scones

Make Zoë François' versatile scone recipe for St. Patrick's Day — and any other day.
Borough’s private dining space — in an apartment directly above the restaurant — will also be used to hold cooking and cocktail classes.

Welcome to the Apartment, Borough's new North Loop private dining room

Make yourself at home in the converted studio apartment right above the restaurant.
Siblings Aubry and Kale Walch are opening Herbie Butcher’s Fried Chicken in south Minneapolis.

Herbivorous Butcher opening vegan fried chicken restaurant in Minneapolis

You'll be able to buy plant-based chicken by the bucket, plus all the sides.
Stepchld opened in Northeast Minneapolis. Rick Nelson • Star Tribune

New Northeast restaurant Stepchld aims to be 'eccentric' neighborhood spot

The restaurant calls itself a "slightly off-kilter concept" that reimagines flavors.
Rick Nelson Star TribuneCrullers from Cardigan Donuts in Minneapolis.

5 best things our food writers ate in the Twin Cities this week

Our food writers highlight the favorites of their weekly dining experiences.
An enclosed patio at Red Cow, which serves burgers and a long list of gastropub fare.

36-plus Twin Cities restaurant patios for soaking up today's warm weather

Grab a mask and take advantage of the pre-spring weather.
The fish fry at Burger Dive/Smack Shack in Rosedale.

It's fish fry season! 26 to try in the Twin Cities metro

Dive into the Friday fish fry ritual at these local restaurants.
StormKing Brewpub and Barbecue is going into the former ONE Fermentary & Taproom in the North Loop.

Black Sheep Pizza chef/owner will revive barbecue restaurant in North Loop

Jordan Smith is teaming up with Rapids Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, Minn.
Chef Ann Ahmed in the dining room at Lat14 in Golden Valley. RICHARD TSONG-TAATARII

Chef Ann Ahmed has a name for her new south Minneapolis restaurant

After dropping "Spice Market," she has chosen a name with a personal connection.
Maverick’s offers roast beef sandwiches, along with open-faced turkey and pork sandwiches, fries, onion rings and shakes and malts. Beer will follow

Maverick's Real Roast Beef adding another location in Stillwater

Expect the same menu as the original Maverick's in Roseville, with beer to follow.
RICHARD TSONG-TAATARII • Chef Ann Ahmed’s Spice Market will also have retail space.

Lat14 Asian Eatery owner to bring new restaurant, retail space to Minneapolis

Chef Ann Ahmed is hoping to open her third restaurant sometime this spring.
JEFF WHEELER • Heather Jansz, the Curry Diva, has found a permanent home for her restaurant pop-up. ORG XMIT: MIN170427

Curry Diva pop-up in Minneapolis (finally) lands a home of her own

After seven years of cooking at Our Kitchen, chef/owner Heather Jansz has a kitchen of her own.
Goods from Aliment Pasta Co. — such as rigatoni, agnolotti and bigoli —are available by the pound or as part of meal kits.

Twin Cities culinary duo started Aliment Pasta Co. after noodling a pandemic change

The culinary veterans seized the moment and started a new venture: Aliment Pasta Co.
Dayton’s department store, 7th and Nicollet, in 1960.

How a Minnesota tax credit has saved historic buildings

Over the past 10 years, the state's historic tax credit has been applied to more than 100 projects all over Minnesota.
Cranberry jam toaster pastry from the vegan, organic Hark! Cafe.

5 best things our food writers ate in the Twin Cities this week

Our food writers highlight the favorites of their weekly dining experiences.
The fish fry at the Birchwood Cafe. A bonus? It’s gluten-free.

6 places in the Twin Cities to kick off fish fry season

Here's where to go during Lent.
Courtney Perry • Star Tribune file Isaac Becker in the kitchen of Burch Steak and Pizza Bar in Minneapolis, which opened in 2013. It was the Star Tr

Burch's Isaac Becker says he's confident Bar La Grassa, 112 Eatery will reopen

Burch, the dynamic steakhouse and pizzeria co-owned by spouses Becker and Nancy St. Pierre, will not reopen. "The ongoing pandemic has made it impossible," Becker said.
Let someone else handle the crust and focus your efforts on homemade sauce.

With a little local help, making your own pizza is a snap

Dough can be bought, but don't leave the all-important sauce to a jar from the supermarket.
Wrecktangle’s Detroit-style pizzas — this is the Shredder — are 8 by 10 inches.

From New York to Detroit: 5 regional pizza styles and where to get them in the Twin Cities

Your culinary adventure can start here.
Boludo’s pepperoni pizza is made with fresh mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes.

Our food writers pick their favorite pizza places in the Twin Cities

Can't decide where to get your pizza? Here's a little help from food writers Rick Nelson and Sharyn Jackson, who picked their favorites.
Rick Nelson • Star TribunePasties from Lands End Pasty Minneapolis.

5 best things our food writers ate in the Twin Cities this week

Our food writers highlight the favorites of their weekly dining experiences.
The main dining room of Guaranty Loan Building. The restaurant was owned by Jasper Gibbs.

A young Black man from Kentucky owned the Minneapolis restaurant scene in the 1890s

Minneapolis' first restaurateur of note, a young Black man from Kentucky, was an influential figure in the 1880s and 1890s.
A funghi pizza hot from the wood-fired oven at Rosalia in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis.

11 'newish' pizza places in the Twin Cities to try for National Pizza Day

The Twin Cities is a bona fide pizza hot spot, no matter how you slice it.
Food & Wine magazine claim that Minnesota’s best doughnut is at the Lindstrom Bakery, about 50 miles northeast of Minneapolis.

Minnesota's best doughnut? Food & Wine magazine says it's in Lindstrom

The Lindstrom Bakery's "Scandinavian Donut" has been a marquee draw since 1973.
Heartfelt chocoaltes from Dancing Bear Chocolates in Minneapolis.

Here are 10 local ideas for all-chocolate Valentine's Day celebrations

These nine Minnesota chocolatiers — plus one from Wisconsin — are here to help dial up the romance.
Rick Nelson • Star TribuneThe St. Paul Winter Farmers Market is open Saturdays through mid-April.

These 5 Twin Cities outdoor farmers markets are open all winter

Plug these dates into the calendar, then bundle up and shop.
Wild rice soup from the Kenwood Restaurant

5 best things our food writers ate in the Twin Cities this week

Our food writers highlight the favorites of their weekly dining experiences.
Minnesota’s oldest Dairy Queen dates to 1947 and stands at Lexington and Larpenteur in Roseville.

Survey says: When it comes fast-food options, Minnesota ranks low

There's one exception, and it involves Dairy Queen.
Photo by Lauren CutshallThe surf and turf offering by Union Hmong Kitchen for Valentine's Day includes a curated soundtrack.

Celebrate Valentine's Day with dinner, brunch and takeout at these 28 Twin Cities restaurants

It's not too early to plan your dining options — and don't forget the flowers.
Cinnamon bread from Nelson's

5 best things our food writers ate in the Twin Cities this week

Our food writers highlight the favorites of their weekly dining experiences.
Tyge Nelson and Stephan Hesse at Pajarito in 2017.  GLEN STUBBE •

Twin Cities owners of Pajarito buy the Lucky's 13 Pub chain

The acquisition also includes a soon-to-open restaurant and bar in Rosemount.
Pam Knutson — she calls herself a Soupa Star — has been preparing vegetarian soups for a small but devoted following for more than 20 years.  AARO

After 20 years, beloved Twin Cities soupmaker behind Birdsong Soups is retiring

After 20 years of delicious concoctions, chef Pam Knutson is saying goodbye to her Birdsong Soups.
Pulled chicken arepa from Arepa Bar

5 best things our food writers ate in the Twin Cities this week

Food writers Sharyn Jackson and Rick Nelson highlight the favorites of their weekly dining experiences.
It was big news when P.F. Chang’s opened at Southdale Center in Edina 20 years ago. There’s now a second location in Maple Grove.

Celebrate with these Twin Cities restaurants that are 20 years young

Black SeaTolga Ata and his family operate a Twin Cities rarity: a Turkish restaurant. Discover kebabs, gyros, falafel, dolma and other quick-service classics at affordable…
Pork pies at Kieran’s Kitchen Northeast.

5 best things our food writers ate in the Twin Cities this week

Food writers Rick Nelson and Sharyn Jackson highlight the favorites of their weekly dining experiences.
Rick Nelson • Star TribuneTurkish Bagel at Cafe Ceres in Minneapolis.

11 places to get your bagel fix in the Twin Cities for National Bagel Day

Go ahead, start your bagel bucket list.
The Longfellow Grill on the first day back to 50 percent capacity dining in Minnesota.     ] GLEN STUBBE •   Monday, Jan

Twin Cities chefs react to having indoor dining back on the table

All agree it's a step in the right direction.
Rick Nelson • Star TribuneCinnamon roll at Red Bench Bakery in Excelsior.

5 best things our food critic ate this week

Restaurant critic Rick Nelson highlights the favorites of his recent dining-out schedule.
Laurie Crowell, who’s celebrating 25 years in the food business, most of them as the owner of the Golden Fig, which has been championing local and a

Golden Fig founder has the golden touch at St. Paul specialty foods shop

Laurie Crowell's foray into local and seasonal specialty foods wasn't intentional, but 25 years later she's one of its fiercest advocates.
Rick Nelson • Star TribuneWhat is currently Christo's in Minnetonka is going to become Duke's on Seven.

Christos in Minnetonka is closing, but another restaurant will take its place

The longtime Greek restaurant will close Jan. 10, but its Eat Street location is staying open. Craft & Crew is buying the property and converting it to Duke's on 7.
Chef Ann Kim of Young Joni photographed at her new restaurant under construction in Uptown Sooki & Mimi.   ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune

12 things we hope to see from the food and drink scene in 2021

From promising debuts and comebacks to the downtown Minneapolis Dayton's Project, our fingers are firmly crossed.
honor awards 1. 510 2. Countryside Community Church 3. Second + Second 4. Westwood Hills Nature Center 5. St. Paul Academy and Summit School Upper Sch

These 10 projects are the best in Minnesota architecture in 2020

The best designs were awarded to six firms for 10 commercial, residential, civic, academic and religious projects.
Boludo chef/owner Facundo Javier Defraia is opening a second location of his popular pizza and empanada restaurant.

South Minneapolis pizza and empanadas hot spot opening second location downtown

Chef/owner Facundo DeFraia is setting up shop in the former McKinney Roe in early January
Trend forecasters predict that chickpeas will have a moment, going beyond hummus to desserts (like these cookies) and tortillas.

Trend forecasters predict changes in restaurants and 'flexitarian' diets

Many trend forecasters are focusing on the big picture.
Photo: Dennis Becker; Styling: Lee Svitak Dean and Lisa Golden Schroeder Spumoni Squares by Joanne Holtmeier

We have a winner! The best recipes of the 2020 Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest

This year's batch of contest entries boasted more bakeable recipes than we've seen in the past 18 years. Try one!
Churchill Street is going into a former hardware store in Shoreview.

Former Bachelor Farmer chef guides Shoreview's newest restaurant

A hardware store is being reborn as a restaurant, with a menu created by former Bachelor Farmer chef Jonathan Gans.
Amy Coppersmith

These Norway House gingerbread village pictures will put you in the holiday spirit

We can't visit in person this year, but the Gingerbread Wonderland has a big online presence.