While there were closings aplenty in 2018, they didn’t match the frenetic pace of previous years; this year’s tally was roughly 40, far fewer than 2017’s 60-plus departures. They ranged from four-star Heyday to 43-year-old Rudolphs Bar-B-Que, and from the short-lived (six months for 510 Lounge and Private Dining and 11 months for StormKing BBQ) to the long-term (Vescio’s, six decades).
It’s always sad to see the demise of terrific neighborhood restaurants, including Heirloom, Xavi, Ward 6, Sparks, the Rabbit Hole and L’Etoile du Nord Cafe. Now’s the time to mourn Be’wiched Deli and its premium pastrami, and raise a glass to 77-year-old O’Gara’s, which bid a temporary farewell (it’ll reopen, in a smaller format, in 2020).
Meanwhile, Market Bar-B-Que lost its longtime Nicollet Avenue home to an apartment complex (along with the block’s branch of Salsa à la Salsa, plus the neighboring Ryan’s Pub and Asian Taste) but the 72-year-old will resurface in northeast Minneapolis, soon. T-Rex Cookie is following the same example, closing on Dec. 31 and returning after its building is redeveloped.
A new apartment building also explains why Grumpy’s Downtown disappeared. Bar Louie, in both Uptown and Ridgedale, left the market. Colossal Cafe dropped its south Minneapolis outlet and Bonfire pulled the plug on its Grand Avenue location.
Great Waters Brewing Co., the Muddy Pig, Fabulous Fern’s and American Burger Bar, all in St. Paul, said goodbye. In Minneapolis, it was farewell to Saguaro, Dragon City Cafe, King’s Wine Bar, Sum Dem Korean Barbeque, Geno’s, Bonicelli Kitchen, Stem Wine Bar & Eatery and Come Pho Soup.
Suburban closings included Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque and Pirate Bar, Wedge & Wheel, District Fresh Kitchen + Bar.
Gyst Fermentation Bar is now only open for private events and classes, and the Draft Horse is closing on Dec. 30. Finally, it should be noted that a “Rest in Roast Beef” vigil was held in February just before the dismantling of a nostalgic Arby’s sign, an Uptown landmark for decades. Nearly 100 bundled-up mourners attended.