So long, farewell
Four-star favorites and beloved neighborhood haunts shut their doors in 2021. Closings may have slowed, but they still stung.
There was no instant replay of 2020's pandemic-induced avalanche of closings (when 90-plus restaurants disappeared), thank goodness. Still, the Twin Cities dining scene witnessed a number of departures.
The talker was four-star Burch. Chef/co-owner Isaac Becker called it quits in February, after keeping the steakhouse-pizzeria dark for the preceding year. Following similar pandemic-induced slumbers, he reopened his 112 Eatery, Bar La Grassa and Snack Bar properties a few months later.
Several downtown Minneapolis restaurants, quiet since the start of the pandemic, also disappeared in 2021, including the long-running Atlas Grill, along with Bus Stop Brewhouse and Cargo Food Authority.
Richfield lost its best restaurant, Lyn 65. The Wedge Co-op shuttered its short-lived excursion to Eat Street, Wedge Table.
A number of closings were quickly replaced with newcomers. When chef Justin Sutherland pulled the plug on Obachan and Chickpea, his two outlets at Potluck, Rosedale Center's food hall, the leases went to chef Josh Hedquist for the third iteration of his Joey Meatballs, along with a new concept, Salad Slayer.
Northeast Minneapolis lost Sikora's Polish Market and Deli after seven years, and chef Kale Thome packed up the smoker at Minnesota Barbecue Co.
The Walker Art Center replaced its Esker Grove with Cardamom, a collaboration by chefs Daniel del Prado and Shawn McKenzie. The Minnetonka location of Christos morphed into Duke's on Seven, another Craft and Crew venture.
Several long-running operations had their final years. Angela Fida, the third-generation owner of St. Paul's beloved Dari-ette Drive-In, sold the 70-year-old business in October.
Khan's Mongolian Barbecue, a Richfield fixture for 28 years, closed in November, and a few weeks later, Broadway Bar & Pizza, a Minneapolis riverfront landmark since 1974, shut down. And Riverview Cafe and Wine Bar closed in July after 23 years.
Woodfired Cantina called it quits after 13 months in Keg and Case Market, and owners Brian and Sarah Ingram also shuttered their adjacent Purple Ice Cream stand. Another short-lived ice cream source was Seward Soft Serve.
In St. Paul, a spirited reboot of Augustine's — led by chef Derik Moran and pastry chef Toni Luschen — opened in May and abruptly closed in November. In Apple Valley, the Misfits Collective debuted in July and by October it was remade as Mezcalito Butcher.
The only constant is change, right? Copper Cow in Minnetonka will become a second outlet of Burnsville-based Kazoku. Sassy Spoon in south Minneapolis closed in November and the storefront will become the new home of Asa's Bakery.
And at Stewart's, chef/owner Max Thompson is turning out the lights on his eight-year-old St. Paul charmer on Dec. 22; spouses Kevin Manley and Anna Morgan are taking over the space.
To see more of our look back at Minnesota's food scene in 2021, including our Restaurant of the Year, best dining moments, beloved neighborhood spots and more, use the drop-down navigation bar at the top of this page.