Spring is around the corner, and so are new restaurants, pop-ups and franchises that wisely waited for the thaw before opening their doors. The new season is also a chance for changes at some established locales. And, sadly, we have some closings to report.
Coming soon to the Emery, a revamp of the former Hotel Minneapolis, is Giulia (215 S. 4th St., Mpls., 612-340-2000, dinegiulia.com). Josh Hedquist, who competed on Food Network’s “Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge,” will oversee the northern Italian menu. The hotel’s lobby will also house Spyhouse Coffee Roasters’ sixth location (spyhousecoffee.com).
The Twin Cities’ empanada boom is going strong, with a new pop-up on the scene. For three more Fridays (starting at 6 p.m.), get Quebracho (quebrachomn.com) empanadas and charcuterie at Northern Coffeeworks (1027 Washington Av. S., Mpls., 612-353-4222, northerncoffeeworks.com), through April 5. In addition to traditional chicken and beef empanadas, try Argentina-native Belen Rodriguez’s flaky pies, like one stuffed with a bright ratatouille.
iPho by Saigon has a new outpost in the suburbs as of earlier this month, according to a post from the restaurant on Facebook. The Tuesday-Sunday pho shop is at 6508 Cahill Av., Inver Grove Heights. It joins iPho’s original spot, which is known for its 10-pound pho eating challenge (704 University Av., St. Paul, 651-225-8751).
Also coming to the eastern burbs is fast-casual franchise Teriyaki Madness, with its first Minnesota location opening March 25 (8366 3rd St. N., Oakdale, teriyakimadness.com). Chicken and beef teriyaki, veggies and seven sauces make for customizable bowls.
In Plymouth, Firenza just opened (3225 Vicksburg Ln. N., Plymouth, 763-444-1269, firenzapizza.com). The franchise offers signature and build-your-own pizzas that bake in an open-fire oven in three minutes.
Maple Grove’s Village at Arbor Lakes is getting a Wahlburgers, which will break ground this spring and open later this year, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports. This will be the second Minnesota burger joint named for the Wahlberg brothers (actor Mark, singer Donnie and chef/owner Paul). The first is in Mall of America (234 N. Garden, Bloomington, 952-854-1655, wahlburgers.com).
Ono Hawaiian Plates, which has been selling out its Tuesday pop-up at Cook St. Paul, is taking a break. Proprietors Jessie Kelley and chef Warren Seta put their popular residency on hold earlier this month, but already have a new pop-up date lined up. They’ll be back with their plate lunches (a protein, two scoops of rice and one scoop of macaroni salad) April 20, 4 to 8 p.m. at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church (511 Groveland Av., Mpls., 808-365-8802, facebook.com/onohawaiianplates). Dine in or take-out, but do get there early if you want the chance to experience Spam done right.
Naan pizza specialists Pizza Karma (8451 Joiner Way, Eden Prairie, 952-467-6100, pizzakarma.com) has expanded its hours of operation. The tandoor-oven pizza spot from Raghavan Iyer is now open Sundays (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.), and $1 from every pizza sold on that day of the week goes to families in need in Eden Prairie’s school district.
Ninetwentyfive, the restaurant inside Wayzata’s Hotel Landing (925 Lake St. E., Wayzata, 612-356-5330, ninetwentyfive.com) has a new menu. The formerly Lenny Russo-led kitchen is now putting out Midwest cuisine by chef Daniel Cataldo. Steelhead trout, juniper-glazed venison and walleye sandwiches are among the offerings.
Less than a year after opening, Moderna Kouzina, a global-French restaurant at 50th and France has closed due to the chef/owner’s illness. “My rare medical conditions have advanced to a state where I am no longer able to run MK,” Ashii Vrohidis wrote on the restaurant’s homepage (modernakouzina.com). “Thank you to all our loyal guests, employees and friends.”
And, after a year in downtown St. Paul, chef-collaborative Just/Us (465 Wabasha St. N., St. Paul, 651-424-1080, justusmn.com) has announced it is closing next month, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page. Burgers and prix fixe dinners will continue through April 20.