The long-awaited Market at Malcolm Yards is now open, bringing some of the Twin Cities' most scintillating small food businesses together under one roof. Sampling it all in one go would be impossible. Believe us, we tried. So, for this week's 5 Best, we are giving you an all-Malcolm-Yards roundup.
The food hall is an exciting addition to a developing swath of warehouses and silos in Minneapolis' Prospect Park neighborhood that's turning into a food-and-drink destination. Surly's Beer Hall and the soon-to-open O'Shaughnessy Distilling Co. are within walking distance.
Inside the historic Harris Machinery building, you'll find nine food vendors, a self-serve tap wall (with beer, wine, cider and kombucha) and a cocktail bar. In addition to the skilled chefs behind those stands, more local purveyors are sneaking into the mix: Red Table Meat Co., T-Rex Cookies and Vikings & Goddesses mini pies all make appearances.
And it's all so easy to get: At the front desk, link your credit or debit card to a white "Yard Card" that you can tap at any checkout, amassing one bill that settles up when you leave. (Cash users can buy a gift card that works the same way.) In lieu of tips, an 18% surcharge is added to checks.
Before we share our picks, we would be remiss not to mention two of the food scene's rising stars: Wrecktangle, with its gooey Detroit-style pizza; and Bebe Zito, for its inventive ice cream flavors and craveable burgers. Putting these two businesses next to one another at the market is genius. Both businesses have been featured on these pages before, as has Joey Meatballs, a build-your-own pasta bar with an admirable mission. We'll sing their praises again and again. But for now, we'll highlight some of the other vendors lighting up the market.
Ave Avocado Toast at Advellum Vegetable Eatery
Mike Shaughnessy knows vegetables. As the opening chef at Young Joni, he worked with Ann Kim to execute some of Minneapolis' most impressive veggie sides. After 2½ years at the helm, he went on to run the California/Slow Food show at Mill Valley Kitchen. Now, he's here with his own Advellum Vegetable Eatery. (The name combines "adventure" and "element.")
"It's about taking vegetables and making them the star of the dish," Shaughnessy said. Indeed, most everything is vegetarian or vegan, and can be augmented with meat and fish proteins.
Avocado is, of course, the star on this griddled cranberry wheat toast ($12), and the creamy blank canvas gets a number of flavor boosts from lime, uber-fresh cherry tomatoes and charred tomatillo vinaigrette. I thought I was over avocado toast, but clearly, there are still ways to experience this dish anew, and Shaughnessy lands it. (Sharyn Jackson)
Sweet corn empanadas at Del Sur Empanadas
The well crafted list of empanadas closely mirrors the menu at Del Sur's Minnetonka storefront, but this time of year one stands out: sweet corn. Can we ever get enough?
Baked to crispy perfection, the handmade pie is filled with fresh corn and snappy red pepper, with mozzarella and scallions rounding out the flavor profile. With a bargain price of $3.75, you can (and should) get several. Owned by Diego Montero and Nicolas Nikolov, Del Sur came onto the local dining scene in 2014 with its food truck, and opened their brick-and-mortar location in 2018. There's a base list of empanadas available all the time — many vegetarian, all made fresh daily — with flavors like sweet corn and caprese added to the rotation seasonally.
But before you dig in, look closely at your empanada: They are monogrammed both with "Del Sur" and letters denoting the flavors inside. With such attention to detail both inside and out, you really can't go wrong. (Nicole Hvidsten)
Keema dosa at Momo Dosa
When the market's owners, Patricia and John Wall, began to reveal the project's chef partnerships, one announcement that was especially exciting was the inclusion of Rashmi Bhattachan and Sarala Kattel.
They're the duo behind the first-rate Gorkha Palace in Minneapolis, and they got their start, more than a decade ago, selling fabulous momos (steamed dumplings) at the Mill City Farmers Market, which means they are steeped in the world of quick-service street food.
At Malcolm Yards, they've branched out into dosas, those delicate, savory, crepe-like classics from southern India. Dosas start with a rice-and-lentil batter. The griddle's heat transforms that slightly tangy batter into crispy, sculptural vehicles for delivering all kinds of compelling flavor combinations.
"In our 11 years at Gorkha Palace we met a lot of patrons with gluten allergies," said Bhattachan. "They would always ask, 'Do you have gluten-free momos?' We tried to make them but couldn't do it, and I always felt bad. Now, with dosas, we can have a gluten-free option."
The plan is to constantly switch up the fillings, so be on the lookout for Minnesota-raised chicken, turkey, lamb and yak. At the moment, Kattel is calling upon ground heritage pork (from Fischer Family Farms Pork in Waseca, Minn.), and sneaking in an Italian flair, seasonings-wise, with hints of basil, oregano and fennel, with a Parmesan-mozzarella finish. It's a terrific combination.
Be sure to pair the dosa with a side of sambar ($4), a richly complex vegan stew that radiates a marvelous sinus-clearing heat. (Rick Nelson)
Animal Style cocktail at Boxcar Bar
Nine of the cocktails on the bar menu are odes to the food stands in the market. Designed by cocktail wizard Nick Kosevich (Bittercube) in collaboration with the chefs, the tap cocktails show off some of the flavors that shine elsewhere in the building. The homage to Advellum Vegetable Eatery, for example, is a Snap Pea Collins. The Velvet Martini reflects Bagu Sushi with sake, elderflower and yuzu, and the Argentine Sour is the drink of Del Sur, a Fernet cocktail with lime, prickly pear and guava essence.
But how could I pass up the Animal Style ($12), which pays respects to what is perhaps Bebe Zito's most iconic ice cream flavor, inspired by frosted animal crackers. The bartender described this as a pink Long Island Iced Tea, and that description isn't far off. There's gin, vodka, aquavit, whiskey, cola and pink lemonade, all mixed together and topped with a cloud of nondairy whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles, and of course, those frosted cookies. Stirred together, it's creamy cotton candy in a glass — with a kick. Just like the scoops at Bebe Zito, it doesn't hold back. (S.J.)
Tamago sandwich at SunDay
There's a simple reason why chef Niki Heber has an egg salad sandwich on his menu.
"Because I love egg salad," he said. "I was born in Japan, and grew up there, and in Japanese convenience store culture — 7-Eleven, Lawson — they all have egg salad sandwiches. Here, you would never think of buying an egg salad sandwich in a convenience store, but there it's a daily occurrence, for everyone."
Although the recipe appears uncomplicated, Heber took 17 runs at it before getting each aspect of the formula just right.
"In Japan, the bread is fluffy and white and kind of boring," he said. "And the eggs are treated a little more like deviled eggs. It's a little yolk-ier, it's not as mayonnaise-ey as American egg salad."
Heber peppers that dense, creamy concoction with green onions and a hint of a hot Japanese mustard. A crisp lettuce leaf inserts crunch, and the soft, semi-bland brioche (a frozen, commercially produced product) is perfection, a kind of gussied-up Wonder Bread with chewier crusts.
"I tried a lot of milk breads around town, but they're too good," Heber said with a laugh. "For this sandwich, the bread needs to strike this weird balance, it needs to be almost fake. And this product allows me to sell at a reasonable price point. If I were to get the milk bread from, say, Patisserie 46, which is great, I'd have to sell the egg salad sandwich for $9, and nobody would buy it."
But at $6.50? It's a Market at Malcolm Yards bargain, recalling long-ago days when the summit of my dining-out budget was the egg salad sandwich at Walker Art Center's much-missed Gallery 8 restaurant. Back then, it didn't cost much, but the level of finesse that went into that skillfully composed sandwich made it feel like a splurge. That's the case here, too. (R.N.)
The Market at Malcolm Yards, 501 30th Av. SE., Mpls., malcolmyards.market. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.