Now open: the morning/afternoon cafe at the Bachelor Farmer (200 N. 1st St., Mpls., thebachelorfarmer.com/cafe).
Located in the former home of Askov Finlayson (the men’s clothing store relocated to roomier digs next door), the stylish cafe specializes in a.m. baked goods, both savory and sweet (including pastry chef Emily Marks’ first-rate croissants) and a daily midday menu of sandwiches, soups and salads from chefs Brett Weber and Ian Heieie; the open-faced ham and cheese (house-cured ham, a Camembert-style beauty from Mankato’s Alemar Cheese Co.) with preserved zucchini, on house-baked whole wheat bread, is highly recommended. There’s coffee, beer and wine, too.
One of many reasons to anticipate warmer weather is that the alley between the restaurant and Askov Finlayson will feature outdoor seating, and will convert to a beer garden — with the help of a converted Airstream trailer, parked at the far end of the alley — in the evenings.
As for the cafe’s name, there isn’t one. Not really. “People can call it whatever they want,” said owner Eric Dayton. “We’ve been calling it ‘the cafe.’ ”
His primary reason for the no-name status? “I didn’t want to run any more Twitter accounts and Facebook pages,” he said. “We’ve already got enough brands.”
Instead, Dayton enlisted Capsule, a Minneapolis design firm, to create a visual identity. Their solution? Four icons: an x, a circle, a heart and a coffee mug.
“We’re not trying to be Prince here,” Dayton said with a laugh. “We’re not trying to be cute, we just didn’t want to have to develop a new brand.”
The cafe is open 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends; lunch is served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, and weekend brunch is served 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Macdonald goes to Red Cow, expansion ahead
After leaving Parella on New Year’s Day, chef Todd Macdonald has landed a new gig, at fast-growing Red Cow.
In the short term, Macdonald will be at the mini-chain’s North Loop location (208 1st Av. N., Mpls., redcownmn.com), “placing his influence on that menu and throughout our features program,” said owner Luke Shimp. Long term?
“I have a couple of concepts on the shelf and have been waiting for the right chef to join our team,” he said. “Now that we have Todd on board, we’ll ramp up the plan. I felt it necessary to land a hot chef.”
Friday night highlight
Here’s some happy news: Tiny, Belgian-influenced L’Etoile du Nord Cafe (320 5th Av. N., Bayport, letoiledunordcafe.com) is now serving dinner on Friday.
The menu (served 5 to 8 p.m.) will change weekly, but co-owner Olivier Vrambout and chef Jon Beyreuther could include such classics as roast chicken or wine-steamed mussels, with entree prices in the midteens.
The gem of a restaurant also serves breakfast (waffles!) and lunch, Wednesday through Sunday, plus a Wednesday pizza night.