Chef Yia Vang's commissary kitchen on W. Lake Street is shaping up to be one of the most exciting new restaurants of 2023 so far, with a rotating list of pop-ups taking over the dining room. Now that Slurp, his noodle-centric concept, is closing on March 29, it's time to build anticipation for Mee-Ka. The new pop-up will open in early April at 901 W. Lake St. and is expected to run for three months.

As Vang explained in a social media post, "Mee-Ka is the Hmong word for 'American.' Growing up, Mom always asked if we wanted to eat Hmong food or Mee-Ka food." The cuisine that will be served isn't a mashup of two things. Said Yang, "It is the forging of two cultures and traditions to build a third culture that we can use to connect to each other."

After 20 years as a pregame stop, Eagle Street Grille is closing

The end of April will mark the end of Eagle Street Grille, the bustling bar and restaurant across the street from St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center. First opened in March 2003 by Joe Kasel and Kevin Geisen, the business was later taken over by the Madison Hospitality restaurant group, which owns other notable St. Paul restaurants like Noyes & Cutler, Ox Cart, Handsome Hog and Gray Duck Tavern. According to reports, the building's landlord opted not to renew the Grille's lease. Fans are invited to stop by for the final last call at the end of April.

The Grateful Table to close cafe and switch to catering

The Grateful Table bakery and cafe in Roseville has announced it will be closing its restaurant after April 1. Owner Marcy Robideaux said she's hoping friends and fans will stop by for a bite of quiche, a long chat over a foamy coffee drink or to order a tray of treats to go. The business is switching to wholesale and catering.

Char Bar opens at the back of the new Butcher & the Boar

The new Butcher & the Boar in the North Loop is completely open — with the addition of Char Bar. Like most of the other restaurants owned by Jester Concepts, including P.S. Steak, Borough and Monello, this one has a secondary bar concept with a separate menu. Stop back at the Char Bar for a smoky pho-spiced tequila sipper or a frothy Pink Lady along with bar snacks like smoked onion rings, a double-decker burger or barbecue seasoned French fries.

More signs of spring as seasonal restaurants prep to reopen

Even as the snow and parking restrictions persist, there are some signs of spring. Gordy's Hi-Hat in Cloquet, Minn., kicks off its 63rd season of burgers and shakes on March 23 and Animales Burgers, the trailer from chef Jon Wipfli, returns to Bauhaus Brew Labs' gorgeous patio April 1.

Baldamar launches opulent and abundant brunch menu

For those looking to ratchet up their brunch game, Baldamar, the fine dining restaurant just outside Rosedale Center, has launched the Champaigner, an approximately 12-course brunch menu with a $90 price tag. Dishes include sous-vide pork belly, creme brûlée French toast, prime rib sliders and more. There's also a selection of bubbly and beverages included in the price tag. There are also "exceptional" add-ons like steaks, fresh seafood and cocktails. The Champaigner kicks off April 1 and will be served Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. along with Baldamar's regular Saturday brunch and dinner menus.

It's the Lake Effect

Duluth's Lake Avenue Restaurant and Bar has opened a spinoff of sorts: a modern North Woods-style restaurant and bar in Island Lake, about 20 minutes north of Duluth. Called Lake Effect, its menu's highlights include poutine, the beloved wedge salad from a past Lake Avenue menu iteration and jerk pork stroganoff. There is also brunch. The building is next to a seasonal drive-in, another new venture from the owners of Lake Ave. The spot was chosen because of the rising number of year-round residents on the lake, said co-owner Laura Haack. "It feels like there is a new energy for that area as well as an amazing established community," she said.

The restaurant sits along County Road 4, a popular route to the Iron Range.