Editor's note: After this story was published, Young Joni reopened.

Acclaimed northeast Minneapolis restaurant Young Joni is closed while it assesses damage from a fire last weekend (165 13th Av. NE., Mpls., 612-345-5719, youngjoni.com). The fire was reported about 6:30 p.m. Sunday, and diners and workers had been evacuated by the time responders arrived.

Ann Kim and Conrad Leifur’s restaurant, known for its pizza and Korean-inspired hearth cooking, was the 2017 Star Tribune restaurant of the year.

The fire started in the chimney area above the brick oven and spread to the roof. While the proprietors are still assessing the damage, an Instagram post from Young Joni said the restaurant will reopen soon.

“We want to thank everyone for the tremendous outpouring of love and support in light of yesterday’s fire. Your kind words have been rays of sunshine on this otherwise difficult day,” said the post from Monday. “The good news is that no one was hurt and the damage relatively minimal... Due to the hard work, calm and diligence of our team, we may be open to the public as early as this week.”

North Shore fixture (and ace pie-maker) Rustic Inn is also recovering from a fire (2773 Hwy. 61, Two Harbors, Minn., 1-218-834-2488, rusticinn.cafe). The cafe has been closed since a kitchen fire on Jan. 27. A note on Rustic Inn’s website says the closing will last up to six weeks.

Sign of spring

Given the February we’re having, it seems difficult to imagine that spring is on its way. But it is, and there’s no more reliable harbinger of the seasonal change than when the Harbor View Cafe (314 1st St., Pepin, Wis., 1-715-442-3893, harborviewpepin.com) comes out of its winter hibernation.

The restaurant — which has epitomized “day trip” for several generations of Twin Cities diners — is kicking off its 40th anniversary year on March 15, when it will begin serving lunch and dinner Friday through Sunday.

What’s next for ‘Top Chef’?

Minnesota “Top Chef” contestant Justin Sutherland may have reached the end of his run on the cooking competition, set in Kentucky, but he has more in store here at home. The Handsome Hog chef has been named the culinary consultant for Allianz Field, the new St. Paul home of Minnesota United (400 N. Snelling Av., St. Paul, mnufc.com). Minnesota United CEO Chris Wright said Sutherland will create “a food experience that mixes international flavor with local restaurants and businesses” at the new soccer field.

And on March 7, Sutherland welcomes fellow “Top Chef” contestant David Viana to Green Lantern (229 E. 6th St., St. Paul, 651-348-6456; $120 tickets at handsomehog.com/shop). Viana will prepare a five-course, mid-Atlantic tasting menu in the style of his New Jersey-based restaurant, Heirloom Kitchen.

 

Investing in dining

The Birchwood Cafe (3311 E. 25th St., Mpls., 612-722-4474, birchwoodcafe.com) is merging two popular consumer ideas: the CSA (community-supported agriculture) model and those holiday gift card bonuses that have become all the rage in Twin Cities restaurants each December.

From March 6 to 19, the farm-to-table restaurant is offering a “CSR” (community-supported restaurant) promotion, at three financial levels.

Invest $250 and receive a $300 gift card plus two quarts of soup; a $500 investment yields a $600 gift card and four quarts of soup, and a $1,000 investment returns a $1,200 gift card and eight quarts of soup. Each quart of soup is paired with a loaf of house-baked bread.

“We’re taking cues straight out of our farmers’ playbook,” said owner Tracy Singleton. “Just like our farmer friends, we have seasonal highs and lulls, and winter is our time to plan for the harvest, also known as ‘patio season.’ We are excited for spring and invite our community to engage with us in this new way.”

Learn more by stopping by the restaurant (an added bonus: soup samples) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 9 and 10. Shares can be purchased at the restaurant or via the Birchwood’s website.

 

Open and coming soon

Ziadi’s Mediterranean Cuisine has joined the scene at the Midtown Global Market (920 E. Lake St., Mpls., 612-345-4136, ziadis.com). The full-service restaurant and bar, in the former Rabbit Hole space, is owned by the same team behind the market’s Moroccan Flavors. Look for Moroccan specialties like beef kofta meatballs and chicken à la charmoula. Florida-based sandwich shop Jon Smith Subs is now in Minnesota, with an opening this week in Andover (15190 Bluebird St. NW., Andover, 763-208-3476, jonsmithsubs.com). Mobile tea shop Jinx Tea is taking its food truck operation to brick and mortar this May (4503 France Av. S., Mpls., 612-965-0107, jinxtea.com). Bubble tea, cocktail-inspired tea drinks and other new items will be on the menu.

 

Read full reviews and other restaurant news at startribune.com/dining.