It happens all the time in the industry. The end of the year brings about closings and shuffles and restaurant news in a snow globe flurry of insanity just when we’re getting hit with all the other feels of the season. Can be a bit much, but know that it’s actually sign of a healthy food scene. The soup must boil. It’s the perfect time to shine up your hit list (pick up a copy of the Best Restaurants issue out now!) and support the local businesses that you want around. Do it by visiting a new fish shop, making plans to visit a gastropub, or getting in one last visit to some buns you loved.
\\ There is a REAL possibility that we’ll get an Animales BBQ/Burger Co. restaurant in the new year. Owner Jon Wipfli has partnered up with Billy from Billy Sushi to make that happen. The two are looking for spots in North Loop and Northeast Mpls.
\\ Brother Justus and Houston White’s The Get Down Coffee Co. have launched a luxury coffee whiskey collab. The bottle is only available at the distillery, but it might be the nip you’re looking for.
\\ We did not use AI to make any overly cute faces, nor did we use it pull together this list of Where to Order Holiday Meals this season. Because meal kits, dinners out, and festive feasts are too important. We’ll keep adding.
\\ I think we all want to know: where did That Chef Kid apply to college?
+ Brookie’s Fish Market is now open at the Texa-Tonka center in St. Louis Park, right next to Revival. Former fish friend and wholesale rep Chris Nelson has gone out on his own to open this neighborhood fish shop. They’ve got your oysters, your fresh tuna, your smoked scallops and Duke’s Mayo. And if you don’t see a fish you want, just ask and they’ll do their best to bring some in.
+ And right next door to that is Westside Wine & Spirits, which is opening any second. One one side it’s a liquor store with a hefty amount of bubbles, wine, and a tasting bar in the back. On the other side, it’s a deli and market selling artisan cheese, meats, crackers and snacks, with a coming-soon menu of sandwiches, soups, and grab-n-go. Super yay for me.
+ Ottimo is the newest member of the North Loop Galley food hall. The counter stall is run by former MN Twins sous chef Duran Ross. The eclectic menu includes meatballs, ricotta won tons, a taco burger, mac n cheese, and a few salads.
+ Disco Death vinyl and coffee shop has been open for a while, but just in cases.
– Aki’s Bread Haus, which has the best pretz in town fight me, has posted that they will be closing on December 25th until further notice, due to staffing shortages. I might send my mom ….
– Bummmer that Keefer Court is closing up their family business, which has been in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood since 1983, but glad to know that the owners are retiring and moving on. We’ll miss those perfect buns, of course, but this was one of the best spots in town to get roast duck congee and that is a heartbreaker for me. Last day will be December 31st, but check out the Soul Lao food truck collaboration on Dec. 20 too.
– The Tequila Butcher will no longer be the restaurant partner for The Caribbean Marina on Lake Minnetonka. Looks like the summer only dockside lease will now go to an Aaron Switz restaurant to be named later. Switz owns Yumi Sushi, launched Agra Culture and has partnered with Dani del Prado on Macanda and Josefina, among his other projects.
+ The space that was lastly Prieto off Nicollet in South Minneapolis will soon become Chelas. The Latin and Vietnamese tapas spot hopes to bring a “night street market” vibe with a fully new food and drink menu. Fingers crossed for an open Dec 22.
+ Get a little sneak peek into Bar+Cart which is the Ralena Young and Brian Riess bar and eatery that has taken over the Kyber Pass space on Grand Avenue. Opening very soon!
+ Honey & Rye’s Anne Andrus announced this week that the big pink building up the road from her bakery was destined to become a new concept: bakehouse. The new production bakery, shop, and event/classroom space will open late winter/early spring. The OG spot will remain open and keep serving those crazy good ham sandwiches, too.
+ Chlöe by Vincent is opening next Wednesday the 14th in the former Bacon Social House space.
// Warm up your cold, cold, soul tonight at WINGAPALOOZA ’22 at Dark Horse Bar in St. Paul. The Salsa Collaborative kids will plate up a sleigh-load of wings and sauce starting at 5pm, you get to try multiple flavors and a ton of sauces, some of them actually hot! Thank god there’s whiskey too.
// Saturday marks the 29th Annual Muddy Paws Toy & Food Drive. This year Tami Cabrera’s big Christmas party will take place at the West End Artisan Market which has both new and vintage goodies. Just bring a new unopened toy, an unopened bag of pet food, or gift cards to Target/Pet Smart and you’ll get two mini cheesecakes and hot cocoa, chai, or coffee while you shop.
// For this weekend’s holiday market hopping needs:
- Malcolm Yards Holiday Market is both Saturday and Sunday right in the food hall. Check out 20+ local makers, and don’t skip a stop at the Double Take Salsa booth. Then reward yourself with a Bebe Zito burger.
- Alma’s Holiday Market at Restaurant Alma includes so many of the beautiful things they use in the boutique hotel, plus handmade artisan eats that you won’t want to give away.
- Holiday Craft Market at Number 12 Cider in North Loop looks good. Even if you don’t shop, there’s pizza and hard cider, so.
- The Handmade Holiday Market is back at Lakes & Legends this Saturday.
// And the Northeast Winter Farmers Market will be open at Earl Giles this Saturday from 11am to 3pm. Lots of great vendors, good drinks, and plenty of plants around there to help you calm the holi-down.
// Looking for a light show? This one feels like it might have Hallmark movie vibes: Holiday in Lights at the Anoka County Fair runs this weekend on the fairgrounds. It’s free to the public, maybe bring a canned food donation or an unwrapped toy, but then take part in hayrides, bonfires, Christmas music, Santa house, hot chocolate, and tons of snacks. Also, if you haven’t been out to the Sovereign Estate Spirit of Winter: Festival of Lights dealio, that’s worth a drive to Waconia. They’ve got llamas, and wine.
// Maybe cupcakes can come back and overthrow Christmas cookies like they planned, hmmm? Or maybe they have a higher calling. Next Thursday the 15th, in honor of National Cupcake Day, Mason Jar Kitchen & Bar will sell their gourmet cupcakes for just $1. And then, they’ll turn around and donate 100% of proceeds to The Open Door, which provides food support for low-income individuals and families across Dakota County.
// Next weekend, you THC dabblers will have a new destination. The Buch hard kombucha taproom (formerly Able Brewing), will turn into a Trail Magic Taproom from Dec 15-18. It’s the first gathering of local THC beverage brands coming together in a taproom opportunity. Along with Trail Magic from Mpls Cider, you’ll find other hemp-based sips from Bauhaus, Bent Paddle, Fair State, Surly, Modist, Fulton, Lakes and Legends, and more. Must be 21 to enter, and to-go beverages will be sold.