Look for fresh ideas, familiar faces on the Twin Cities restaurant scene in 2023

After years of seeing menus leaning towards hearty and familiar comfort food, the new year sees the chefs reassert their competence and creativity, transforming our plates and souls with fresh ideas. It will be a space filled with

Creative new food halls, a booming development in Minneapolis’ already densely packed North Loop, exciting makers coming up and much more to look forward to. We are also carrying hope and phoenix-like fire in an industry that has all but collapsed due to the spread of the pandemic.

Times have changed, but that’s also what the restaurant industry is good at. These are the people who show up all the time, and this year they have a fire in their bellies and lots of delicious ideas ready to share.

Here are some fun things to do this year.

New restaurant queue

The new year brings major investments in bold names to lure even more diners to Minneapolis’s North Loop. I have only one plan. James Beard Award winner Tim McKee will helm his food program at his soon-to-be-opened West Hotel, exploring his beloved flavors of Spain through a restaurant, three bars and a bakery. David Fhima has announced the name of his new complex, which he previously located at Ribnick Furs. Maison Margaux houses a French restaurant, basement bar and event center. Additionally, Daniel Del Prado has partnered with Ryan Burnett to breathe new life into the old Bachelor Farmer space, so next year he could be spending a lot of money and time on N. 1st Street. is expensive. The only remaining question is where will everyone park?

Deep-fried chicken, ramen, etc. at the fresh food hall

Eat Street Crossing is opening soon in a cool old building at the end of Eat Street in Minneapolis. The project is led by power couple/restaurateurs Lina Goh and John Ng of Zen Box Izakaya and Gabriella Grant-Spangler and Ben Spangler of Bebe Zito. Inside, you’ll find sweet-and-butter-soaked fried chicken, giant ramen noodles, and an impressive bar program directed by Trish Gavin.

Trend Alerts: Familiar Names Appear Again

Hopes of dining at Zero again were fading, and Tim McKee’s time away from the restaurant business had been too long. Vincent Francoual was struggling at the country club years after closing his landmark Vincent A Restaurant. And the butcher and the boar seemed lost forever. But 2023 is the year of the comeback. Francoual has opened his casual French restaurant, Chloe by Vincent, in downtown Minneapolis. As previously mentioned, McKee is boarding an all-new restaurant complex. Butcher & the Boar is bringing the beloved recipe to his North Loop, aiming for a late January opening, thanks to Jester Concepts. And zero? A restaurant in downtown Minneapolis will finally reopen in March.

I wish there was better barbecue news

After a barrage of disappointing news that mobile businesses can no longer manipulate smokers thanks to the enforcement of city ordinances for Minneapolis’ talented barbecue maker (which it has been doing for years) , we rely on the optimism of places like Boomin. Barbecue and fare games set their smokers up again and give us good reason to grab a clutch of napkins for a rib feast, while one major player is the The hood decided to get away from his truck life and put down roots. Animales Barbeque Co. will open a full-service restaurant with a full-fledged bar, thanks to chef-owner John Wipfuri and his partner Billy Tserenbat in his new business, Billy Si.

I have a rooftop call

Chef/Owner Ann Ahmed has proven time and time again to create innovative restaurant experiences. This is the year she says goodbye to her first restaurant, Lemongrass, but it’s also the year she and her husband/partner Tariq Ahmed embark on their most ambitious project to date. For those who remember, there’s her one of the most beautiful rooftop patios around, as well as a huge restaurant and event her space. If Lat 14 and Khâluna were any indicator, this would be shocking. The project is in its early stages and there is currently no timeline for initiation.

something to see

Sometimes we come across new makers and get so excited about their stories and ideas that we want a front row seat to see what happens next. Here are our thoughts on the above five:

Salsa Collaborative/Rolled Up Catering: Hot sauce companies, burger pop-ups, fancy hot pocket makers, and full-time delicious dreamers Nicky and Brian Podgorski have no shortage of great ideas. The two invented the “brissant” (a sort of bread-croissant hybrid) and he proved to be one of the hottest pop-up his tickets in town. A dish Nikki made with a passion for traditional Cambodian flavors. Then look for them at a weekend residency at Barrel His Theory His Brewery in Lower Town starting January 6th.

Dahlia: a Owned by three former Travail staff, the Daytime Café embraces the feel of a full-service fine dining restaurant for breakfast and lunch. Alex Althoff, Sarah Julson, and Nat Moser are set to open his Dahlia in northeast Minneapolis in 2023 or maybe 2024, but the dessert-focused pop-up has already sold out.

Soul Rao: Popular Seoul Lao is upgrading from a food truck to a brick-and-mortar location at St. Paul’s Sibley Plaza. The truck is where Sabrina Bualafang and Eric Fotissang serve up Laotian delicacies such as chicken wings and crunchy/juicy/easy-to-eat pork belly, all prepared with soul. Aiming to open in April, the restaurant will be able to expand its menu to include “a mix of traditional and innovative Laotian dishes set against a backdrop of vintage Laotian design.”

Grill: Honey and Rye Bakehouse is a 10-year-old bakery in St. Louis Park that focuses on the finest local ingredients. Launched down the street from the bakery’s original location, Anne Andrus will open a bakehouse this spring to support the bakery’s growing wholesale orders. The freshly painted pink building—formerly a clothing store—has space for a small storefront with an all-new line of sweets.

Unstoppable Purpose: For many restaurateurs, opening a huge bar/event space/restaurant in the downtown metropolitan area is a pinnacle of sorts, but for Sarah and Brian Ingram, it’s just a stop along the way. The duo that oversees the Purpose restaurant resonates with diners with her heartfelt commitment to donate 3% of all sales to charity. The Apostle Supper Club opened across the street from the Excel Energy Center this winter after opening another club in Duluth. These restaurants join two Hope Breakfast Bars and Gnome, with more Hope Breakfast Bars coming soon. The duo are already embarking on their next adventure, Spring Break, which is set to open near Xcel this spring.

on the national stage

Will the Twin Cities restaurant scene match what’s happening on a national level? In many ways, we’re already there:

  • Predictors foresee the rise of private dining clubs, supper clubs, experiential dining, and communal dining.
  • Forbes should expect more artificial intelligence to come before us, one that will not only bring us food and drink, but will take on both administrative functions and production jobs. Check out Kura Sushi’s super cute drink delivery robot at the Mall of America. Sweetgreen, while not in Minnesota, plans to open two fully automated stores this year.
  • As concerns about inflation and rising delivery costs continue, more consumers will choose to receive their food rather than have it delivered.
  • Food halls will continue to thrive, including single-concept food halls, as well as Eden Prairie’s new Asia Mall, which was greeted with much enthusiasm.
  • Restaurants continue to expand their offerings with more space, both in-house and online, for groceries and general merchandise.

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