After a year and a half of crushing news and hardship because of the pandemic, everyone is anxious for some good news and a return to some semblance of normal life. With vaccinations on the rise and COVID-19 infection rates continuing to drop, it seems that the time is finally here to look forward to dining at some new restaurants. That’s the thing about this industry. It’s always moving up and out with innovators and risk takers, creative folks ready to make a dream a reality by sharing tasty things with the rest of us. This summer, in addition to looking forward to days on the lake and a season-capping State Fair, we’re also looking forward to indigenous cuisine down by the falls, fried chicken from a home-grown celebrity chef, thick-crusted pizzas with a lacy cheese edge, and so much more. Read on for the restaurant’s we can’t wait to visit this summer.
Location: 3006 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis
Key Players: Justin Sutherland
Projected Opening: June 14
Justin Sutherland, of Top Chef and Handsome Hog fame is opening up a new fried chicken restaurant inside the former Country Bar/Uptown Blue Door location. The mocked up opening menu teases some saucy sandwiches, buckets of legs, dry rubbed wings, and waffle fries. Even better news for the gluten-free set: all bird and buns can be made GF, friendly upon request. We already know that Sutherland has a way with fried chicken, his Japanese-style Obachan inside Rosedale is one of the under-sung gems of the crispy bird world, and the Tennessee Hot fried chicken at his flagship restaurant Handsome Hog in Cathedral Hill is a mouth-blazing standout.
Location: 425 West River Parkway, Minneapolis
Key Players: Sean Sherman, Dana Thompson
Projected Opening: July
The stunning new restaurant helmed by James Beard Award winning chef and author Sean Sherman is rising next to the Mississippi River by Saint Anthony Falls. Known for his ambitious works to decolonize modern cuisine, both as a teacher and chef, Sherman’s restaurant will be the heart of the $24 million revitalization, Water Works Park. The location is a part of sacred lands to the Dakota people. Sherman is a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. The nearby falls were a colonial sacred site known as Owámniyomni, roughly translated, “the place of the falling, swirling waters.”
Service will be sit-down inside with a walk-up area for casual park-goers, making the picnicking around this scenic area even better. The menu will be free from dairy, wheat, and other Western commodities, and instead focus on local meats, vegetables, and seasonal produce. The alcohol-free bar will serve locally sourced and made teas along with botanical-based refreshers.
Location: 501 30th Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis
Key Players: Bebe Zito, Wrecktangle Pizza, Del Sur Empanadas
Projected Opening: Late June/Early July
This long, long, long-awaited food hall has been in the works since 2017, but the final touches are finally being put on the space. Inside, the market will house a collection of exciting entrepreneurs, including burgers and ice cream from Bebe Zito, those irresistible Detroit-style pizzas from Wrecktangle, and those tasty pockets of flavor from Del Sur Empanadas. Other stands include the new Abang Yoli from Spoon and Stable alum chef Jamie Yoo, and more. There will also be a self-serve beer tap wall and the Boxcar Bar with a menu from well-known barman Nick Kosevich.
Location: 2445 Northeast Marshall Street, Minneapolis
Key Players: Alicia Hinze
Projected Opening: July
Lowertown’s favorite breakfast stop is expanding to Northeast. The Buttered Tin’s owner and pastry chef Alicia Hinze had been cooking up a second spot for 2020 when the pandemic came and took all fun away. Now, plans are back on to create a stop for those stuffed hash browns, towering cakes, and irresistible cupcakes.
Location: 222 East Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis
Key Players: Dennis Leaf-Smith and Kim Tong
Projected Opening: Late Summer
Chef Dennis Leaf-Smith has partnered with hospitality maven Kim Tong to turn this iconic restaurant location into a new neighborhood hot spot. The two met while working at Esker Grove and this is their first restaurant that’s all their own. All Saints will have a focused, seasonal menu with small plates and sharable entrees in a gorgeously remade dining room that will reflect the building’s art deco history. On the side of the restaurant will be an expansive patio, that is planned to be serving once again before the final days of summer. Behind the bar will be Scott Weller, who Tong worked with at Parlour back
Location: 1717 NE 2nd Street, Minneapolis
Key Players: Yia Vang and Marshall Paulsen
Projected Opening: 2021
Yia Vang has been busy this year. The celebrated chef has dropped a new season of his TPT show Relish, raised funds to support the local Asian community with Minnesota Rice, and shared his family’s deep ties to outdoor cookery. All this and operating his original restaurant success, the nomadic Union Hmong Kitchen. But, perhaps the most exciting thing he’s working on for 2021 is his first fixed address restaurant, Vinai. Named for the refugee camp where his family lived in Thailand before emigrating to the United States, this Northeast Restaurant will feature a lush interior and flavor-rich menu. The cuisine will take cues from both his Hmong heritage with a few fine-dining techniques he’s picked up working at restaurants around Minneapolis. His dishes are packed with herbs, citrus, grill char, and spice. Vang has teamed up with Marshall Paulsen, who has strong ties with Minnesota farmers after working several years as the chef at Birchwood Cafe. This all sounds like perfect summer eating. However, no hard opening date has been announced yet. The project, which has been coming together since last year, will arrive in due time.