Minnesota Restaurant Openings and Closing in 2018

Illustration by Wasco

Illustration by Wasco

The restaurant business is famously volatile, and 2018 in Minnesota was par for the course—dozens of high-profile spots opened or closed their doors in an environment rife with change. But the continued shift of entertainment dollars into dining is still paying dividends for the industry, and openings outnumbered closings as an already lively scene gathered still more momentum.

The timeline that follows isn’t exhaustive, but it represents a densely detailed snapshot capturing many of the most noteworthy openings and closings of the year.

The Year In Restaurants 2018

January 1, 2018
510 Lounge Closes

510 Lounge Closes

The high-end but short-lived 510 Lounge, located in the former site of La Belle Vie, closes its doors.

January 7, 2018
Saguaro Closes

Saguaro Closes

Saguaro, home of one of the few legit chimichangas in Minneapolis, closes its doors for good.

January 11, 2018
Nye’s Piano Bar Opens

Nye’s Piano Bar Opens

The rebirth of the nationally famous Nye’s Polonaise Room came in the form of a smaller, cocktail-focused establishment at the same address, now also home to a number of newly built apartments.

January 13, 2018
Smalley’s Caribbean Barbecue and Pirate Bar Closes

Smalley’s Caribbean Barbecue and Pirate Bar Closes

Smalley’s, an institution in Stillwater for its party-in-the-Caribbean atmosphere, shuts its doors.

January 19, 2018
Saint Agnes Bakery Company

Saint Agnes Bakery Company

The storied Saint Agnes Bakery Company, tripped up by immigration-related problems, shuts its doors after 15 years in business.

January 24, 2018
Fig + Farro Opens

Fig + Farro Opens

The local rise of plant-based cuisine arrived in Uptown with the opening of Fig + Farro at Calhoun Square. We tried and liked their falafel appetizer.

February 14, 2018
Model Citizen Opens

Model Citizen Opens

Chef Mateo Mackbee founds a restaurant serving earthy-but-upscale farm-to-table American fare in New London, MN. Read more about it in our December 2018 story about the state of Minnesota soul food.

February 21, 2018
Geno’s Closes

Geno’s Closes

There aren’t too many local Italian sandwich shops dedicated to high-quality ingredients; Geno’s, one of the few, shuts its doors.

February 22, 2018
Sweet Chow Opens

Sweet Chow Opens

The North Loop saw the addition in 2018 of a chic new Asian fusion spot in the form of Sweet Chow, and its next door ice cream parlor. We thought the hot fudge sundae at the latter was totally killer.

March 13, 2018
La Mesa Opens

La Mesa Opens

The closure of the Sparks pizza eatery in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood opened the door for the debut of La Mesa, a neighborhood restaurant with a focus on wood-fired Latin fare.

March 30, 2018
Surly Pizza Upstairs Opens

Surly Pizza Upstairs Opens

The closure of the much celebrated Brewer’s Table left a void at Surly Brewing that was ably filled by the opening of its New Haven pizza-inspired restaurant, Surly Pizza Upstairs.

March 31, 2018
Kings Wine Bar Closes

Kings Wine Bar Closes

Neighborhood spot Kings Wine Bar, known as much for its pho as its wine, shuts its doors and segues into a pour-your-own-beer spot.

March 31, 2018
Wild Onion Closes

Wild Onion Closes

A Grand Avenue institution for 20 years, Wild Onion finally shuts its doors to be reborn as a Red Rabbit.

April 12, 2018
Spring Cafe Opens

Spring Cafe Opens

Although restaurateur Matty O’Reilly and culinary director J.D. Fratzke amicably parted ways later in the year, their opening of Sping Cafe at Como Lake in spring represents a high point of the 2018 dining scene in St. Paul.

April 16, 2018
Grand Catch Opens

Grand Catch Opens

The Wadi Brothers (World Street Kitchen, Milkjam) team up with Thien Ly of Cajun Deli to open this seafood boil-focused spot in a high profile Grand Avenue location in St. Paul. In our review, we liked aspects of the food and service and found other aspects lacking.

April 16, 2018
Maverick’s Real Roast Beef Reopens

Maverick’s Real Roast Beef Reopens

Maverick’s, the Roseville restaurant with a cult following for its roast beef sandwiches, reopened after a brief closure.

April 17, 2018
The Bungalow Club Opens

The Bungalow Club Opens

The fabled Craftsman space on East Lake Street went through a number of declining iterations before finally closing; the opening of The Bungalow Club, serving fresh pastas, cocktails, and clever small plates, represents a return to form.

April 18, 2018
Parlour Bar (St. Paul) Opens

Parlour Bar (St. Paul) Opens

With its strong reputation for cocktails and burgers and dedicated North Loop fans, Parlour Bar was a natural candidate to open a second location and jump into the increasingly hot St. Paul market.

April 19, 2018
The Hideaway Opens

The Hideaway Opens

The constantly churning restaurant presence at St. Anthony Main got a new jolt of action this year with the opening of The Hideaway, described by its owners as a “North Woods burger bar.”

April 27, 2018
Fish Bowl Poke Opens

Fish Bowl Poke Opens

Drawing on Chef Matthew Kazama’s Hawaiian roots, Fish Bowl Poke starts slinging poke around the corner from Kazama’s original Eat Street spot, Ramen Kazama. We thought their Rock-n-Roll Bowl was dynamite.

April 29, 2018
L’etoile du Nord Cafe Closes

L’etoile du Nord Cafe Closes

L’etoile du Nord Cafe—a Bayport-based farm-to-table restaurant known for its colorful Belgian proprietor, Olivier Vrambout—closes its doors.

May 2, 2018
Tori 44 Opens

Tori 44 Opens

A second restaurant for Jason Dorweiler, the owner of Tori Ramen in St. Paul, Tori 44 brings top-shelf noodlecraft to North Minneapolis. We reviewed the shop, located in the old Victory 44 space, and found “care and precision” to be the watchwords.

May 11, 2018
Iron Ranger Opens

Iron Ranger Opens

We don’t always think of Minnesota’s Iron Range as having its own distinct cuisine, but the food there is unique thanks to the influence of immigrants from Italy, Slovenia, Finland, and other parts of Europe. St. Paul’s Iron Ranger captures the best of the Range on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue, explained owner Tom Forti in an interview with the Growler.

May 22, 2018
StormKing BBQ Closes

StormKing BBQ Closes

After dramatically cutting back hours in April, the Black Sheep Pizza-adjacent StormKing BBQ, known for great Texas brisket, closes its doors.

May 22, 2018
Be’Wiched Deli Closes

Be’Wiched Deli Closes

A popular counter-service deli for 10 years and a pioneering North Loop restaurant, Be’Wiched shuts its doors.

May 29, 2018
Pearl and the Thief Opens

Pearl and the Thief Opens

Stillwater’s Pearl and the Thief represents an ambitious expansion of St. Paul chef and restaurateur Justin Sutherland into new territory, bringing his trademark Southern comfort fare along for the ride.

June 1, 2018
Sushi Train Opens

Sushi Train Opens

Gimmick or no, we found Sushi Train’s conveyor-based sushi concept to be charming and well-executed. This downtown Minneapolis spot could be a local gamechanger.

June 3, 2018
Ward 6 Closes

Ward 6 Closes

Ward 6, one of the pillars of the restaurant revival taking place on Payne Avenue in St. Paul, closes.

June 6, 2018
Muddy Pig Closes

Muddy Pig Closes

The Muddy Pig, a foundational craft beer bar in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, shuts its doors after 16 years.

June 9, 2018
Heyday Closes

Heyday Closes

The much-celebrated Uptown staple Heyday closes its doors.

June 13, 2018
Corktown Deli and Brews

Corktown Deli and Brews

The highlight of our hits-packed Duluth whirlwind tour was Corktown Deli and Brews, a new restaurant that throws a spotlight on classic deli food. Its veteran ownership team also runs the Duluth Grill and OMC Smokehouse.

June 29, 2018
Mi Casa Su Casa Opens

Mi Casa Su Casa Opens

Mi Casa Su Casa may well be the state’s only Pinoy / Mexican spot, offering tastes of the Philippines and Mexico on University Avenue in St. Paul.

June 30, 2018
The Rabbit Hole Closes

The Rabbit Hole Closes

One of the most singularly interesting restaurants in the state, the modern Asian fusion shop Rabbit Hole, closes its doors for good in the Midtown Global Market.

July 2, 2018
Centro Opens

Centro Opens

Part of a restaurant-in-a-restaurant duo along with the smaller, more upscale Popol Vuh, Centro brings a delicate touch to Latin fare in Northeast Minneapolis.

July 2, 2018
Meyvn Opens

Meyvn Opens

Opening on the heels of Corktown Deli, Meyvn represents another entry on the short-but-growing list of high concept, ambitious deli spots to open in recent years. Meyvn is a Tim Niver / Adam Eaton project, and our review found that the duo brings all the energy they offer at Saint Dinette to this new space.

July 26, 2018
Rudolph’s BBQ Closes

Rudolph’s BBQ Closes

The nigh-legendary Lyndale Avenue late-night hangout Rudolph’s closes after more than 40 years in business.

July 31, 2018
Heirloom Closes

Heirloom Closes

Heirloom, a farm-to-table restaurant on Marshall Avenue in St. Paul that picked up where the old Craftsman left off, closes after a relatively short but high-profile run.

August 14, 2018
Funky Grits Opens

Funky Grits Opens

South Minneapolis soul food destination Funky Grits took a while to open, but it landed with a bang. We interviewed chef/owner Jared Brewington for our December, 2018 issue’s special story about the state of soul food in Minnesota.

August 14, 2018
Hyacinth Opens

Hyacinth Opens

High-end Italian concepts are enjoying a real run in the metro area, and among the most prominent new arrivals is Hyacinth on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Our review found it to be “crisp, collected, and charming.”

August 22, 2018
Birch’s Lowertown Opens

Birch’s Lowertown Opens

The Lowertown St. Paul branch of Birch’s on the Lake brings a mix of supper club food and house-brewed beer to its patrons at the Market House Collaborative.

September 4, 2018
Moderna Kouzina Opens

Moderna Kouzina Opens

Moderna Kouzina opens, bringing modern French cuisine with a Mediterranean influence to Edina.

September 9, 2018
All Square Opens

All Square Opens

Longfellow gains a grilled cheese concept restaurant that serves a higher mission: All Square works to employ and rehabilitate former prisoners as well as sling sandwiches. We thought their Hawaiian Grilled Cheese was scrumptious.

September 14, 2018
Keg and Case Opens

Keg and Case Opens

The ambitious Keg and Case Market brings a collection of upscale food- and drink-focused businesses to a food hall on West Seventh, located in the former Schmidt’s brewery keg house. We thought the spot’s debut was a triumph – and a gamble.

September 17, 2018
Apoy Opens

Apoy Opens

Along with Mi Casa Su Casa, Apoy on Eat Street represents a rare surfacing of Filipino food in the metro.

September 18, 2018
Lat14 Opens

Lat14 Opens

Stylish and ambitious, Lat14 opens in Golden Valley, bringing a variety of Southeast Asian fare that we reviewed and enjoyed.

September 20, 2018
Seed Cafe Opens

Seed Cafe Opens

Seed Cafe opens, bringing plant-based dining to the shores of Bde Maka Ska.

September 20, 2018
Tavola Italian Kitchen + Bar Opens

Tavola Italian Kitchen + Bar Opens

Tavola Italian Kitchen + Bar opens in the Elliot Park Hotel, bringing another high-end Italian option to downtown Minneapolis.

September 22, 2018
Dulceria Bakery Opens

Dulceria Bakery Opens

Dulceria, a new Mexican sweets-focused bakery, opens in the former Colossal Cafe space on 42nd Street.

September 24, 2018
Xavi Closes

Xavi Closes

Xavi, an ambitious little restaurant in the former First Course space in South Minneapolis, closes.

September 28, 2018
Fhima’s Opens

Fhima’s Opens

Fhima’s brings the well-known French-influence cuisine of restaurateur David Fhima to the stunning location at the base of the City Center in Minneapolis.

September 29, 2018
Pie Plate and Coffee Opens

Pie Plate and Coffee Opens

The cult favorite Stockholm Pie Company of Wisconsin jumps across the river to open a cafe in Red Wing called the Pie Plate and Coffee.

September 30, 2018
Grumpy’s Downtown Closes

Grumpy’s Downtown Closes

After 19 years, an apartment development shuts the doors on the downtown Minneapolis location of Grumpy’s.

September 30, 2018
Trio Plant-Based Opens

Trio Plant-Based Opens

The plant-based food stampede, set off in large part by Herbivorous Butcher in Minneapolis and J. Selby’s in St. Paul, continues with the opening Trio Plant-Based in LynLake.

October 1, 2018
Colossal Cafe Minneapolis Closes

Colossal Cafe Minneapolis Closes

The Minneapolis location of Colossal Cafe shuts its doors and makes way for a similarly breakfast-facing restaurant (the Standish Cafe).

October 1, 2018
Vegan East Opens

Vegan East Opens

Vegan East, a vegan bakery in White Bear Lake, expands into the Ecopolitan building on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis.

October 3, 2018
Bonchon Opens

Bonchon Opens

The local branch of the mega-popular South Korean fried chicken restaurant Bonchon opens in Uptown.

October 6, 2018
Dipped and Debris Opens

Dipped and Debris Opens

Sen Yai Sen Lek diversifies its portfolio by changing half of its real estate into a frozen custard and sandwich shop called Dipped and Debris.

October 13, 2018
Pho Lodge Opens

Pho Lodge Opens

The slightly unusual North Woods-themed pho shop called Pho Lodge opens in Maplewood.

October 16, 2018
Colita Opens

Colita Opens

Hot on the heels of the successful opening of Martina, Daniel del Prado opens the Latin and barbecued-inspired Colita on Penn Avenue.

November 16, 2018
Boludo Empanadas Opens

Boludo Empanadas Opens

Eat Street gains an empanada and pizza shop thanks to Facundo De Fraia, the empanada maestro of Martina.

November 19, 2018
Lucky Cricket Opens

Lucky Cricket Opens

TV personality and chef Andrew Zimmern’s mega-hyped Chinese-inspired restaurant, Lucky Cricket, opens in St. Louis Park. Read our full review.

November 21, 2018
Guavas Cuban Cafe Opens

Guavas Cuban Cafe Opens

A state without too many Cuban restaurants sports a new one after Guavas opens its doors in South Minneapolis.

December 17, 2018
Pizza Karma Opens

Pizza Karma Opens

Pizza Karma presents tandoori naan-based pizza created by James Beard winner Chef Raghavan Iyer.

December 18, 2018
PRIME 6 Closes

PRIME 6 Closes

PRIME 6 went big in its City Center location in downtown, offering sushi, steak, pasta, and burgers. But its high gloss, high overhead formula proved unworkable, and it shut its doors on Dec. 18.

December 30, 2018
Draft Horse Closes

Draft Horse Closes

The Food Building’s farm-to-table pub and eatery shuts its doors at the end of December, 2018.

December 30, 2018
Bus Stop Burgers and Brewhouse Opens

Bus Stop Burgers and Brewhouse Opens

Bus Stop Burgers and Brewhouse brings blended burgers and craft beer from the team behind Target Center’s Cargo Food Authority.

December 31, 2018
Dalton and Wade Closes

Dalton and Wade Closes

North Loop-based Dalton and Wade quickly established a reputation as one of the most ambitious purveyors of craft whiskies in the state, but that wasn’t enough to tide the place over – it shut its doors after about a year-and-a-half of operation.