Order Up! Birchwood Cafe and the Minnesota Farmers Union look to build on their State Fair success in the Spoonriver space

Birchwood Cafe and the Minnesota Farmers Union will be taking over the Spoonriver space in Minneapolis // Photo via Birchwood Cafe Instagram

Updated December 5, 2019

Order Up! is the Growler’s ongoing biweekly account of noteworthy Minnesota restaurant openings, closings, and future openings. Please send any tips to [email protected]

All dates are approximate based on best information available; opening dates, in particular, tend to shift around a lot. 

THIS WEEK’S GIST: The loss of locally-focused Spoonriver felt initially like a blow to the farm-to-table movement in Minnesota until we got our heads around the project yet to come in that spot: not a trendy bistro, not a wine bar, not a brewpub, but a restaurant that will be a partnership between the determinedly local-focused Birchwood Cafe and the Minnesota Farmers Union. In some ways, the new restaurant is even more exciting than what it’s replacing—the direct involvement of farmers ups the stakes in terms of making seasonal local fare the centerpiece of the new spot’s menu. When the yet-to-be-publicly-named project debuts in 2020, look for it to shake up the farm-to-table game in a big way.

RECENTLY OPENED (Up to 2 Months)

Forest to Fork’s Urban Wok is open in the Keg and Case Market // Photo via Urban Wok Instagram

Forest to Fork’s Urban Wok, Keg and Case at 928 7th St W, St. Paul ■ A new, restaurant-focused side of the Forest to Fork mushroom and wild foods business in Keg and Case, featuring vegan and vegetarian stir-fry and noodle options. Opened November 18, 2019.

Potluck Food Hall, Rosedale Center, 1595 Hwy. 36 W., Roseville ■ A new seven-restaurant food court to replace the recently defunct Revolution Food Hall in Rosedale Center. Opened November 12, 2019.

FireBox Deli, 1585 Marshall Ave., St. Paul ■ This north Minneapolis BBQ favorite is opening an outpost at the busy intersection of Snelling and Marshall in St. Paul. Opened November 5.

Black Walnut Bakery, 3145 Hennepin Ave. South, Minneapolis ■ Baker Sarah Botcher is taking her cult-favorite wholesale baking business, known for its croissants, into a bricks-and-mortar space. Opened November 4.

Ichigo Tokyo Crepes,  3758 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis ■ Fish Bowl Poke’s move into the North Loop’s Graze project opened up this spot next to Ramen Kazama; a popular Japanese-style crepe pop-up is seizing the opportunity and opening its bricks and mortar location. Opened November 1.

Estelle, 1806 St Clair Ave, St Paul ■ The flavors of Southern Europe (Spain, Italy, Portugal) have popped up in the former Bottle Rocket space in St. Paul. Opened October 25.

Hot Hands Pie and Biscuit, 272 Snelling Ave. S., St Paul ■ Pie (both sweet and savory) and biscuits take center stage at this ambitious new St. Paul bakery. Opened October 21.

Baldamar, 1642 County Road B2 West, Roseville ■ Aged beef and giant, Manny’s-esque desserts are the highlights of this upscale restaurant near Rosedale Center, owned by Randy Stanley (of 6Smith in Wayzata). Opened October 16.

Monkey Temple Tandoori Grill and Ale House, 272 Snelling Ave S #200, St. Paul ■ Indian fusion cuisine and craft beer in a crisp, modern space. Opened October 11. Read our review.

Provision Community Restaurant, 2940 Harriet Ave. S, Minneapolis Pay-what-you-can is the rule at this new community eatery with a focus on healthy, family-style meals. Opened October 11.

The Block Food + Drink, 7007 Walker Street, St. Louis Park ■ A new restaurant and dog-friendly patio by Craft & Crew (Stanley’s, The Howe, and more). Opened October 8.

Thr3 Jack, 729 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis ■ Six state-of-the-art golf simulators and elevated comfort food will define this new 200-seat restaurant in the North Loop’s soon-to-open Nordic mixed-use complex. Opened October 7.

Snack Bar, 800 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis ■ The couple behind 112 Eatery, Burch, and Bar La Grassa (Isaac Becker and Nancy St. Pierre) have opened a New York-inspired pizza slice shop and wine bar in the former Be’Wiched space. Opened October 6.

RECENTLY CLOSED (Up to 2 Months)

Maeves Cafe will be closing on December 22 // Photo via Maeves Cafe Facebook

Maeve’s Cafe ■ Longstanding Northeast Minneapolis staple Maeve’s Cafe is shutting its doors later this month. Closing December 22. 

Spoonriver ■ One of the key Guthrie Theater-adjacent (and vegetarian-friendly) spots in Minneapolis is shutting its doors after nearly 15 years of service. Closing December 22. 

Piggy Bank Eatery ■ The latest tenant in what surely must rank among the top five “cursed” locations in the metro (Hennepin and 29th) has closed. Closed November 20. 

Al Vento ■ This longstanding South Minneapolis Italian mainstay closed without warning. Closed November 14. 

Uptown Pizza ■ One of Uptown’s old reliable eateries and one of the area’s only purveyors of garlic knots has shut its doors for good. Closed November 13. 

O’Gara’s (Cancelled Re-opening) ■ The 77-year-old St. Paul Irish pub / landmark will not be reopening after a long shutdown for renovation, but the brand will continue at the Minnesota State Fair and do business as a catering company. Announced November 4. 

Rose Street Patisserie (Linden Hills Location) ■ The pioneering location of Rose Street Patisserie has closed and will become a Daniel Del Prado project to be announced at a later time. Closed November 3. 

Funky Grits ■ On the heels of a triumphant Minnesota State Fair tour, the South Minneapolis grits restaurant is shutting its doors and reinventing itself as a community cafe in a new location on Bloomington Ave and 37th Street. Closed October 5. Read our story about black-owned restaurants, “Minnesota Soul.”

The Dough Room ■ The new and swanky pizza (and more!) Wayzata restaurant has called it quits. Closed October 5. Read our review of their margherita pizza.

UPCOMING (Most Imminent to Furthest Out)

Photo via just/us Instagram

Photo via just/us Instagram

Asa’s Bakery, 3507 23rd Ave. S., Minneapolis ■ Midtown Farmers Market vendor Asa Diebolt is bringing bagels, naturally leavened bread and bialys to a South Minneapolis bricks and mortar location. Opens December 7, 2019.

Heather’s,  5201 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis ■ The long-vacant Mario’s space in South Minneapolis will be reborn with a flexible, seasonal menu under the leadership of Heather Asbury, formerly of Lucia’s. Opens Winter 2019.

North Loop Galley, 729 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis ■ A four-restaurant food hall / incubator in the new Nordic development featuring Hawaiian plate lunches, Detroit-style pizza, the home of “the original chicken wrib,” and Southeastern Asian cuisine. Part of a series of Galley Group incubator spaces including spots in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Detroit. Opens December 16, 2019.

just/us, 275 4th St E, St. Paul ■ This chef-driven collective restaurant, open for about a year at 465 Wabasha Street, is reopening with support from crowdfunding. Opens December 10, 2019. Read our review, “Raw Talent.”

Cajun Twist, 3761 Bloomington Ave, Minneapolis ■ This Cajun-inspired restaurant will be moving from its current location at the trailhead at Theodore Wirth Park to the former Marla’s location in South Minneapolis. Opens December 2019. 

Pie & Mighty, 3553 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis ■ Gourmet pies (and pie subscriptions) will be the thing at this bricks-and-mortar incarnation of the popular local baking company. Opens 2019. 

The Lumberjack, 123 North 2nd St, Suite 102, Stillwater ■ Axe throwing, board games, and comfort food are among the key draws at this upcoming Stillwater restaurant. Late 2019.

Pajarito (Edina location), 3910 W 50th St, Edina ■ A second location of the popular West 7th modern Mexican restaurant is opening up in the former Tejas space in Edina. Late 2019.

Coffee Cup on Randolph, 1333 Randolph Ave., St. Paul ■ The venerable Copper Dome is being replaced by a similar classic diner concept with new ownership. January 11, 2020.

Sooki and Mimi, 1432 W. 31st St., Minneapolis ■ A new spot from Ann Kim’s restaurant group focused on tacos wrapped in handmade, traditional tortillas plus a basement bar. Early 2020.

Unleashed: Hounds and Hops, 200 E. Lyndale Ave., Minneapolis ■ A dog-focused tap house, dog park, and eatery located near the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Early 2020.

Pearl and the Thief, 811 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis ■ This former Stillwater-based restaurant is in the process of relocating to downtown Minneapolis, colocating with the Moxy Downtown Minneapolis hotel and Ironclad Residential development. Opening Early 2020.

Pho Mai, 319 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis ■ A new pho-focused eatery in a former Dinkytown Tim Horton’s, from the owner of the popular MT Noodles in Brooklyn Park. February 2020.

Malcolm Yards Market, 501 30th Ave. SE, Minneapolis ■  A food hall that will capitalize on its proximity to Surly’s massive brewery/restaurant complex. Spring 2020.

Birchwood-Minnesota Farmers Union Project TBA, 750 S 2nd St, Minneapolis ■ A new farm-to-table focused project led by Birchwood chef Marshall Paulsen will replace the former Spoonriver near the Guthrie Theater. Spring 2020.

Billy Sushi, 116 N 1st Ave., Minneapolis ■  Former Sushi Fix owner Billy Tserenbat is jump-starting a new venture in the former Sweet Chow space in the North Loop, with the former adjacent ice cream shop turning into a whiskey and sake bar. May 2020.

Dayton’s Food Hall & Market, 700 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis ■ Major new 40,000-square-foot food hall curated by Andrew Zimmern. 2020.

The Sioux Chef Restaurant at Water Works, On the Mississippi River, behind the Mill City Museum ■ A restaurant focused on American Indian cuisine as imagined by Sean Sherman, The Sioux Chef. Currently delayed; as per Dana Thompson (co-owner / COO of Sioux Chef), “We are at the mercy of the Park Board project and we keep getting notified that Waterworks has encountered a series of delays. As you know, this project is an archeological dig, so add that on to what it takes to open a restaurant, and there are a few challenges.” 2021.