Coffee at the Crossroads: Somali-American-owned Nori Cafe in St. Cloud is part coffee shop, part cultural bridge

Few words are more loaded with subtext than “coffee.” The word refers to a caffeinated beverage, sure. But it also means “comfort.” It means “conversation.” And it means “connection.” Person-to-person, sure. But it can be far more than that: business-to-business, culture-to-culture, nation-to-world. At the Somali-owned Nori Cafe in St. Cloud, Minnesota, the word “coffee” comes … [ Read more]

Meat Master: With hundreds of awards (and kudos from Germany), Rick Reams is crafting world-class food in Hudson, Wisconsin, and St. Paul

You often can’t see the world-class food in your own backyard because it’s ubiquitous to the point of being invisible. Think of noodles in Japan, or bread in France, or spiced lentils in India—it’s daily fare that seems simple until you try to make it and realize there’s a world of knowledge that goes into … [ Read more]

A Slice of the Pie: With premium ingredients and a feminist mission, Rachel Anderson is building a new kind of bakery business

St. Paul-based baker Rachel Anderson does business at the three-way intersection of industry, hustle, and soul.  Industry, as in the 33-year-old New York state native is the very busy pastry chef for Tim McKee’s Market House Collaborative, a job that includes a contract to churn out the rich, beautiful, jotun-sized desserts that Manny’s Steakhouse has … [ Read more]

New Wave, Old School: With Due Focacceria, Eric Carrara leverages tradition to define the future

The crunch of a cannoli at St. Paul’s Due Focacceria really resonates. It’s not just a question of the shell, which is wrapped around a form, fried to a crispy, bubbled tube, and then filled to order. And it’s not just a question of the perfectly textured miniature chocolate chips that stud the lemon-zested cannoli … [ Read more]

Game Changer: Chef Eric Halverson’s use of North Country products is changing food culture in Grand Rapids

Everybody asks for ranch,” says chef Eric Halverson of Rapids Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. “We don’t have it. Never will.” In a business where pleasing people is the name of the game, Halverson is hospitable but defiant. The food will always be great, he says—a marriage of mostly local food with a wood-fired … [ Read more]

King of Croissants: Marc Heu’s University Avenue patisserie sells paradise by the slice

There is often a line to get into Marc Heu Patisserie Paris. The pastry shop occupies a wonky split level space that has hosted a rotating cast of short-lived restaurants, and it sits on a stretch of University Avenue that’s laden with businesses that pack a bit less sex appeal: a mortuary, social services offices, … [ Read more]

The Heat is On: Chef Janene Holig is leading Hot Indian Foods through a period of intense growth

Hailing from Swanville, Minnesota, and of Scandinavian and Polish stock, Janene Holig is not anybody’s initial idea of an Indian chef. In fact, in 2013 when she tried out for the position of head chef for the soon-to-be-launched Hot Indian Foods, the cuisine of India was an almost-complete blank for her. “I’d never worked with … [ Read more]

Country Flavor: New London’s Model Citizen is poised to shape the future of Minnesota food

Minnesota cooks are going wild. Established chefs laden with talent are packing up their knives and fleeing Minneapolis–St. Paul. From Moose Bear Wolf in Ely to Poplar Haus on the Gunflint Trail, and from the Falls Landing supper club in Cannon Falls to Willard’s in Cambridge, chefs with the chops and drive to make it … [ Read more]

Up in Smoke: Alejandro Castillon is using the smoker at Prieto Taqueria to unite classic Mexican fare and global techniques

The fiery heart of Alejandro Castillon’s new restaurant is an Oyler Pit smoker big enough to be a sauna. “It’s probably the biggest in Minneapolis,” Castillon says. The monstrous red box can cook six or seven hogs at once and it sports a hood that could comfortably vent a burning SUV. The chef’s takeover of … [ Read more]

Boiling Point: The fiery Door County fish boil tradition has deep and native roots

It’s early June, and rain is falling near the tip of Wisconsin’s Door County peninsula. Despite the wet weather and a persistent wind, more than two dozen spectators are gathered together in a damp little community facing the water, awaiting the climax of a local ritual that dates back at least 350 years. At five … [ Read more]

Northern Lights: Talent and ambition powers the dining room of Poplar Haus on the Gunflint Trail

Ask a handful of Minnesotans about going “up north” and you’ll probably get a cluster of different responses that share a few things in common. Up north isn’t a specific place, although many people have a place in mind. It’s not a where, it’s a what—a slower pace of life, a retreat from the lacerating … [ Read more]

Disturbing the Peace, Honoring the Place: Amy Huo is cooking farm-to-table in Eau Claire, damn the cost and consequences

Amy Huo will tell it to you straight: she isn’t the easiest person to work with. “I have an addiction to doing something new, even if I piss off everyone,” she laughs. As a food truck chef and entrepreneur, she has built her reputation in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, by dishing farm-to-table food from her roving … [ Read more]

Recipe for Reinvention: For Doug Flicker, Bull’s Horn is a revolt against his own success—and a return to his roots

If you walk into Bull’s Horn in South Minneapolis on the right night, and the scene hits you just the right way, you’ll experience a sudden, giddy rush of confusion. It’s not any single thing—it’s all the details taken in at once: the bubble hockey game, the pull-tab station, the plastic water glasses, the occasional little … [ Read more]

Dollars to Dumplings: Tim Niver’s relentless hustle keeps his culinary mini-empire current and profitable

If you watch Tim Niver casually assemble an order of bucatini all’amatriciana, you might easily mistake him for a chef. “I love that browning effect on the garlic,” he says, the smell of pancetta filling the kitchen at Mucci’s Italian. “You get that slight tinge of bitterness and you can even find some of those … [ Read more]

Wild-Fired Kitchen

For Ryan Stechschulte and KZ ProVisioning, feeding the Minnesota Wild is a job and a passion Deep in the bowels of the Treasure Island Center in downtown St. Paul, chef Ryan Stechschulte stands over two enormous metal pots of gourmet goulash and talks about Minnesota Wild hockey. If the TRIA Rink practice lair is the Batcave, Stechschulte is … [ Read more]

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