The Mill: Grand Cafe among Food & Wine’s Best Restaurants of the Year

The front entrance of Grand Cafe // Photo by Wing Ta

Listed among Food & Wine’s 2018 Best Restaurants is none other than South Minneapolis French eatery, Grand Cafe. Led by chef and owner Jamie Malone, the quaint eatery tucked away on a residential stretch of Grand Avenue South has earned numerous nominations and accolades since Malone first joined forces with chef Erik Anderson in 2017 to take over the restaurant. Anderson has gone on to become the head chef of Coi in San Francisco.

In the Food & Wine write-up, written lovingly by Twin Cities native Andrew Zimmern, both the restaurant’s innovative take on French food and its unique aesthetic are applauded. “The wall decor and tabletops are more suited to a dinner party at a neighbor’s house than a chic eatery,” Zimmern writes. “The plates, flatware, glasses and silverware were collected by the young chefs in the year long run up to opening the restaurant. It all works.”

As for the food, Zimmern praises Anderson and Malone for their ability to take classic French cuisine and reimagine is “for a new generation of diners.” Weaving in quintessential Minnesotan ingredients like lake fish and crayfish, Malone and Anderson have achieved a fusion of new age and classic style. Malone’s skill with seafood is apparent in everything from her oysters to her razor clam vinaigrette.

Earlier this year, Grand Cafe was a semifinalist for two James Beard awards, including a nom for Malone as Best Midwest Chef and for Grand Cafe as Best New Restaurant. Of the 10 restaurants listed in Food & Wine’s write-up, there was only one other in the Midwest: Ferndale, Michigan’s Voyager.


Palmer's Bar and the iconic mural are fixtures in Minneapolis' Cedar-Riverside neighborhood // Photo by Ed Kohler, Flickr

Palmer’s Bar and the iconic mural are fixtures in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood // Photo by Ed Kohler, Flickr

Cedar-Riverside’s Palmer’s Bar has been sold to longtime Grumpy’s Northeast bartender, Tony Zaccardi. Over the weekend, Zaccardi announced that the sale is officially moving forward, and if all goes to plan he’ll be running Palmer’s in the coming months. Zaccardi’s love for Palmer’s originated when he first started performing there as a bassist. “I love the diversity of the place,” he told The Growler. “It’s black, white, gay, straight, rich, poor—it’s everything and everybody, and a cross-section of the city.”

According to a report put out by the Brewers Association, U.S. craft beer export volume increased by 3.6 percent in 2017, putting its value over $125 million. Exports to the Asia-Pacific region grew 7.4 percent, Japan grew 2.6 percent, and Western Europe was up by 1.3 percent. Canada remains the largest market for U.S. craft beer exports, accounting for 51.3 percent of total exports.

The BA also released its inaugural list of the 50 fastest growing craft breweries in the U.S. (by annual production) and three Minnesota companies were included. Beaver Island Brewing in St. Cloud ranked 40th, Lupulin Brewing in Big Lake at 29th, and Northeast Minneapolis’ 56 Brewing at 22nd. The median size of breweries on the inaugural list went from 284 barrels in 2016 to 963 barrels in 2017. Methodology can be found on the BA’s website.

The Brainerd City Council approved new regulations last week that greatly help to clear the way for the opening of a new distillery and cocktail room. Lisa Desrocher and her husband hope to be opening 5Rocks Distilling later this summer, after winning a $12,000 grant through a contest sponsored by the Brainerd Lakes Chamber. Desrocher told the Star Tribune that she hopes the distillery will help revitalize the town of Brainerd, drawing people in from the more popular surrounding lakes.


Gerard Klass // Photo by Madalyn Rowell

Chef Gerard Klass of Soul Bowl // Photo by Madalyn Rowell

After running a series of sold-out pop-ups, north Minneapolis will soon house the new brick-and-mortar spot for Soul Bowl. Chef Gerard Klass told City Pages that he’s excited to tap into the north Minneapolis neighborhood, which currently has very few options for restaurants, especially compared to the rest of the city. He says, “For me, it’s a gold mine.” Although the project is still far off from its Kickstarter goal of $100,000, Klass says they still fully plan to go through with the transition to brick-and-mortar.

The Montreal-style bagel deli planned for the vacant spot on Bryant Avenue South and Lake Street has a name. Co-owners Tim Niver and Adam Eaton will be opening Maven in June, according to a tweet posted by Niver. It reads, “our new restaurant in MPLS will be named Maven. demo on the space has begun. it is real. june looks like a good month to open. breakfast, lunch, dinner, carry out, full liquor. plans include an indoor/outdoor bar and patio seating. there are parking spots. things are good.” He also confirmed via Twitter that there will be a “mix of traditional American, Middle Eastern and Eastern European foods. Bagels, raw bar, sandwiches, roasted meat and fish, dumplings, full bar, etc.”

Seasoned Specialty Food Market, a new “fusion” grocer newly open on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, aims to give a leg up for food startups by offering shelf space. Founder Kayla Yang-Best’s business model simply asks small producers who wish to sell goods at her store to pay rent, in a sense. Producers pay $40 per month for a 12-month contract, or $60 per month for six months. The fees go toward staffing and administrative costs, but all of the proceeds go back to the producers.

North Loop’s Red Rabbit is back in business following a small hood vent fire in their kitchen last Thursday during non-business hours. The fire was contained, and the Italian restaurant has since been fully inspected and cleaned up in time for dinner service on Sunday night.

The former Legends Bar & Grill in Northeast Minneapolis is being taken over by its neighbor, the owner of Eli’s Food & Cocktails, who is opening a new barbecue restaurant to be named Lipstick Pig. The new spot is expected to open this month, and will attempt to feature barbecue flavors from all around the country, including different styles from within the Carolinas. But in addition to classic meats, there will also be a whole host of vegetables on the menu. There will be a full bar with 10 beers on tap, five wines, and five cocktails.


Basilica Block party 2017 // Photo courtesy Cities 97 Basilica Block Party

Basilica Block party 2017 // Photo courtesy Cities 97 Basilica Block Party

Basilica Block Party, Cities 97’s annual two-day summer fest held at the Basilica of Saint Mary, has announced the lineup for this year’s 23rd festival. Headliners include CAKE, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, The Revolution, and BØRNS. Local acts to hit the stage include Lady Lark, Reina del Cid, Kid Dakota, and The Shackletons. Tickets for the festival, to be held July 6 and 7, are on sale now.

Actors Danny Glover and Denise Richards are in Duluth shooting a film to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in the fall. “Christmas Break-In” is being shot primarily at Duluth’s Marshall School, an elite college preparatory academy best known in showbiz circles as the alma mater of comedian (and 2017 Growler Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Award nominee) Maria Bamford. The location was chosen both for of its free-of-charge snowy scenery and the state’s Snowbate program, which refunds a portion of filmmaking funds put into the local economy and offers breaks and incentives suitable for low-budget indie films.

The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival kicks off this week, running from April 12 through April 28 at theaters all across the Cities, including the Uptown Theater, St. Anthony Main Theatres, and at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Attendees either have the choice to buy individual movie tickets or festival passes, which guarantees access to all of the 250+ films.

With snow still on the ground, the Minnesota Wild are headed to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Game One of the series is set for Wednesday, April 11 at 6pm against the Winnipeg Jets on home ice. It’s the first time the two teams will be playing each other in the post season. To celebrate, the team is holding a pep rally Wednesday from 11:30am to 1:30pm at the TRIA Rink in downtown St. Paul with Wild alums, open skating, and of course Nordy in attendance. The first 250 fans will receive a free lunch courtesy of Levy Restaurants and free “This Is Our Ice” yard signs will be available at Twin Cities SuperAmerica locations. It’s unclear whether or not the ground is soft enough for yard signs, but here’s hoping.

The Mill is The Growler’s regular digest of all things new and notable in the world of food, drink, and culture. Stop back weekly for restaurant news, brewery rumors, and more. Have some news you want to share? Got some gossip to dish? Drop us a line at [email protected]