The Mill: New grilled cheese spot offers opportunities to former convicts

A grilled cheese sandwich // Photo via All Square Facebook

A grilled cheese sandwich // Photo via All Square Facebook

Coming to south Minneapolis this spring is All Square, a new restaurant bringing together social responsibility with a side of good old fashioned grilled cheese. The concept, referred to as “guilt-free comfort food,” was founded by Emily Hunt Turner, a civil rights attorney who’s worked in housing, architecture and public policy. The aim is to offer employment and reentry programs to those who were previously incarcerated.

“All Square was launched in response to the widespread exclusion of those with criminal records,” the website says. “We believe that all individuals deserve to be judged on their merit and not their mistakes.”

All Square’s board of directors encompasses attorneys, community activists, and business owners, all focusing on criminal justice reform. In addition to their hiring practices, the restaurant will also have a 13-month curriculum for those reentering society post-incarceration. The program “is centered on professional development, entrepreneurship, and a paid internship in a captivating, community-oriented restaurant.”

The name itself, aside from reflecting the shape of grilled cheese, comes from Hunt Turner’s own philosophy on accepting convicts back into society after they’ve served their sentence. “Those who have paid their debts to society are SQUARE and free to move forward with a clean slate,” the website states. “We believe that all individuals deserve to be judged on their merit and not their mistakes. Additionally, we believe that meaningful reparations for communities who have been disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system are of the utmost importance.”

Drink

Brother Justus whiskey // Photo via Brother Justus Whiskey Facebook

Brother Justus whiskey // Photo via Brother Justus Whiskey Facebook

The Brewers Association has released its 2018 Beer Style Guidelines, with “Juicy or Hazy” ales making their debut under the category of North American Origin Ale Styles. This style, most commonly referred to as hazy IPA or New England IPA, highlights less of the hop bitterness of the traditional American IPA, and more tropical fruitiness and softer mouthfeel.

The Ripple Bar opened over the weekend in Duluth’s Canal Park, adjacent to Hoops Brewing. The bar is unique in that, with some creative interpretation of the state’s regulations resulting in a small dividing wall between the bar and the brewery, it’s officially the only full bar in Minnesota to share space with a brewery.

Brother Justus Whiskey Company has quietly been distilling in the basement of an old industrial building in Northeast for the past three years, and come June they’ll be officially opening a small tasting room. But right now, if you know which unmarked staircase to follow, the taproom is open on Saturdays from 12pm–5pm with all of their offerings: the flagship barrel-aged whiskey, their un-aged silver whiskey, and an “experimental” marked simply with an “X.”

The “Harry Potter house” up for sale for a cool $2.995 million will sadly not be housing a brewery, as was previously planned. Brass Foundry Brewing, who was intending on moving into the stately space as a “destination brewer,” will instead be opening in Minnetonka off of Baker Road. The house, near U.S. Bank Stadium, is the only single-family home in downtown Minneapolis, and is owned by musician and restaurateur Jeff Arundel, owner of Aster Cafe and Jefe in St. Anthony Main.

Far North Spirits released its first estate-grown bourbon, the Bødalen Bourbon. It’s a high rye bourbon weighing in with a mash bill of 60 percent heirloom corn, 30 percent AC Hazlet winter rye, and 10 percent malt barley, all of the grains being grown on the head distiller’s own farm. The bourbon has been aged in Minnesota-made oak barrels for at least a year and a half, and will be released in the distillery’s cocktail room, as well as liquor stores in New York, Chicago and Wisconsin.

Fair State Brewing Cooperative embraced their inner nerd recently, when they launched a can of their Mirror Universe hazy IPA 80,000 feet into the stratosphere with a weather balloon. The Fair State team tracked the beer and followed it to its landing spot in a field in Iowa, where they cracked it open in celebration.

Food

Lenny Russo // Photo courtesy ninetwentyfive

Chef Lenny Russo // Photo courtesy ninetwentyfive

Chef Lenny Russo is back as the new executive chef and director of food and beverage at ninetwentyfive, the restaurant attached to the Hotel Landing in Wayzata. After dinner service on April 29, the traditional American dining establishment will temporarily close for Russo and his team to reinvent the menu, reopening to the public for breakfast on May 10.

Kings Wine Bar announced news of their closing on their Facebook page last week, with their last day of service being March 24. “It is with a heavy heart that we accepted an offer to sell the restaurant. It is very bittersweet,” they expressed in the post. “Please stop by and see us if you can. We want to thank you for all your support.”

The Vilcek Foundation is awarding $50,000 to three immigrant culinary arts professionals for 2019’s Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise.

The Minnesota State Fair is losing one of its historic dining halls this year, as the Robbinsdale chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star ends its 80-year run. The classic dining hall decided to call it quits in response to changing fair food preferences, an aging volunteer staff, and steep building costs. The hall was most well-known for its buttermilk pancakes with blueberries.

Starting this Friday, Surly will be serving up made-to-order New Haven-style “apizzas” in the second floor space of their Minneapolis brewery, with their aptly-named new restaurant, Surly Pizza Upstairs.

 

Culture

Olafur Sigurdarson as Rigoletto in Minnesota Opera new production of “Rigoletto” // Photo by Cory Weaver

Olafur Sigurdarson as Rigoletto in Minnesota Opera new production of Rigoletto. // Photo by Cory Weaver

The Minnesota Opera brings their penultimate main stage performance of the season to life with Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” led by director Austin Regan. The Duke of Mantua (Joshua Dennis) lusts after Gilda (Marie-Eve Munger), unaware that she’s the daughter of his disfigured court jester, Rigoletto, played by Icelandic baritone Olafur Sigurdarson. Tickets are still available for some remaining performances.

The lineup has been announced for the 20th annual Twin Cities Jazz Fest, to be held June 21–23. Headliners include Grammy-winning vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, New Orleans emerging artist Nayo Jones, as well as saxophonists Tia Fuller and Houston Person. The fest will be held in and around Mears Park in Lowertown, with performances on three outdoor stages and surroundings bars, restaurants, and studio spaces.

The Saint Paul Saints crowned Curt McKay of Centerville, Minnesota as the lucky winner of their NCAA $10,000 giveaway. “The $10,000 prize comes at a perfect time because I was just laid off from my job of 17 years,” said McKay.  “I was tuned in and when I saw my name I couldn’t believe it. I was like ‘Are you sure it’s me?’ I immediately called my wife to tell her the good news.” There were over 16,000 entrants in the drawing.


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]