First Look: Chef Shack Ranch

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The front counter at the newly opened Chef Shack Ranch in Seward

They've conquered the mobile restaurant scene, garnering multiple awards as one of America's most creative food trucksbest farmers market lunches, and most memorable market meals. Then they went on to open a successful brick-and-mortar eatery in Bay City, Wisconsin, centered on their kitchen's wood burning oven. Now Carrie Summers and Lisa Carlson of Chef Shack have put down roots in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis. They officially opened their latest concept, Chef Shack Ranch, for the first time last night.

We stopped by to see what they have done to transform the interior of the building, which was formerly home to Lucy's Ethiopian restaurant, and to sample some meaty barbecue, cowboy-approved pub food, and delicious sweet and savory desserts. 

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Duck fat-fried hot dogs with foie gras at Prairie Dogs' second pop-up

Categories: Last Night
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Alma Guzman
Haute dogs invaded First Course last night
It was total tubesteak takeover last night at First Course in south Minneapolis. Prairie Dogs, a pop-up restaurant/experiment from consultant Tobie Nidetz and chef Craig Johnson, offered up a full menu of lavishly topped Vienna beef hot dogs and a few of their own handcrafted sausages.

The two are using the pop-up model to test drive their latest concept and get a sense for how ready and willing Minneapolis is to accept a hot dog-centered hangout other than the Wienery.  

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Sea Change featuring new Nordic cuisine menu

Categories: Last Night
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Emily Weiss
Potato pave with paddlefish roe and creme fraiche (foreground) for first tastes at Sea Change
Chef Jamie Malone has had quite a year.

Since she was named one of Food & Wine Magazine's best chefs of 2013, there's been a ton of renewed interest in Malone's restaurant, Sea Change, and in sustainable seafood in general. Malone recently became a member of the chef's culinary board for the Norwegian Seafood Council and took a trip to Norway to eat, cook, and learn about the unique aquaculture of the region. 

She's returned with a new Nordic-inspired menu, available for just a few more days at Sea Change, that pairs some of the most gorgeous fruit of the sea with classic, clean flavors. We were fortunate to sample the menu last night and see Malone's interpretation of Scandinavian fare.

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Bike to dinner: St. Paul edition

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Dawn Brodey
The chariot of the dining bicyclist.

Dare we say it -- summer has finally arrived -- and as it does, increased numbers of weather-weary Twin Citians are taking to their bicycles and hitting the town. They pedal the Lakes, the Grand Rounds, the Greenway, or any of the many urban bike lanes. It is for good reason that we are regularly voted among the most bike-friendly cities in the country.

But bike-friendly isn't the only feather in our cap -- we are also regularly voted among the best cities for foodies. So why not combine the two?

A few weeks ago Hot Dish brought you a course for your courses -- a bike-friendly route with recommended stops for appetizers, dinner and dessert. Beginning and ending in Minneapolis, the 10-mile course was a big hit.

Now Hot Dish pedals East and presents a course for your courses in St. Paul. This seven-mile route hits some of Saint Paul's classic locations and new favorites -- and burns a lot of calories along the way.


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Cow Bella burgled, resolves to remain loyal to the Mac-Groveland neighborhood

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Great gelato inspires goodwill

This weekend, in an overnight heist, thieves broke into the relatively new gelato shop Cow Bella on Grand Avenue, near the Macalester school campus. They made off with some cash, a computer and an iPad, but what they took was more than just that.

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Republic finds a new home in Uptown

Categories: Last Night
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David McCrindle
A better bun befitting a better bar burger at Republic

Let's just get this out of the way: The new outpost of Republic in Calhoun Square has nothing on the original Seven Corners location in terms of atmosphere. Yes, the views are nice and it's a very welcome addition to an area that's lacking in really good beer bars, but the lofted space, in the former home of chachi bar the Independent, just doesn't have the well-worn, dark, wooded charm of the original. (Note: The gross smoking patio has been destroyed and remade into sunny atrium seating.) Fortunately, what they do have is a menu identical to the one at their successful Seven Corners store. 

It had been some time since we stopped by Republic to actually eat rather than to just wade through their extensive and oft-rotating beer list, so a visit to this second location, which opened in early November, seemed in order, and it offered some very nice surprises. 

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Nightingale on Lyndale now open

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Courtesy Nightingale Facebook page
Late night still means a full menu at Nightingale, now open on Lyndale

After a successful and very hush-hush soft opening on Monday evening, Nightingale, a new late-night spot in Whittier focused on drinks and small plates, officially opened its doors to the public at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Here's a sneak peek at what's on the menu:

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Muffuletta celebrates 35 years

Categories: Last Night
All lit up for a party
Last night marked a big anniversary for Muffuletta, Parasole Group's very first restaurant, as it celebrated an impressive 35 years in operation. Founders Phil Roberts and Peter Mihajlov, still regulars at the cafe, dropped by to eat, mingle, and reminisce about their first year in business, when diners went wild for quiche Lorraine and chicken salad in a hollowed-out pineapple. Their tagline? "Just Different Enough," and for 1977 it was. 

What are they up to now? 



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Hell's Kitchen introduces Craft Cocktail Wednesdays

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Hell's Kitchen's creates cocktails personally designed for each patron
If you're looking for a new way to get over the midweek hump, Hell's Kitchen has recently created a new option. Hopping on the same bandwagon as other major Twin Cities restaurants, Hell's Kitchen is invading the craft cocktail scene: From 9 p.m. until close every Wednesday night, you can head down to the restaurant's back bar and experience Craft Cocktail Wednesday.


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Broders' 'Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives' viewing party at Vincent

Categories: Last Night

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David McCrindle
Late Monday evening, nearly 150 foodies, fans, and employees of Broders' Pasta Bar and Cucina Italiana gathered at Vincent on Nicollet Mall to enjoy cured meats, fine cheeses, and champagne to toast the premiere of the latest episode of Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, which featured a 10-minute segment on Broders' Pasta Bar, the popular family-run Italian restaurant on 50th and Penn. 

"I can't seem to figure out how we made it on this show," said Molly Broder, owner of the restaurant. "We always wanted to get to that level where the restaurant was getting national press, but I didn't think we were really a diner, drive-in, or a dive," Broder admitted, while others nodded in agreement. "I guess I have thought of the pasta bar as sort of a modern-day Italian diner, but we're definitely not a drive-in, so we decided to have the viewing party at a dive!" Broder was clearly joking about the venue, but they did give the place a drive-in theater vibe with big screens, popcorn on tables, and giant boxes of Skittles, Sno-Caps, and Raisinets.

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