Workshop in downtown Minneapolis is a showcase for technique and taste

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Hannah Sayle
Hoisin-seared beef tenderloin filet with smoked bok choy and daikon radish
Only a few months have passed since the main-level dining room at Kaskaid-owned Union changed from a sustainable seafood-driven restaurant-within-a-restaurant called Union Fish Market to Workshop at Union, a new micro, mini, and small plate concept helmed by the alternately lauded and loathed chef Stewart Woodman.

Suffice it to say, Woodman, who previously owned Heidi's and Birdhouse, both in Uptown, has had a lot of public scrutiny to overcome before returning to the local food scene. But it seemed like a wise move to slide slowly in under the umbrella of someone else's ownership and focus on doing what he does best: cook. We put aside the history and headlines for a night to try a smattering of the small plates he's pushing out of the kitchen at Workshop.

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Woodman's pop-up: Workshop at Union


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Urban Growler in St. Anthony Park is open for business

Categories: Beer, Now Open

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Loren Green

Start-up brewery Urban Growler is now open for business, six years after revealing its plans for a St. Paul suds factory. For now, the brewery is in its soft-opening phase, operating for limited hours on Wednesday through Saturday, with a promise to increase hours as more beers have completed brewing. In the meantime, the St. Anthony Park brewery is serving two beers: CowBell Cream Ale and Sission IPA -- both mild and easy-drinking beers that pair well with the brewery's kitchen offerings.

See also:
Urban Growler in St. Anthony Park: "We are the new Northeast"


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First Look: Black Coffee & Waffle Bar's waffles-only menu has focus and finesse

Categories: Now Open
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We've seen grilled cheese sandwiches fused together and made crispy in waffle irons, waffles made with bacon right in the batter, and we've seen mistyped menus declaring "Belgium waffles" available at brunch, but an establishment with a food lineup composed entirely of waffles? That might be a new one.

Black Coffee and Waffle Bar, the former Muddsuckers on 15th and Como Avenue near the U of M campus, has been re-branded, re-vamped, and is now reopened. Owners Lisa and Andrew Ply gave the cluttered space a make-under, with a streamlined menu of Dogwood Coffee drinks, pastries from A Baker's Wife (they don't deliver so the Plys pick up before opening each day), and more than half a dozen sweet, savory, very substantial waffles. 

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First Look: Tiny Diner has big potential

Categories: Now Open
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David McCrindle
Tiny Diner is now open in Powderhorn
The latest addition to Kim Bartmann's ever-evolving eatery empire (Red Stag, Pat's Tap, Kyatchi Sushi, Barbette, etc.) is a mini restaurant on a major mission.

Tiny Diner is not only bringing all-day, all-organic meals to Powderhorn, they're working to be as self-reliant and sustainable as possible, drawing energy for the building from huge solar panels on the patio roof, keeping bees to make their own hyper-local rooftop honey, composting food waste, using cisterns to collect and store water, and maintaining a garden that will teach permaculture practices to the community and provide food for the restaurant. All that and they're making pie, too. 

We stopped by for dinner to check out the beer list, the big old patio and kids play area (complete with a willow thicket hut), sample the house-made soft serve, and see how Bartmann has interpreted the concept of a modern urban diner. 

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First Look: Nelson's Ice Cream brings towering scoops to St. Paul

Categories: Now Open
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Grant Tillery
Nelson's, a local favorite since 1923.
Nelson's Ice Cream is a local institution. Opened in 1923, the original humble, ramshackle scoop shop in Stillwater earned legions of fans thanks to its ungodly portions of velveteen Cedar Crest and Kemps ice creams (Cedar Crest is made just north of the Twin Cities in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, and Kemps is a Twin Cities company).  

After 91 years in business, the purveyors of all things grandiose have opened a second location in the former Palumbo's Pizzeria in St. Paul. Not surprisingly, the Mac-Groveland neighborhood is quite taken with this new arrival. 

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First Look: Mattie's on Main brings a modern day saloon to Riverplace

Categories: Now Open

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The last year has been a big one for Dean Schlaak and Tom DeGree, owners of Wilde Roast Cafe in St. Anthony Main. In August, they were married in their Lake Elmo backyard, and a week ago, the pair opened Mattie St. Clair's House of Spirits next door to Wilde Roast Cafe.

Mattie's, which Schlaak and DeGree refer to as a "modern day saloon," is named after 19th century madame and brothel owner Mattie St. Clair, whose establishment once stood near the restaurant. The restaurant doesn't have an official sign, but the plastic "Now Open" flag hanging above the front window guides patrons in the right direction.

See also:
Wilde Roast Cafe revamps and moves to Riverplace


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First Look: Brunch at the new Corner Table

Categories: Now Open
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The new brunch menu at Corner Table is a contender for best in the Twin Cities

With Pat's Tap, Hola Arepa, Kyatchi, Blackbird, and a smattering of other quality choices, the south side of Nicollet is quickly becoming a full-fledged extension of the well known Eat Street. And there's one establishment in particular that's quite simply on fire. 

The newly relaunched Corner Table is only one month into its new location and already owner Nick Rancone and chef Thomas Boemer have pushed their successful farm-to-table concept to another level. Along with the new, beautifully simple, comfortable space comes an expansion of their menu, targeted at weekend brunch lovers. Rest assured, this isn't just brunch; it's brunch Corner Table-style.

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Sip a refreshing mint julep or swill a smoky Manhattan for Father's Day [RECIPES]
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Tin Whiskers, downtown St. Paul's new brewery, unveils latest brew at grand opening today

Categories: Beer, Now Open
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Loren Green

After a soft opening in mid-May, Tin Whiskers, a new downtown St. Paul brewery, is holding its official Grand Opening today at 4 p.m.

You may have seen Tin Whiskers pouring samples at the 22nd Annual City Pages Beer Festival last weekend. The new brewery already has five beers on tap -- Flipswitch IPA, Wheatstone Bridge, Batch Beta Carb, Batch Beta Nitro, and Batch Alpha -- a range of IPAs, wheat beers, and stouts. For the opening they will unveil their sixth brew, Ampere Amber.

See also:
Weekend brew round-up: City Pages Beer Fest, new Mankato APA, and more


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First Look: The Copper Hen Cakery & Kitchen brings farmhouse chic to Eat Street

Categories: Now Open

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Grant Tillery
The Copper Hen Cakery & Kitchen brings a slice of the farmstead to Eat Street.

On a stretch of Nicollet dominated by pho joints and swanky cocktail bars, the Copper Hen Cakery & Kitchen stands out with its farmhouse chic food and ambiance. It's not a place you'd expect to find on Eat Street, and would seem more at home nestled on a bluff near Lake Pepin, but thanks to Kickstarter funding, owners Chris and Danielle Bjorling bring something fresh to this part of Minneapolis: honest-to-goodness, Midwestern haute cooking from scratch.

See also:
The Copper Hen Cakery & Kitchen finds a home on Eat Street

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First Look: Sober Fish blends sushi and Thai standards in former True Thai space

Categories: Now Open

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First it was Drunken Fish. Then it was Drunken Sake. Now, after weeks of debate over the name, the restaurant that took over the former True Thai space has settled on a permanent moniker -- Sober Fish.

According to a Sober Fish waitress, the Seward neighborhood found the first two names overly suggestive. The more conservatively named sushi spot opened three weeks ago to the delight of sushi-hungry Seward residents, and don't let the name fool you: Soberfish can still get you tipsy.


See also:
Drunken Sake to open in former True Thai space

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