Nate Beck is a hospitalitarian, even without a guaranteed 15 percent gratuity. And he’s not even a famous chef. He’s just a guy with a cart selling hot dogs—great hot dogs, with sassy mustard. He does this because he loves to eat them. Of all the people who populated our sidewalks and parking spots with mobile food this year, Beck is one who stands out.
You could say we chose Natedogs as an icon for the whole mobile food movement, which blossomed this past year. You could say we chose Beck because he is a symbol of the American dream—a man who risked everything to start his own business and who works hard for the future of his five (yes, five) daughters. You could say we chose him because he’s a damn snappy dresser with a wicked condiment belt. You could say all of that, and you’d be right, but you’d be missing the mustard.
In our Minnesota Nice food truck world, there isn’t the scrapping for space and the backhanded marking of territory that we hear rumored in other cities. Supporting his street brethren, Beck’s Twitter feed is alight with retweets of other trucks’ locations, promoting events where he knows his comrades will be. His infectious humor and great personality are not an act to sell more dogs—this is the real guy, whether you’re buying from him or selling next to him.
Where can this attitude possibly lead him? “Whatever I do, I want my children to know that serving others first is always more important than their own success. If I have several carts and a whole line of Natedogs condiments, cool! But if something else comes along, I won’t hesitate to pull up stakes and do something crazy all over again.” That’s the topping on the dog.]]>
Our eating world has turned this year, as we have seen a bevy of openings and closings, chefs moving from stove to stove, owners with bravado claiming to be the next big thing, and young upstarts flashing new ideas while crowd-surfing for capital. Ah yes, another year in the life of our local food scene. Whether it’s the resurrection of old favorites, new consulting projects from big-name chefs, or the expanding fleet of mobile food vendors, the new kids this year are bringing their game. Our restaurant picks prove there’s a little bit of something tasty for everyone.
Longtime local master chef Steven Brown builds his own restaurant in Linden Hills
Stewart Woodman reopens Heidi's with plates and décor as bold and daring as he is.
Solveig Tofte's restaurant was so popular upon its opening, the owner could only dream of getting any sleep.
A quirky, authentic pizza joint from a quirky, creative spirit sprouts up in Southwest Minneapolis.
Masu ditches the cliché in favor of robata meats, cheffy ramen and workings by sushi master Asan Yamamoto.
The D'Amicos replaced Wolfgang Puck at the Walker Art Center with a restaurant perfectly suited for lunch-seeking museum-goers.
Even if one is the great Don Saunders, it's amazing that just two cooks hold down this modern, French-inspired neighborhood joint.
The Dayton brothers' new restaurant is a Scandinavian, pop art beauty that links up to mixology lair Marvel Bar.
Not all of the cities' best new restaurants pay property taxes. Here are some mobile bests for those of you with restless legs.