I saw a guy in shorts yesterday, sitting on a curb, horking a fat sandwich. I saw a restaurant washing off patio chairs and unchaining tables. I saw a girl sitting outside her car in a high-school parking lot with a mini-Weber piled with dogs. Fresh Forkin' Friday, thy name is HOPE.
Amici Pizza and Bistro is now open in the former Snap! space off Johnson. Heavy Table has the jump on the joint, which apparently has spiffed up the old pizza/subs space for a go at accessibly posh dining.
Wile they were upscaling, Il Vesco Vino was downscaling. Now known as Rizzo's Italian Restaurant, the aim is to embrace a more approachable, casual vibe. Letting go of their hold on Southern Italian cuisine, Rizzo's will try to lure the pre-gamers and concert goers with bar menu mini-burgers, panini, Italian chicken wings, and pizzas.
Rice Paper, that cute little Asian place in Linden Hills, is moving down the street to the 50th & France neighborhood. They're busy renovating a space right behind the D'Amico & Sons, so it'll still have a little of that "hidden gem" cache. Look for a move in June.
Hubert's will take over the NBA City space in the Target Center, just in time for all the outdoor baseball. I know Ralph Burnet's been pretty successful with local-hero transplants (Manny's, D'Amico Kitchen), I'm just wondering how this one will play. It won't be too hard to improve on the sadness that's there right now.
When Kieran's becomes the new hotness on Block E on March 16th, the old space will only go dark for a while. In order to satisfy lease agreements, and to keep some taps flowing down near MY office, thank you very much, the joint will be reborn as The Old Pub. Fitting, I like it. Can we import some crusty dudes to park it at the rail each week?
It's Thom Pham's birthday this weekend so he's throwing a big bash at the Caterpillar Lounge on Saturday. Go wish him a happy 21st!
CRAVE is offering a special menu this month to benefit The Smile Network. The sweetly named menu choices include smiling sushi, smiley face pizza, a happy plate of pork tenderloin, and a giant joyous cookie. If the options don't entice, your guest check will have space for a direct donation to the worthy cause.
Get your beer buddies in line for Firkin Fest 2010 at the Happy Gnome on March 20th. Starting at 1 p.m., the tent flaps will be thrown wide in the name of cask conditioned beer. There's a huge list of breweries on board; get your advance tickets for $10 or pay $15 at the door.
Hot on the heels of last weekend's fest, the Gastro Non Grata cats are throwing a benefit called Eggs for Africa: Raisin' some scratch for the kids in Mozambique. With six bands, six chefs, and 600 eggs, who knows what kind of awesome awesomeness can be done to raise cash. Each chef (including our Frug Steven Brown) will get 100 eggs the night before; then show up at the Hexagon Bar on March 13th with something inspired. Doors open at 8 p.m.