Icehouse opened yesterday, making the corner of Eat Street and 26th the official Hot Corner of the summer. It's all warehouse-cool with touches of industrial design that keep it simple, because there's a stage that should command your attention. There will be music every day there in some form. The joint is the work of the Be'wiched duo and I'm happy to say there is pastrami on the menu. As well there are some sophisticated snacky small plates, some burgers (with a nice course grind), and a Johnny Michael's drinks list that will knock your socks off. He really cut loose on this one and it's a lot of fun. Beyond the normally kooky-delicious specialty drinks, there is a whole list of rocks drinks for $5 such as the For His Majesty: a sazerac with black pepper gin & a pine smoke absinthe rinsed glass. Game on.
In soft-opening this week is Birdhouse, the Stewart and Heidi Woodman project that rehabbed the former Duplex house in Uptown. With a fire-red exterior, the house is more open and airy inside with cream walls and slate-blue accents. Downstairs seating will include a few seats around the kitchen bar, while the main bar commands much of the top floor. Chef Ben Mauk will be the main guy in the kitchen, which is open for breakfast and lunch during soft-open, serving up healthy, creative dishes such as a sweet pea pate that is smooth and fresh, tasty little quinoa/wild rice croquettes, and roasted chicken sandwiches with arugula and fig jam. Dinner will be added later along with the liquor license.
Maruso Street Food & Bar opened this week as well.
The new Lunds in Downtown Minneapolis will open on June 14 in what we are now calling the Historic Harmon District, because that's just nice. It will be a full-service grocery plus a wine/spirits shop!***** Boatloads of stuff going on this weekend!!! (check your I-94 closure issues) Northern Spark is happening on Saturday night all over Minneapolis. The all-night festival has so many cool events, and a whole fleet of food trucks hanging out for your 3 a.m. noshing pleasure. Follow it up on Sunday (maybe after a wee nap) with Open Streets Minneapolis. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Lyndale Avenue will be closed off to autos from 22nd to 42nd streets, but will be open to feet and feet-powered-wheels. There will be tasty stuff happening at French Meadow, flamenco at El Meson, plus all sorts of biking, snacking, yogi fun. ***** If you're in St. Paul this weekend, you should check out Deutsche Tage on Summit Avenue where an ACTUAL biergarten straight from Munich is being set up. There will be tents, music, Paulaner bier, hammer schlagen, a lederhosenlauf 5k and all sorts of sausages and kraut. It's like a chiller Oktoberfest in shorts. ***** AND if you find yourself tired of schlaging hammers, pop over to Cooks of Crocus Hill for the annual garage sale. You'll find tons of deeply discounted kitchen merch, including books and heavy cookware, in the tent behind the store. Come around 1 p.m. on Saturday and hang out with Elizabeth Ries and me as we broadcast the Weekly Dish live, bring some non-perishable food for the kick-off of our Food for Families drive and I'll give you a homemade bakery treat! Swear! ***** It's also the Pedal Pub races in Nordeast. Go forth and cheer on the best beer-swilling-bike-riders in town. ***** If you're feeling a little more sporty than that, you could check out the Craft Beer & Baseball Festival on Saturday at the St. Paul Saints game. Your $35 ticket gets you seats for the game, a beer tasting glass, unlimited samples to 20+ craft brews (including Boom Island, Lucid, Mantorville), plus access to the festival area where a 1 litre Das Boot drinking glass will be raffled off. Oh, and wear some lederhosen if you want to be cool and win a contest.