Photo by Caitlin Abrams
>> Opening today, and officially bringing beer back to the old Grain Belt Brewery in NE, is the Community Keg House. Born of frustrations from "confusing and impersonal" craft beer bars, this spot aims to mashup the beer bar and the taproom by offering a number of craft beers on tap, that you access yourself from a "pour room". There's a tap tender who's hanging there ready to chat up the beers, which you can sample, and then choose to fill your glass. Not gonna lie, I think I'm going to have to go to this one to really get it. Stay tuned.
>> On Sunday Funday, you can join the North Loop as they welcome The Bachelor Farmer's new cafe. The new 40-seat hang, which has taken over the old Askov space in front of the restaurant, will be open at 8am on weekends and 6am on weekdays, always closing at 5pm. Dogwood Coffee (plus a rotating guest roaster) and flaky pastries (hello, goat cheese stuffed corn muffin!) will be on offer early, then lunch comes with open faced sandwiches and square grilled melty sandwiches, some salads, a little soup situation, and so forth. Wine, beer, cider, pain de chocolat, cool tiles, and vinyl are all there as well.
>> Monday marks the launch of Minnesota's first Melt Shop, a New York based grilled cheese shop whose toasty wonders I will admit to shoving in my face on a rainy Manhattan afternoon after late lunch and before first dinner. The MOA is where you'll find a (hopefully) legit 3 cheese and roasted tomato toastie on sourdough, along with burger melts, Buffalo chicken melts, salads, loaded tots, tomato soup (duh), and shakes.
>> Is our German heritage cooking losing the battle to Sriracha? Sadly, Brasserie Zentral has announced that they will be closing their doors at the end of business on Saturday night. If you haven't been in to get your spaetzle fix, you can still pop in for lunch today. Russell and Desta Klein said that the business never hit the levels they needed to make the lease agreement work. Their neighboring wine bar Foreign Legion, which has been opened up and given a fresh new menu, will remain OPEN.
>> Northern Waters Smokehaus is opening a second, bigger location in Duluth. Those already addicted to that Lake Superior smoked fishy goodness will be happy to hear that the new space, in the Mount Royal Shopping Center, will be more of a restaurant with beer and wine. The original Canal Park deli will remain a sandwich shop, but the new spot with a full kitchen will be open for lunch and dinner with new menu items and a modern Scandi beer hall vibe.
>> The Herbivorous Butcher kids have had OODLES of national attention for opening the first vegan butcher shop in the whole country. Let's see if the "ham" meets the road when the sister-brother duo opens their cute little shop on Jan. 23 right next to Red Stag in NE.
>> The Walker has given D'amico their walking papers and announced Culinaire as head of food service operations. With the renovation and build-out of the new pavilion across from the Sculpture Garden, which is under construction and slated for November, there's a new full-service eatery planned with both indoor and outdoor seating. Let's rightfully gaze upon our Spoonbridge, yes? The Gather space will become an interim cafe in March, while also serving as event space.
>> Libertine's Whole Animal Dinner series has wowed a lot of eaters, and I can't think it would be any different with guest chef Thomas Kim from The Rabbit Hole cooking with Tim McKee next Wed. Jan 20. Get in on this multi-course meal using the whole animal for just $50.
>> Ladies and Gentlemen, The Erik and Nick Show! a crudo and cocktail adventure appearing on Fridays and Saturdays for a limited run!
>> Brunch with the beverage titans: Fulton Brewery, Indeed Brewing & Surly Brewing will combine forces with Tattersall Distillery at this monstrously awesome live music Mpls Beer Brunch on Saturday at Icehouse! Have beard, must attend! $65 for multi-course food and drinks pairings with Gabriel Douglas & Friends delivering the tones.
>> YOU GUYS! Did you see the low fares to Chicago that Frontier Airlines is offering if you book by Sunday night?? Like $29 one way! That means it would be totally possible to sneak down in one day just to have dinner, if you've always wanted to jet set that way (and who doesn't). Here are my eating picks if you go: The Angry Crab, Avec, Au Cheval and Small Cheval, Furious Spoon, and Intro. For starters.
>> Head over to the Solar Arts building in NE for the Northeast Farmers Market winter market this Sat. Jan 16. Chowgirls will host market vendors and patrons with warming snacks, DJ spins, Indeed brew and other libations and more.
>> Midtown Global Market's annual Global Soup Cook Off is happening on Saturday. Pay your tiny $5 for a million samples of soup, get inspired, then you won't be stuck for ideas when on Sunday your car won't start and the garage door opener is frozen shut. You're welcome.
>> Play the links, on a frozen lake! There's nothing like the Chilly Open, superhero themed this year on Feb. 6, where you gather some pals, imbibe some beverages to keep you warm, then hit the lake for golfing hijinks and actual warm chili. Get your team signed up soon, the tee-times fill up fast.