>> The Sheridan Room is now open where there was once The Modern. Neighboring Oulmans (owners of 331 Club and Como Dockside) bought the place and gave it a light zshoosh. Carrying on The Modern's legacy, it's still a small neighborhood eatery with scratch cooking and cocktails, but this version has a bit more downhome sass on offer: beer can chicken with Wonderstuff gravy, Iron Range porchetta sandwich, hand pies with tasty fillings, and morning things such as breakfast nachos and a fried chicken and egg biscuit sandwich available until 11am.
>> The Unofficial Dive Bar & Grill is open in St. Anthony. Though it's brand new, the spot aims to be a good-ol' joint in your heart. There's karaoke, trivia, a #koozieclub, and plenty of upgraded bar food: from house-made cheesy tots and Summit EPA chili, to a round of creative burgers that includes a Face Melter with pepperjack cheese, chopped chilies, ghost chili aioli, and bacon.
>> Scena Tavern has officially opened in Uptown, just a door down from that precarious hot-tub in the sky situation on Lake Street. The double level space is warmly lit and anchored by a big 360 bar featuring around 120 bottles of gins collected by the Bittercube crew. The Jamie Malone/Erik Anderson menu has a few crudo, of course, some hearty pastas, flatbreads/pizzas called piadini, and a big ol hunka bistecca for two for $99 ... though the rest of the menu hovers nicely in the $12-$18 range. And for an Italian place, they have some smokin' good pretzels.
>> Imma be honest. When I heard that Salsa la Salsa was taking over the Macaroni Grill in my nape of the neck, I wasn't thrilled (as I haven't been with the food at the new Uptown location). But what has now opened in that spot, is a little more exciting. Avenida Cocina & Bar has a fuller menu of Latin food beyond Mexico, to include Peru, Argentina, and Brazil with a ceviche bar, anticuchos on skewers, churrasco, lomo saltado, plus tacos and chile relleno with a bunch of margaritas and drinks. I am intrigued.
>> File under EW. After putting up a slew of health code violations, Bombay Bistro has closed both the Medical Arts Building location and the express location near Macy's in Minneapolis. The location on Marquette remains open. Good luck.
>> Looks like they aren't kidding this time, Caffrey's sandwich shop in Uptown has closed. But you never can tell.
>> The Blue Nile has also closed up shop. Known for a great beer program before there were great beer programs all over town, it seems the place has had some issues they can't contend with after 30 years. Though, they promise to rise again ....
>> If you ever travel south of Shakopee, just past Jordan, soon you'll have a new swanky supperclub to swing by. The Jordan Supper Club wants to be an old school supper club, appealing to new school tastes. They are doing their best to open before the new year with supper club food, a 16 tap "taproom" and a cidery (which makes sense with all the orchards in the area).
#TIDINGS of Comfort and Joy Edition
>> Help a brother out. Head over to Hola Arepa on Monday, Dec. 14 for Everyone Loves Ryan and while you are snacking on some righteous Vietnamese street food from the brilliant hands of chef Christina, your $25 will get you a drink, a snack, and karma points for helping out Hola barkeep Ryan Barott. This good man, who can sling a mean drink, has run into some hard luck with natural disaster and the Hola family is stepping up to keep his family in their house. Go eat the good things, and do the good things at the same time.
>> Life Changing Pizza doesn't have to be hype, it can be real. You know I don't normally support newbie Kickstarters, but I like the moxie of this guy. Ryan Jordan is a pizza man with an idea, actually three ideas: Radical Hospitality, Boundless Generosity, and Unwavering Grace. He wants to open Bones pizza shop that provides job training, employment, and referral services to young adults in transition. That means 18-24 year olds aging out of foster care, transitioning out of homelessness, or progressing out of the juvenile justice system, and it means something as simple as pizza could be a real chance at life. Also, Jordan is legit, he knows both pizza and the non-profit world. Read the Kickstarter, it is one of the most honest and grounded ones I've ever read. I scored the last sourdough starter, but you can still claim the Ryan Cleans Out Your Car reward if you act fast. Funding deadline is Dec. 18.
>> Just so you know, they always need help working the kitchen for the homeless families at People Serving People, and it's an easy breezy breakfast/lunch/dinner time activity to serve meals. And you can do that all year! But if you're looking for a little holiday magic, did you know that they have a family gift registry for the kids at the shelter? Just buy a toy or two and have it sent over by December 16 to be a real live Santa to a kid this season.
>> There are still plenty of opportunities to pick up a bell, or just buy a little hot cocoa for someone who does.
>> Follow me on this: Jake and I are headed to Good Grocer to support their good deeds by giving them our shopping dollars. We will be purchasing a lot of sandwich makings and then making sandwiches which we will drop off at a few locations including The Sandwich Project and Allan Law's MRD sandwich drop. We'll also pick up some items that are needed at our local food shelf at IOCP in Wayzata.