2013 Best New Restaurants
We rounded up the best new dishes, drinks, and dining experiences that 2013 had to offer. Bon Appetit!
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From Sandcastle’s upgrade on park concessions to Hello Pizza nailing the New York slice, each of these eateries made a noteworthy impact in their respective genres.
It turns out that Piccolo chef/owner Doug Flicker, the modern cuisine wiz, really just wants a hot dog. And so he’s brought his Dog Flicker—topped with kimchi and a soft fried egg—to the masses via his park concession, Sandcastle, and given picnic food its biggest upgrade to date. Who thought we’d ever sup ceviche on the shores of Lake Nokomis? • sandcastlempls.com
The Buttered Tin Bakery
Like a shot of triple espresso, The Buttered Tin Bakery woke up Lowertown’s daytime dining scene with its perky riffs on breakfast classics, such as the twofer Huevos Rancheros Benedict (it incorporates cornbread and salsa in place of the English muffin and hollandaise). The bakery’s also hand-making the mass-market snack cakes you loved as a kid—oatmeal-raisin pies and cream-filled sponge cakes—in a way that pleases adult palates. • thebutteredtin.com
The name Terzo, or “third,” indicates the number of Broder eateries now occupying the corner of 50th and Penn in south Minneapolis. The chic Italian wine bar, run by Molly and Tom Broder’s three sons, offers a selection of about 50 by-the-glass options to pair with a more modern menu of wine-friendly noshes that has included everything from fried anchovies to vitello tonnato. • broders.com
We need a new cuisine style called Midwestern Grannies Gone Wild—that’s easiest way to describe Parka’s cheffy remakes of goulash, meat loaf, and Jell-O salad (in this case, it’s house-made cranberry gelatin paired with pineapple, apple, celery, pecan, and goat cheese). It takes no shortage of inspiration to take pot roast out of the Crock-Pot and turn it into something that belongs in a modern-art museum. • parkampls.com
Sure, you could always load up on tandoori chicken and saag paneer at Copper Pot’s lunch buffet, but its dinner specialties are what distinguish this Indian eatery from its peers. The fried fish, meen varuval, is marinated in a spicy paste of lemon, ginger, and garlic. Blue crab is served smothered in rich coconut milk. And tellicherry duck, a French-Indian fusion, serves tender breast meat in aromatic gravy. • copperpotus.com
Flavors sing at the Nightingale. The chic neighborhood eatery and nightspot beats to a quicker pulse than the surrounding Lyndale Avenue dive bars and cafés and its menu includes the sorts of modern American dishes that beg for mixing and matching: bruschetta topped with roasted mushrooms, bitter greens salad, and excellent seared scallops paired with grapes and a creamy almond purée. But you’ll want to keep the burger all for yourself. • nightingalempls.com
The Gray House
Dinner at The Gray House in Lyn-Lake begins with a gratis snack plate of whatever the kitchen has whipped up—house-made Cheez-Its, anyone?—a hospitable gesture that has endeared the eatery to its neighbors. The pastas are especially strong (no surprise, chef/owner Ian Gray used to work at Tosca), and Gray is a big proponent of turning Americans on to goat, incorporating the meat in everything from burgers to breakfast burritos. • thegrayhouseeats.com
The Cossetta family opened its eponymous market in 1911, and it’s been St. Paul’s primary source for Italian food ever since. This year, the family undertook a massive expansion and added a full-service, upscale restaurant, Louis. The flagship cioppino is spendy, but it’s both delicious and abundant. • cossettas.com
One Two Three Sushi
This slick, build-your-own sushi concept—the Japanese version of Subway or Chipotle—created by the team behind Masu Sushi and Robata is rolling out new stores practically as fast as its cooks make your maki. Diners can stick with the typical sushi-roll fillings, or mix-and-match everything from lobster to green-tea-smoked chicken to Asian pear.
Hector Ruiz, chef/owner of Café Ena, put a contemporary spin on tapas when he launched this neighborhood eatery on the rincón, or corner, of 38th and Grand in south Minneapolis. He offers Spanish staples such as patatas bravas and sardines, but also reinterprets classics to create the likes of seafood-and-cheese-stuffed cannoli. • rincon38.com
Glam Doll Donuts
This pinup-themed donut shop serves its flamboyant wares—from the peanut-butter-and-sriracha Chart Topper to the maple-bacon Showgirl—until 1 a.m., Thurs.–Sat. Breakfast or dessert? • glamdolldonuts.com
East Coast transplants have long lamented the Twin Cities’ lack of truly great thin-and-chewy-crust pizza—and the ability to buy that pizza by the slice. That is, until Hello Pizza brought us slices that are short on wait time, but long on flavor. One bite of the pared-down, yet high-powered Hello Rita margherita will render that trip to Brooklyn obsolete. • hellopizza.com
Year in Review
- Figlio reborn! Former regulars dust off their shoulder pads and order the tortellini.
- Eat Shop replaces Joe Senser’s and introduces golf-cart parking lot shuttle service.
- The Gray House opens, serving three types of goat.
- New airport eats prove MSP isn’t flyover country.
- Indefatigable restaurateur Doug Anderson returns with the confusingly named The Belmore/New Skyway Lounge.
- Union introduces the country’s first retractable glass rooftop. So far, only one panel leaks.
- World Street Kitchen gets a permanent home in Lyn-Lake and brings new meaning—any meaning, perhaps—to “Minnesota Spice.”
- The Bachelor Farmer introduces food-pairing cocktails, a modern take on the three-martini lunch.
- Borough’s packed seats prove that the North Loop is still the hottest growing ’hood.
- Parka serves apple cobbler with house-made cheddar ice cream. Grandmothers call it “different.”
- Smack Shack introduces East Coast lobster boil to Twin Citians, who struggle to crack open the claws.
- Dessert masquerades as breakfast at the pinup-themed Glam Doll Donuts.
- Another old Blockbuster is reborn as a restaurant: the Edina burger joint Red Cow.
- One, Two, Three Sushi brings the Chipotle fresh fast-food model to Japanese cuisine.
- Ann Kim opens Hello Pizza less than 2 miles from her Pizzeria Lola, which sees no reduction of its crushing crowds.
- With its co-founder having departed for a pastry chef gig, Sweets Bakeshop goes under, leaving cupcake lovers without a Kettle Corn or Feisty Goat fix.
- Cossetta’s celebrates a century in business by adding a fancy new restaurant, pasticceria, and roof deck.
- Kramarczuk’s wins a James Beard award, proving sausage is the new bacon.
- Cleanse fiends reach for their $9 bottles of Truce Juice.
- The most metro-proximate plein-air pizza joint, Red Barn Pizza, opens in Northfield.
- The Broder family conquers its third corner of 50th/Penn with Terzo, run by the founders’ three sons. How long until they supplant Bruegger’s?
- Buttered Tin homemade Hostess Twinkies—Lowertown TwinKeys—do childhood nostalgia right.
- Sandcastle’s fry bread tacos prove that Lake Nokomis’s concessions can be just as hip as its west-side cousins.
- Beleaguered landmarks bow: The Lexington and Peter’s Grill fade into history.
- Marriage equality = more rainbow-colored cakes for everybody!
- Lift Bridge Brewery introduces mini-donut beer at the Minnesota State Fair.
- Eat Street Social launches its tiki-themed Torpedo Room. Barkeep Nick Kosevich manages to avoid igniting his beard on the flaming drinks.
- Travail crushes fundraising campaign, considers next goal of one MILLION dollars.
- Favorite Seward eatery True Thai closes.
- Minnesotans take over food TV with Sara Johannes dominating early Top Chef episodes and Amy Thielen launching a new Food Network series.
- The Bryant-Lake Bowl turns 20, and boy do we feel old.