New Restaurant Review: Sidebar at Surdyk’s

After initially opening last year, the liquor store’s new dining experience is back
Sample items from the new Sidebar at Surdyk’s spring menu

With a top-notch wine and specialty grocery, the stunning new restaurant nestled inside Surdyk’s in northeast Minneapolis is certainly set up to provide great bottles and cheese plates. Snack on a cone of addictive French fries, charcuterie, or other delightful snacks.

Sidebar at Surdyk’s opened its doors to guests last September not long after a revamped Cheese Shop experience debuted. Following an extensive renovation by Shea Design, the 60-seat space (and 34-seat patio) signaled a new chapter in its storied history. With patio temperatures returning, the dining experience is returning April 23 after a winter hiatus.

Randall Prudden (Spoon + Stable, Grant Achatz’s Alinea and Next restaurants in Chicago) is the new executive chef overseeing a fresh, updated menu that will evolve with the seasons.

When we tried the experience last fall, we loved the lobster BLT and the tomato tartine on a sweet-corn elote spread. And the cheese plate rocked—we enjoyed a creamy, blue Roquefort and a sweet, caramely Gouda. (Note: The evolving menu has since changed, and the plan is to continue updating it with new dishes as new local seasonal ingredients are available.)

Choosing your own cheese on the burger is a cool idea, but mine was overwhelmed by a strong creamy beer cheese spread. (Twice the cheese isn’t always twice as nice.)

The surprise to me was the value on the wine list: I’d never seen Bérêche et Fils champagne on a list for $57! You can buy any bottle in the store and bring it in for an $8 corkage fee. The list dances from Italian whites to California reds, and delights with 3-ounce pours, so you can sample.

The design is impeccable, nodding to the history of four generations of Surdyk’s with a fresh, modern vibe. No question the kids are in charge now, and we’re here for it.

303 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis,