It takes a special kind of person to open a new spot in the middle of a pandemic, especially in the middle of a stretch when indoor dining isn’t allowed. Popol Vuh owner Jami Olson knew she had to let go of her upscale Mexican concept, and that it didn’t make sense to leave the space next to taco joint Centro empty. So why not open a market and bakery to keep people working and serve what she hopes will be an all-day need in her northeast Minneapolis neighborhood?
Vivir (or ViV!R) looks great: they brightened up some of the metal beams inside the old Popol Vuh space, removed the woodfired stove and replaced it with an oven for pastry chef Ngia Xiong to bake bread, conchas, and granola.
The menu is sort of an experiment right now to see what sort of take-out meals people want, but Chef Jose Alarcon has some cool stuff. We tried to kale and pollo salad with pickled jalapenos and a lovely poblano-avocado dressing, and a glorious half chicken with a creamy mole amarillo sauce. I highly recommend the pozole, which exploded with porky goodness and beautiful large hominy.
When you walk in, you’ll see a grocery and snack market to your right. (Think Mexican candy bars and chips, as well as Fabuloso dish detergent.) A deli counter sells salsas, tres leches cake, and take-and-bake Mexican hot chocolate.
On the left you’ll see a more general market, with textiles sourced from Mexico as well as art, books, candles, and jewelry sourced from the neighborhood. Pop in and grab a filthy greeting card and a hot cup of Atole (a warm cornmeal-based drink with tons of cinnamon and piloncillo sweetness).
I hope it works! I’m excited to be able to order takeout from Centro and pop into Vivir and grab a few additional things this winter. For now, you can order online for takeout at vivirmpls.com