For those of us who loved Heyday—the late, great fine-dining showcase on Lyndale for the brilliant cooking of Jim Christiansen—change is tough. But don’t despair! Be excited for what’s coming this summer! The new restaurant opening in the south Minneapolis space, Fire and Nice, brings together a great beer mind, Nate Ropes (former Insight Brewing taproom manager), and a great pizza chef, Aaron Hargrave (owner of the Blue Fire Pizza food truck, and the reigning champion of Minnesota Monthly‘s Slice of the Twin Cities competition).
This is a unique concept: Half of the restaurant will be the bar, run by Ropes, and the other half will be the pizza hall, run by Hargrave. The bar will feature 32 tap lines—all with Minnesota beers. Ropes says he wants to showcase more than just IPAs, but there will be IPAs (duh!). But look for Ambers, browns, stouts, and seltzers on tap, too.
They cellar some kegs, creating verticals of beers from different years. Ropes wants to create a taproom feel inside the restaurant, so he’ll have beer flights. “We’ll have some old classics, some new stuff, lots of highly rotating styles,” says Ropes. At the bar, expect some snacky things and meat sticks from Thielen Meats.
In the pizza side, formerly the Heyday dining room and kitchen, part of the cook space has been replaced by a giant wood-fired Marra Forni oven.
Hargrave’s menu is similar to the menu on the truck: except he’s changing all the names of the pizzas to reflect Minnesota athletes and icons. He’s got a pizza now called the Ted Williams, that will be the Kirby Puckett (goat cheese cream sauce, oven-roasted sweet onions, spicy fennel sausage). The Al Gore will become the Prince Nelson (figs, gorgonzola, prosciutto). Kevin McHale, Neal Broten and Al Franken (!) all have pizzas named after them. As is often the case, opening isn’t happening as quickly as the owners had hoped (insurance and inspection issues), but look for Fire & Nice to start operating over the summer. Pizza and beer: hard to see how that combination could miss.