Part of a persistent dining trend, Minneapolis’ latest food hall is a 15,000-square-foot space with a pocket-size feel. Boasting six food vendors, a central bar, a liquor store with balcony seating and towering shelves, and an enclosed patio, this hall is also the work of some culinary all-stars. Gabriella Grant-Spangler and Ben Spangler, of Bebe Zito fame, try their hand at pizza, and then there’s the pair of Eat Street vets from downtown Minneapolis’ Zen Box Izakaya, Lina Goh and John Ng. Also, behind the N/A-friendly bar, ESC, is beverage program director Trish Gavin, who brings her extensive resume (Lat14 Asian Eatery, Khâluna, Handsome Hog, Hewing Hotel) to the cocktail list.
Self-service touch screens make navigable Crossing’s cranny-stuffed curation—but wandering is fun, too. There’s Bebe Zito again, a Minneapolis success of burgers, ice cream, and chicken sandwiches. Inside a garage-like side room, Ramen Shoten advertises artisan noodles with traditional prep. The Piyo Piyo was rejuvenatingly savory and had me Googling “menma,” while seared skirts of dough haloed the Chicken Gyoza dumplings.
Ouro Pizzaria blends Brazilian and Italian inspirations, and the Ipanema—a tangy, chives-sprinkled number featuring salmon cured in cold-smoked cachaca and bedded in lemon-dill sour cream—made memorable use of a crispy, bubbly crust that came dusted with gold seasoning. Then there’s Sushi Dori for sea-kissed snacks, including some playful sushi sandwiches. Plus, Chatime for bubble tea and coffee.
Where It’s At
From vaudeville to film to MTV, this Whittier building has starred in everything.
Beginning in the late 1800s, a company based here made scenic decorations for the stage. A 1980 fire shut things down before painters rented it out as a studio, crafting backdrops and props for TV and film. Prince, Boyz II Men, and others later used the building for shoots, and a mid-’90s program offered classes in kickboxing and fashion design.
Now, in designing the space’s dramatic 21st-century turn, Christian Dean Architecture has optimized verticality. The lofty lounge-slash-balcony on the mezzanine sits across from a floating island of woven light fixtures. Sacramento artist Cheyenne Randall has wheat-pasted murals throughout (peep the Prince callback). And the breezy-yet-contained patio makes it a summer powder keg.
Parking wasn’t easy, even on a Monday, but I spied some folks harbored at the nearby car wash, which a sandwich board advertised as an option, so it seemed legit. 2819 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis; eatstreetcrossing.com