The heart of Powderhorn’s Tiny Diner isn’t inside its bitsy building, originally a 1950s gas station, but in its surrounding patio garden, rooftop beehives, and urban farm just down the street. This latest restaurant from the Kim Bartmann empire (Barbette, the recently opened Kyatchi, the brand-new Third Bird, etc.) may be the city’s most sustainable. Building on her environmental ethos, Tiny Diner is covered in solar panels and serves food grown with uber-eco permaculture techniques. While the diner’s retro-mod ambiance is the hippest in the neighborhood, the $36 lamb-chop entrée feels like a stretch— especially when the cooks make a racket as earsplitting as glass-clinking at a wedding reception. Tiny Diner’s menu, like that of its sister restaurants, seems destined for goodness not greatness. (The Philly cheese steak’s terrific filling and terrible bun typified consistency issues.) Still, the variety is admirable: Where else can you pair deviled eggs and a peanut-butter malt with soft-shell-crab fried rice?
Tiny Diner in Minneapolis
Small space. Big ideas.