Summer heats up with pop-ups from Twin Cities chefs Tim McKee and Yia Vang
One of the Twin Cities’ most influential chefs, Tim McKee, is breaking into the pop-up circuit.
From his James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Midwest to longtime fine dining apex La Belle Vie, from Sea Change’s sustainable seafood to Solera’s Spanish flavors in downtown Minneapolis — not to mention countless other projects and mentorships – McKee has influenced both diners and a generation of chefs who now run some of the city’s most exciting restaurants. That’s why the latest pop-up, in what is quickly becoming the summer of pop-ups, is so important.
McKee partners with Work for a special event with ticket at the basement bar of the restaurant until August. The idea came from a beer and a conversation he had with Mike Brown, one of the chefs/owners of Labour. The menu will be inspired by Txikiteo (pronounced chee-kee-tay-o), a tapas tour in San Sebastian, Spain.
Tickets must be purchased in advance and start at $60 per person; extras include cocktail flights, oysters, wagyu steak, and more. Reservations are available Thursday through Saturday until mid-August. Work is at 4134 Hubbard Ave. N., Robbinsdale; buy tickets on travailkitchen.com.
Vinai partners with Steady For
Chief Yia Vang Vinai, the current leader of the oldest and most anticipated restaurant, joins forces with a bar and an event space Pour regularly for a summer residence. Each five-course dinner begins with a small bite of appetizer, progresses through noodles to heavier protein, and ends with dessert. Tickets are $120 per person and are available June 23-25, July 7-9, and July 14-16.
Vinai has been opening up completely since plans were first announced before the pandemic. Since then there has been a 2020 Kickstarter campaign, an advertised location at 1717 NE. 2nd St. in Minneapolis, several mobile feasts, takeouts and pop-ups. Additionally, this year Vang was nominated for a James Beard Award.
In addition to Vinai, Vang also operates Union Hmong Kitchen out of the Graze Provisions + Libations food hall in Minneapolis’ North Loop, hosts TPT’s “Relish” digital show, and recently launched a new podcast called Hmonglish.
Chef Adam Vickerman brings back Tosca
Pasta lovers rejoice – Chef Adam Vickerman is back where it all began and reigniting the flame inside Tosca at its original location in Linden Hills (3415 W. 44th St., Mpls.) . Trattoria Tosca was a well-received Italian restaurant by Harvey McLain, who also owns Turtle Bread, and was overseen by an array of chefs, including Vickerman, who would become well known in the Twin Cities culinary scene.
The restaurant, which closed in 2016, was part of a revolution for this group of restaurants, which also included Levain and Cafe Levain, where Vickerman also cooked. Now the chef has announced via social media that the first restaurant he opened is making a comeback with service five nights a week. Look for a mid-summer opening.
Food Network star Molly Yeh is opening a restaurant in East Grand Forks
Fall is a good time for a road trip. That’s when blogger, author and TV star Molly Yeh will open at Bernie’s in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. The Food Network’s “Girl Meets Farm” host and her husband, Nick Hagen, have taken over the former Sickie’s (121 Demers Av. E.). Yeh promises a menu of Midwestern traditions, Scandinavian flavors, local ingredients and great bread.
Yeh is a Juilliard graduate who rose to prominence with her blog My Name Is Yeh, about Brooklyn’s move to a farm on the North Dakota-Minnesota border. She is also the author of “Molly on the Range” and the upcoming “Home Is Where the Eggs Are”.
Follow the evolution of the restaurant on Instagram (instagram.com/berniesegf).
Funky Grits owner brings fried chicken to Minneapolis
Jared Brewington will open Official Fried Chicken at 4010 E. 46th St. in Minneapolis. The simple menu will focus on grilled fried chicken, prepared in a proprietary pressure cooker. The menu is incredibly concentrated, with only three kinds of fried chicken and fries.
It’s a return to the city and to fried chicken for Brewington, founder of the now closed Funky Grits. He also held a booth inside the North Loop Galley food hall when it opened, serving up – what else – fried chicken. But this time there is a Broaster. The restaurant should open soon. Get updates at officialfriedchicken.com.
Indian hot crew go for birria tacos
Bussin’ Birria Tacos is now open inside the Culinary North food court inside the Mall of America. Amol Dixit and chef Janene Holig opened the stand in place of Hot Indian, their food truck and restaurant chain.
The tacos are made on corn tortillas sourced from Lake Street’s La Poblanita. The tacos are made with beef, chicken, and a vegan option from the Herbivore Butcher.
Oakdale’s Burrow opens this weekend
A second location of the Burrow opens in Oakdale this weekend with opening festivities June 10 from 3-11 p.m. and June 11 from 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
The gaming destination features go-karts, mini golf, ax throwing, sports simulators, arcade games and a host of other activities along with live entertainment. As for the food, expect smoked meats, barbecue, pizzas, burgers, hush puppies and curds; drinks include craft cocktails, slush, and 32 local beers on tap.
The burrow is at 7053 N. 10th St., Oakdale (oakdaleburrow.com); the other location is at 7999 Victoria Dr. in Victoria (victoriaburrow.com).
Sociable Cider Werks on the hunt for the next food truck sensation
When Sociable cider houses in northeast Minneapolis purchased a food trailer in 2019, they wanted to not only provide a stable food option for their customers, but also provide opportunities for local chefs and entrepreneurs.
Resident chefs so far have included Ian Gray with the Curious Goat, Sammy McDowell’s Sammy’s Avenue Eatery, Yia Vang’s Union Hmong Kitchen and now Francis, a plant-based burger joint. Who will be the next one ?
Those with the initiative and ideas should apply at sociablecider.com/resident-kitchen by June 30. The cider house hopes to have a selected partner by the end of July, with a September start date. Sociable Cider Werks is at 1500 NE. Fillmore St., MPs.