Surprise! Minneapolis adds dining options amid pandemic

New restaurants and an Indigenous training kitchen open despite challenging times

For Immediate Release

Minneapolis (Sept. 9, 2020) – New restaurants are opening in Minneapolis, despite the pandemic that has limited and changed the dining scene across the nation. More than 30 new restaurants have opened in the metro area since the coronavirus outbreak began closing businesses in mid-March. Well-known James Beard winners, finalists and nominees – such as Ann Kim, Gavin Kaysen, Sean Sherman, Jorge Guzman and Diane Moua – are among the talented local chefs involved with these new restaurants, pop-ups turned permanent locations, food markets and training kitchen.

Here are some of the new food projects that Meet Minneapolis is excited to share:

  • Bellecour Bakery at Cooks is providing the North Loop neighborhood with a new bakery/coffee bar/lunchtime destination from James Beard Best Pastry Chef nominee Diane Moua and James Beard winning chef/owner Gavin Kaysen. Currently a pop-up within the Cooks of Crocus Hill retail shop, Bellecour becomes a permanent location starting Sept. 19. Selections of freshly baked viennoiserie and patisserie, along with soups, salads and sandwiches will be offered daily.
  • B.A.D. Wingz, a chicken wing concept from the owners of Soul Bowl at Graze Provisions + Libations in the North Loop, opened Sept. 8 from within the Northeast Minneapolis location of Glam Doll Donuts. Patrons can customize four different types of wings, including poultry and two plant-based options—one of which is a vegan collaboration with vegan favorite Herbivorous Butcher called, “vingz.” Choices of sauces, sides and dips complete the meal.
  • The Sioux Chef, Sean Sherman, and his partner Dana Thompson opened the Indigenous Food Lab in August within the Midtown Global Market in south Minneapolis. The nonprofit production/training kitchen and Indigenous Education Studio are part of a plan to revitalize Native American cuisine by teaching food service, creating videos and conducting research and development, as well as feeding people. They have been making 400 meals a day for those in need via Minnesota Central Kitchen this summer. There’s also a market with Indigenous-produced foods and gifts. The Sioux Chef’s next project, Owamni: An Indigenous Kitchen, will be within the pavilion of the new $30 million, 5-acre Water Works Park on the Mississippi River downtown in Spring 2021.
  • ViV!R replaces fine dining spot Popol Vuh in Northeast Minneapolis this fall with a combo deli, bakery, Mexican wines and agave spirits tasting room and a retail marketplace. It will complement its sister taco shop next door, Centro, with chef José Alarcon leading both kitchens. Pastry chef Ngia Xiong will provide the baked goods for ViV!R.
  • More Minneapolis Mexican is in the air as Nixta in Northeast Minneapolis opened last month with a takeout-only, heirloom Mexican corn tortilla restaurant from Gustavo Romero. South Minneapolis welcomed Casa Maria. Travail Kitchen & Amusements opened its rooftop as a Mexican-inspired cantina where you can feast on a 10+ course menu served by the chef team. Plus, Sooki & Mimi from James Beard Best Chef: Midwest Ann Kim (2019) is scheduled to open this year in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood, also featuring hand-crafted tortillas.
  • Birchwood Café and Minnesota Farmers Union are collaborating on a pop-up takeout restaurant, F+B. Open Thursday - Sunday in the space on the Mississippi River between the Guthrie Theater and Mill City Museum, it will become the permanent home of a future collaboration. These partners share a popular Minnesota State Fair booth and are committed to Minnesota family farmers and “Good Real Food,” like the fair favorite Heirloom Tomato + Sweet Corn BLT, along with seasonal specialties. 
  • Getting your evening chicken and biscuits fix in Uptown is now possible at CHX. This Black-owned eatery popped up in July out of an unused takeout window at the Pourhouse nightclub. The window opens at 4 p.m., Thursday – Sunday, serving fried chicken tenders that come with fries, secret sauce, a local soda and a flaky, homemade biscuit by up-and-coming pastry chef Shawn McKenzie.
  • Wafels & Dinges began serving authentic “Liège style” Belgian waffles at Mall of America on Aug. 24 (appropriately National Waffle Day). It’s the first store outside of New York City, where the family business is known for its iconic yellow food trucks. 
  • While their Minneapolis Lyn-Lake location is still humming along, sister restaurant The Lynhall No. 3945 has just opened in nearby Edina, serving brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. 
  • Chef Kim’s three current Minneapolis restaurants and another on the way didn’t stop her from an opportunity to lead culinary programming at Kyndred Hearth. Opening in October, it will be an all-day dining destination at the new, four-star, full-service Omni Viking Lakes Hotel, part of the Minnesota Vikings (NFL) campus in Eagan, Minn.
  • Petite León will open this fall in a cozy, neighborhood spot in South Minneapolis with chef/owner Jorge Guzman, a James Beard Best Chef: Midwest finalist, at the helm.
  • Rising star chef Yia Vang recently chose Northeast Minneapolis for his first brick-and-mortar location, Vinai. Opening in early 2021, it’s named after the refugee camp in Thailand where Vang was born. Vinai will feature woodfire cooking and local ingredients in family-style dishes that honor Hmong traditions and Vang’s parents, who taught him to cook. Vang’s popular Union Hmong Kitchen food trailer residency at Socialable Cider Werks offers takeout options in the meantime.

For information about what to see, do and eat in Minneapolis, visit


Meet Minneapolis is a private, not-for-profit, member-based association. It actively promotes and sells the Minneapolis area as a destination for conventions and meetings, works to maximize the visitor experience and markets the city as a desirable tourist destination to maximize the economic benefit to the greater Minneapolis area. Meet Minneapolis is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International.

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Kristen Montag, Meet Minneapolis Senior PR and Communications Manager, 612-767-8038,, @Minneapolis_PR on Twitter

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