BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE
Openings and closings
• A restaurant known as Juniper in its development stage was previously announced for the former Common Roots site at Lyndale and 26th Street. At the last minute, they changed the name to Hi Flora! due to an older place in Lanesboro called Juniper. Hi Flora! is vegan, sustainable, alcohol-free, and serves THC drinks and edibles. They opened April 20.
• Jakeeno’s on Chicago Avenue has re-opened its dining room after renovations.
• At MSP airport Terminal 1, new food choices include Crisp & Green, Poppy’s Bagels, Custom Burger, and the return of Mill City Tavern after a three-year hiatus.
• Bumbling Fools Mead has opened a tasting room in its building at 2010 E. Hennepin Ave.
• Lyn-Lake favorite It’s Greek To Me closed permanently on March 27.
A wild ride in restaurant, bar and food news
Owamni, the decolonized menu concept of The Sioux Chef, continues to surprise with its ups and downs. In the same week, the restaurant was closed by an electrical fire in the park board’s Water Works building where it is the main tenant, and Sean Sherman was named one of the “100 most influential people” by Time magazine.
Twin Cities Eater maps out where to get Jucy Lucys, plus a tour of stellar South Asian food in the metro. Eater also published a great article discussing Somali food, fusion and forced migration.
Ryan Stradal’s book “Kitchens of the Great Midwest” caught my eye, then won my heart just a few months ago. He has written several others in the
same vein. His most recent is getting a lot of good press; it’s titled “Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club.”
The wave of unionizations of craft beverage producers, specifically distilleries, that has been sweeping through the Twin Cities has moved on to Duluth. A large majority of Vikre Distillery workers have signed cards with Unite HERE, as reported in RacketMN.com and other sources.
Mini-review #1 – Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub
I honored Good Friday this year by going out for a fish dinner at Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub, an old familiar favorite. They had hush puppies on the menu.
I grew up in suburban Atlanta, so to me, hush puppies and fried fish just
go together, the same as barbecue and Brunswick stew (there) or chili and a cinnamon roll (here). Or lutefisk and lefse. But at Northbound, hush puppies are listed as a stand-alone appetizer with a saucy dip. Hmmm, OK. Anyway, I ordered fish and chips and a hush puppy app to be brought along with the meal. I knew it would be way too much, so I asked for a to-go box right away. The fish portion alone was huge. The fries are made in a unique spicy method, very tasty. The fish dish also came with a dipping sauce; I couldn’t decide which was better. The hush puppies were good, but quite different from the originals in the South. Sweeter, bigger and crumblier. In the South, hush puppies are a single, solid mouthful and they taste of corn, onion and the bacon fat they’re fried in. After all, they were originally meant to be treats for hunting dogs.
A sushi sandwich and a peek at Eat Street Crossing
I was so bamboozled by the parking at Eat Street Crossing (28th and Nicollet in the former Old Arizona space) and I can’t use valet parking (the parking guy wouldn’t be able to get the key out of the ignition, most likely) that I decided to pop in quickly for a sushi sandwich to go after a doctor appointment at Whittier Clinic just across the street. Three additional things tempted me there – the Bebe Zito ice cream stand (I had three pints of ice cream at home and couldn’t justify it), the gorgeous glittery bar (I’m not a daytime drinker) and the Brazilian pizza. (Checked later if it could be delivered? Sadly, no.)
The sushi sandwich was great, and the perfect size for lunch. My only quibble is I wish they had more fish and vegetarian options. Spam sushi – I know it’s a thing, but it’s not a thing I would eat if I were starving. I had the Tuna Poke sushi sandwich (pictured). I highly recommend Eat Street Crossing, as does every other food writer in town.