Spring on East 38th Street

Boludo El 38’s Argentinian pizza


Boludo El 38

Spring has come to East 38th Street! East 38th Street stretches from Nicollet Avenue to Mississippi River Boulevard, but we’re going to start just a tiny bit west of there with Boludo, the Argentinian restaurant taking the local food scene by storm. Boludo El 38 is its latest spot, at 8 W. 38th St.
Boludo El 38 has a minimalist menu with lots of things unique to Boludo, such as small, crisp, diamond-shaped Argentinian pizza. The menu has exactly six empanada choices, seven varieties of pizza, two salads, and two desserts. The bar and drink menus are similarly spare, and then a surprise – a THC drinks menu with three selections, all from different producers.

Tacos El Kevin – one of the best

Mexican slushies from Tacos El Kevin

A surprising success story on 38th Street is Tacos El Kevin, which besides having a rather silly name, is tucked inside a convenience store at the corner of Portland Avenue and 38th. But apparently they make really good tacos and other Mexican favorites like pozole, sopas, tortas, barbacoa chivos and slushy jamaicas. They were just cited in two separate pieces in Twin Cities Eater’s “best of” lists, one on Mexican restaurants and the other focused only on taquerias. We’re all so proud!

George Floyd Square and Tiny Diner

I’ve checked in on George Floyd Square a few times in the last six months. I’ve noticed a new look at the coffee shop, which was called ForReal when I visited last August last year. It’s now called Onyx Coffeehouse, but I think it’s run by the same person, Billy Jones. Also at GFS, Cup Foods, the grocery store outside of which Floyd was murdered,

Onyx Coffeehouse owner Billy Jones

recently changed its name to Unity Foods, although there don’t appear to be any other changes in the store’s ownership or business operations.
In March, KSTP and other news outlets reported that the city of Minneapolis was asking the state Legislature for $25 million to help struggling businesses in George Floyd Square. Also, Ward 8 Council Member Andrea Jenkins has talked with the recently opened African American History Museum, in Charleston, South Carolina, about ways to redesign GFS so that it can both honor Black lives and also provide a boost to African American businesses.
There’s good news at Tiny Diner, which has resumed dinner service now that spring is here. Over the winter, they served breakfast and lunch only

A performer at Duck Duck Coffee’s comedy hour

from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., but in April they reopened for dinner as well, and are now open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Check their Facebook page for the full schedule of Tiny Diner’s events and farmers markets, which are held in their parking lot. On April 27, they also participated in the annual Dining Out for Life day, with a portion of their sales benefiting the Aliveness Project in Minnesota.

Two coffee shops where you can get a form notarized

Key West Bistro’s housemade key lime pie

On April 5, the online local alt-weekly Racket (racketmn.com) reported on a suitably weird Twin Cities phenomenon using the subtitle, “Incredibly, multiple Twin Cities restaurants have been offering free pop-up notary services.” Even more incredibly, two of those are on East 38th Street less than a mile apart. (And with “multiple” in this article meaning “three,” that comprises a two-thirds majority of them and 100% of those in Minneapolis.) One is Duck Duck Coffee at 1830 E. 38th St., and the other is Key West Bistro at 2803 E. 38th St. Both places are very nice spots to get a cup of joe, even without notary services.

DreamHaven and Audrey Rose

Also close together, one on either side of 23rd Avenue on the south side of East 38th, are two delightful retail shops. One is a longtime veteran of the Twin Cities science fiction books and bookstores scene, and the other is a relatively recent business, a shop doing

DreamHaven Books & Comics

“heirloom preservation and curated vintage” and also selling THC gummies and sparkling waters on the side.
The first shop is DreamHaven Books. This is such an amazing store that I almost never go there even though it’s two blocks from where I live. I am overwhelmed in bookstores anyway, and this one is more than books, with a staggering selection of comics, graphic novels, manga, golden and silver age science fiction, pulp fiction, fantasy, new books, old books, and collectible items such as action figures. The second shop is Audrey Rose Vintage. I don’t know enough about this niche subject to do it justice, so visit their excellent website at audreyrosevintage.com, and then visit the shop at 2237 E. 38th St. and see for yourself. And have a gummy if that’s your thing.

New bakery coming soon looks like a hit

Jessie Witte at the opening of her shop, Audrey Rose Vintage, in June 2021

Atuvava gluten-free bakery is now the tenant at 2800 E. 38th St. (formerly Infused Life, and before that, A Cupcake Social). But it’s not really open yet. So far, they have been having Saturday “soft opens” from 2 to 6 p.m. that have proven to be so popular that block-long lines form to get in (like the day I tried to visit), and they usually sell out before their hours are up. So if you want to go, try to arrive early and be ready to wait a bit, though if you check out their website and social media posts you’ll see why Atuvava’s baked goods look to be totally worth the wait. According to their Facebook page, they’re planning to add at least one additional day by mid-May, and build more hours from there.
On their website, Atuvava’s founder, Alex Ellison, shares the story of how the bakery came into being, when first her young daughter, and then Alex herself, were diagnosed with celiac disease, fueling Alex’s passion for gluten-free baking. The name Atuvava was invented by her daughter as a

I have a feeling that Atuvava is going to be pretty popular!

toddler, as something she would say to people that could mean either, “Would you like some food?” or “Can I have some food?” The word Atuvava sums up the bakery’s philosophy “that food is a resource best shared and that everyone is welcome.”

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