Restaurant and food news, plus a mini-review of Rebecca’s Bakery

Wakpa Bar at Owamni


Openings, closings and changes

With late spring comes the reopening of outdoor dining spaces, from lakeside pavilions, to ice cream stands, to rooftop bars, to sidewalk or backyard patios. Bread and Pickle at Lake Harriet reopened on May 10, Painted Turtle at Lake Nokomis on May 20. They will have beer later on, when their ongoing renovation is complete. Sea Salt reopened in mid-April and has added a sandwich shop annex. At Owamni, on the downtown side of the river near St. Anthony Falls, the outdoor Wakpa Bar has opened, replacing the Tatanka food truck. The Wakpa Bar is walk-in only, serving small plates and handhelds, take-out style, as well as beer and wine from Indigenous and BIPOC producers.
A new sushi place, Rollicious, has opened in Dinkytown, in the former Lands End Pasty Company spot. Joining the ever-growing list of places opening soon (Lynette at 38th Street and 42nd Avenue, Darling Cafe in the old Birchwood spot in Seward) is the reopening of Sameh Wadi’s Saffron, of beloved memory.
Cedar Avenue’s popular i.e. Italian Eatery/Un Dito has announced that they will close permanently sometime this year, although the exact date is not decided yet. This is because the owners want to “go out on top.”

Gopher roll at Rollicious (Photo/Stacy Brooks, Racket)

The sudden unannounced closing of Soul to Soul Smokehouse at Midtown Global Market was apparently due to some shady dealing by a former partner. At Eat Street Crossing, Ramen Shoten closed and quickly reopened as Staff Meeting, an interesting name. Staff Meeting’s menu blends modern Hawaii street food with the comforting flavors of Chef Louross’s Filipino heritage to create a Pacific Island fusion menu serving gyoza, wings, tonkatsu, karaage, vegetarian ramen and more.

Food news and views

Eater Twin Cities had three interesting articles in May: “12 Essential Twin Cities Sushi Restaurants” (May 8); “What Fueled Minnesota’s THC Takeover?” (May 6); and “At the University of Minnesota, Local Palestinian Restaurants Helped Nourish a Movement” (May 3).
From Racket, via the brilliant freelance pen of my friend Ian Ringgenberg, I recommend “Best Budget Bites: $9.99 Pasty from Milda’s Café” (April 29), the latest in the BBB series.
Also, from Racket staffer-owner Jay Boller: “Annie’s Parlour Is Finally Back: Does It Live Up to Your Nostalgia?” (May 14) (Spoiler: Jay thinks it does.)

Jeff’s Pasty with gravy from Milda’s Cafe (Photo/Ian Ringgenberg, Racket)


My friends (mostly) know that I am still on my campaign to raise awareness about child labor/slavery. (See for my first published foray.) There have been advances made, although the official count of children in forced labor in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana still stands at just under two million. Côte d’Ivoire, which was the number one child slavery country, passed some legislation recently. And in the U.S., a class-action suit has been filed against the major chocolate offenders – Mars, Mondelez and Cargill – alleging that they deliberately dragged their feet on their promises to end child labor by 2010, then 2015, then 2020. (See I think the facts speak for themselves on this one. The lawsuit plaintiffs are Ghanaian former child workers. The two countries produce 70% of the world’s cacao, and increasingly are processing it in-country to export cocoa and other chocolate components to industries worldwide.

Annie’s Parlour in Dinkytown has reopened after a nearly four-year closure

But the real kicker was left to our old “friend” climate change. In the past year, chocolate prices from west Africa have increased fourfold as demand has exceeded supply. Yields are way down due to climate chaos – drought when the crop needs moisture, floods, unpredictable rainfall, and a new disease called cacao swollen shoot virus, or CSSV. Could Gaia be exacting her own punishment? Stay tuned for more.

Mini-review – Rebecca’s Bakery & Café

Recently I stopped in at Rebecca’s Bakery & Café to see how it’s going, get a coffee to go, and maybe a roll or a sandwich. I ended up chatting quite a while with a very nice Ethiopian man, who I presume was the owner, and then decided to just get an almond croissant and a hot Americano. We chatted about living in Italy (him) and living in England (me). He lived in Italy for years and went to school there, and the influence is evident.

Delicious menu items at Rebecca’s Bakery & Cafe

Rebecca’s Bakery has been in Seward for over 10 years. This was not my first visit, and it won’t be my last. Previously I have sampled the wedding cookies, the almond biscotti, and the fruit tart, all excellent. The great thing about Rebecca’s Bakery is the fusion and selection. Where else can you get perfect almond croissants, custom-roasted Ethiopian coffee, tiramisu, cream puffs, excellent Italian espresso, a plate of Ethiopian lentils, vegetables and injera, a fancy cake, Ethiopian tea, or lovely authentic Italian spaghetti and meatballs, all in one place?

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