Food and Drink

Audrey Kennedy
Updated Jan 14, 2022 - Food and Drink

Ties Lounge & Rooftop to open on Nicollet Mall in February

The exterior of a downtown Minneapolis. A sign with Ties Rooftop and Lounge is above the door.
Photo courtesy of Ties Lounge & Rooftop

A big and high-profile bar and restaurant space on Nicollet Mall is coming back to life this spring with new operators.

Driving the news: Ties Lounge & Rooftop is opening next month at 921 Nicollet Ave., the four-story, 15,000-square-foot building that formerly housed Randle’s and Rojo Mexican Grill.

Why it matters: It's the latest effort to reanimate a downtown Minneapolis — and particularly Nicollet Mall — that is struggling to recover from the pandemic as most of its major employers haven't brought their workers back to the office.

Screen Time: T-Rex Cookies owner Tina Rexing talks TikTok

Photo illustration of a grid of smartphone screens, the center one showing an image of Tina Rexing.
Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Tina Rexing

T-Rex Cookies owner Tina Rexing wants you to know that #SizeMatters.

State of play: Rexing sells her half-pound and five-pound cookies at retailers throughout the Midwest, including her two storefronts in the Twin Cities metro, and she's developed a major social media following.

  • Her TikToks documenting the process of mixing new flavors have racked up tens of millions of views in just a few months.

Review: Minneapolis' Khâluna is worth the wait

a slice of cake, a fruity drink and a bowl of curry
Steamed chocolate cake (left), Balinese fruited tonic and Massaman curry from Khâluna. Photo: Audrey Kennedy/Axios

I finally nabbed a reservation at Khâluna, a Southeast Asian restaurant in South Minneapolis by chef Ann Ahmed.

Not drinking? No problem. Booze-free drinks flow on Minnesota menus

Illustration of a beer can with a declining alcohol by volume.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Minnesotans looking to eliminate or cut back on booze in the new year have more options than ever.

Why it matters: Reducing alcohol consumption is good for your health.

  • The growing availability and popularity of tasty, booze-free beverages can make temperance, even if temporary, more enjoyable and normalized.
Audrey Kennedy
Jan 6, 2022 - COVID

COVID-related closures hit Twin Cities restaurants, again

A sign saying "Sorry, we're closed" but the O has COVID-19 spikes.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

At least 20 restaurants and bars across the metro are going back into hibernation as the Omicron variant sweeps the service industry and a labor shortage leaves many short-staffed.

What's happening: Businesses are canceling reservations, posting last-minute closures on social media and leaving signs on the door announcing outbreaks among staff.

  • Axios has confirmed 20 establishments have temporarily closed due to COVID-19 for at least one day in the past week, as of Wednesday, though the number is likely higher.

Why it matters: Despite the CDC's shortened quarantine guidelines, as little as one exposure could force a small business to shutter for days.

Nordic sauna experience hits North Loop restaurant

regular sauna and ice sauna
Photo courtesy of Blue Plate Restaurant Company

A Nordic sauna is coming to Minneapolis' North Loop.

What's happening: The Freehouse partnered with Duluth's Cedar & Stone to install a wood-fired Finnish sauna on its patio.

  • Instead of jumping in a cold lake after warming up, brave souls can replicate the traditional sauna experience by popping into a second structure made of frozen blocks crafted by a local high-end ice company.

8 Twin Cities restaurant openings to watch in 2022

A person holding a plate of food with greens and a cooked chicken leg on top.
Vinai, Hmong cuisine by chef Yia Vang, has been years in the making. Photo courtesy of Vinai

Despite repeated hits to the industry, the Twin Cities restaurant scene is expected to expand with exciting new eateries in 2022.

The big picture: After a number of closures in 2020, the last year had plenty of exciting restaurant openings drawing national attention — and there's more to look forward to.

  • Here are some upcoming openings to watch for this year.

Where to dine out on New Year's Eve in the Twin Cities

Illustration of the year "2022" written in sparklers
Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Skipping the parties this year? Restaurants across the Twin Cities metro are hosting late-night dinners on New Year's Eve, with prix fixe menus or exclusive specials.

  • Act fast. Reservations are running low.
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