Fall Is FIRE

17September 2021

It’s the best season, everyone knows it. It’s our last dance in the sun and we are not going to waste it. We will dig out our puffy vests, layer up and Oktoberfest like there’s no October. We will drink beers on boats as long as there are paddles, we will celebrate the harvest with a party just for vegetables, and we will snack on Thai street food that may require copping a squat on a grassy patch, while we still can.


  The employees at Brother Justus are the latest group of craft beverage workers to organize and form a union with Unite 17. The Columbia Park/North Mpls. distillery ownership recognized the union voluntarily so there will be no need for a vote. 

Black Hart Bar, the best and only soccer + drag bar that I’ve ever known, is the latest to hospitality venue to announce vaccination requirements. The bar asks that on Friday and Saturday nights, after 8pm when things start to get crowded in there, that guests show proof of vax or a 72-hour negative Covid test. It’s just that much safer when you’re belting out The Rose at karaoke in the back room.


All Saints will open officially next Tuesday in the E. Hennepin space that was lastly Bardo. Kim Tong and Dennis Leaf-Smith, who hatched this plan while working together at Esker Grove, have given the space a light makeover and created a menu of veggie-forward dishes. That patio needs to be visited soon. 

+ Good news Bloomington, Taqueria las Cuatros Milpas is finally open. The second location for my favorite E. Lake birria quesadilla spot is a big re-do of an old 1st Wok, next to Erik’s Bike Shop, just west of Portland off the frontage road for I-94. Expect a bigger space, more menu items, and even a bar!

+ El Travieso Taqueria has also opened a second location. Hector Ruiz has brought this kickass taco shop (please order the pillin discadas with pastor if you trust me), to the strip mall party at Minnetonka Blvd. and Hwy 101, and it is a welcome kick of flavor for the area. 

+ The Dakota has reopened! The downtown Mpls. jazz club is back open for indoor dining and shows with a bit of a physical refresh and a whole new menu. Remy Pettus, formerly of Bardo, has taken over the kitchen and given it a boost from his family roots in the south: peel n’ eat gulf shrimp, cheddar biscuits, chicken fried quail, even peaches and cream with shortbread. Bless his heart.

+ Stanleys NE has re-opened Stanley’s Upstairs. Formerly fashioned as a speakeasy, the revamp has brightened the space up and turned it into a game room with 6 large screen TVs, darts and shuffleboard, Big Buck Hunter, Pacman, and other video games plus e-pull tabs and various gambling games. Upstairs is only open Th-Su, but the full Stanleys menu is available. 

+ East Side Bar is finally throwing their Grand “Ope”ning on Saturday. That happens when you open during a pandemic that doesn’t really let you open and party the way you want. Ope. Sneak right by the other events and land here for four bands, outdoor grillables from Peterson meats, Summit beers on tap outside and the full menu going strong inside.

+ Bacon Social House is now open again in Mpls. next to the Canopy Hilton in East Town. 


+  North Loop is getting a new hotspot: Guacaya Bistreaux Latin Caribbean Tapas & Bar is coming to the Dock Street Flats, tucked off of Washington near the T3 building. Giancarlo Quintero and chef Pedro Wolcott plan to bring the bright and fully flavored food from their childhood in Panama to the Twin Cities. Look for opening next year. This. Looks. Exciting. 

+ Up in Shoreview, a new restaurant called Churchill St. will open in a former hardware store. The chef Aaron Marthaler has some serious cred, after growing up in the Eau Claire area he spent time in the Napa Valley kitchens of The French Laundry, Long Meadow Ranch, and Press Restaurant. 

+Looks like the St. Paul Grill will finally open again on October 8th, with limited hours to start. 


// It’s firmly Oktoberfest season. Let start with some of this weekend’s ickle firsties:

  • Forgotten Star Brewing, which just brought home a gold medal from the GABF for their German Schwarzbier!!, has two days of bands starting tonight, and some of them might polka! They’ve got Aki’s Breadhaus pretzels (the best), the Sizzlin’ Wagon food truck, and sauerkraut und sausages to go with all that award-winning beer. Log rolling too, so limber up. 
  • Utepils Oktoberfest also kicks off tonight. Gerhard’s brats and .5L steins are the hallmarks, so is the actual wedding celebration (on Saturday), costume contest, German trivia, meat raffle, Polish folk dancing, brass polka band (next weekend) and so much German beer. 
  • Pryesfest on Saturday sports special 1L steins with a full pour of Pryes Fest for $25, plus bratwurst, giant pretzels, and a set list that kicks off with the Southside Aces. 
  • Shaktoberfest is what happens on Saturday at Badger Hill Brewing in Shakopee. It starts with a beer run, moves into food truck snacking, and keeps going all day with games, live music, and special beer releases. 
  • Co-optoberfest at Fair State Brewing is on Saturday in Northeast. MB Foodhouse will be there with a taco situation, and there will be polka lessons, fest bier pours straight from the tank, birthday cake (because Happy 7th Bday guys) and stein holding feats of will. 

// The Minnesota Cider Guild’s Ciderfest is back this Saturday! Held at the Mpls Cider Co. this year, the fest draws more than 18 cideries from the state and region, from Sapsucker Farms to Sociable Ciderwerks. VIP is sold out, but $50 general admission tickets are still available, and there will be food trucks and live music to make it even better than an afternoon in the orchard. 

// Stomp in the City is not a re-boot, it’s the grape stomping fun that’s being had this Saturday at North Loop’s Axebridge winery and tasting room. Polish up your toes, then choose a glass of wine to sip: each glass enters you into a raffle to participate in a round of stomping on the patio. Yes, you will compete (pro tip: it’s all cardio) and the barrel that produces the most foot juice on each round wins a prize (not the foot juice). 

// Bask in the bounty of the harvest at Sunday’s Twin Cities Vegfest. Harriet Island will host the plant-based fest with cooking demos from local chefs, a performance by a plant-based poet, and plenty of exhibitors and samplers. Masks are required for indoor programming and shuttle rides, and encouraged outside when social distancing becomes impossible. 

// It’s the 3rd Annual Thai Street Food Fest this Sunday at the Wat Promwachirayan in St. Louis Park. You’d be a fool not to stroll over and snack on fried Thai shrimp and pork cakes, perfectly basil-laden pad krapow pork, and mango sticky rice which is a treat you deserve. You know you can even order ahead online and just arrive in time to get your to-go picnic and find a grassy spot on which to sit.

// The Beer Dabbler crew has donned their floaties and plan to launch The Beer Paddler on Sept. 24. Yep, they’re on a boat. Get your sea legs on and join them for a little cruise on the Mississippi River with 24 breweries and cideries pouring you sips as you sail. There will be a StormKing barbecue picnic before you board your liquid two-hour cruise, which is included in the $85 ticket (BYOblanket). 

// WHAT ARE YOU DOING OCTOBER 3rd? Coming to the meats-loaded Smoke Out 2021? Crib notes: at Allianz Field, tons of local talent, smoked meats, group discounts, beat the Sunday scaries, Arby’s. 

// Plan ahead you little elves. Lawless Distilling has announced that Miracle Bar will be back this year! Starting Nov. 4 and lasting through Dec., the Seward cocktail room will once again transform into a Christmas bar dripping with baubles and sparkly garlands where you get to sip from Santa mugs and slog grog with your pals. This year will be more limited, with 70 minute tastings and a set number of drinks to sip, but you’ll be hard pressed not to feel the comfort and joy. 

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