5 Twin Cities restaurants and chefs that survived 2020 to thrive in 2021


After a crippling 2020, these restaurants and manufacturers have stepped forward, only to reappear.

While 2020 was the death of all expectations, 2021 was a year where a few smart people looked into the ashes and, instead of retreating, decided to go into full phoenix mode. The mythical bird is admired for its ability to transform from glorious plumage to smoldering ash, only to return – and thrive – as a newborn being. These restaurateurs and manufacturers threw their fate into the abyss and triumphed, filling our culinary world with new wonders.

Owamni – Restaurant of the year

A homecoming of the first peoples, this restaurant on the Mississippi River, which had been in gestation for years, was born from the ruins of the constructions of the town of the mill that had manipulated the sacred waters and erased all traces of the people who lived here. originally. Owamni is not only a crowning achievement for the chef Sean sherman, blending decolonized cuisine and fine dining, but it also represents a new era for the United States that respects those who lived, loved and prospered in this region before the colonizers forever changed the landscape. (JS)

Sooki and Mimi

Ann kim continues to master coloring outside the lines. The chef / owner has built a remarkable reputation with both humble and revolutionary restaurants rooted in the power of pizza. With her new restaurant, she took the rule even further, exploring former Lucia’s restaurant at a time when historic conflict surrounded her Uptown Minneapolis neighborhood. Kim took care and paid special attention to detail in the construction Sooki & Mimi, study the Mexican cuisine she drew inspiration from, open up her beautiful dining room, and then admit that the years-long process had taken its toll. At the height of her menu changes, she went on sabbatical. She continues to act as an industry leader in defying expectations and making the bold decision to take care of her health as a whole. (JS)


The intention of Myriel was simple: Karyn tomlinson, who had been the longtime chef of Corner Table, would open a quaint neighborhood restaurant that would serve exceptional St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood cuisine inspired by his Scandinavian roots. However, 2020 would prove to be the annihilation of the more laid-back plans. After a year of providing take-out and remarkably tasty cinnamon rolls, she methodically worked to build a larger kitchen and worked with a friend to design a serene dining room that humbly stages the alluring dishes. coming out of the kitchen. on an à la carte menu or an extended tasting menu. Eventually, she hired a team of largely long-time hospitality professionals who moved to open a lovely restaurant where you can feel right at home sitting at the bar, chatting with neighbors who have just come downstairs. (JS)

Little Leon

After the Brewer’s Table closed in 2017 – his restaurant at a pioneer restaurant at Surly Brewing Co. – James Beard Award-nominated chef Jorge Guzmán spent two years in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Fortunately, he returned to the Twin Cities to open Little Leon in southern Minneapolis. Reflecting on the challenges of starting a hospitality business during the pandemic, Guzman (collaborating with beverage mogul Travis Serbus) skillfully uses his menu to explore and celebrate his Mexican heritage, creating a singular dining experience we didn’t have. realized we were missing. (IA)

Rosalia, Josefina, Sanjusan, Café Ceres, Cardamom

We couldn’t highlight a single new entry from Daniel del Prado and his associates, simply because of the incredible volume of restaurants they’ve opened since the pandemic, starting with the beloved pizzeria in the Linden Hills neighborhood. Rosalie in the fall of 2020. The first Café Ceres, with extraordinary pastry chef Shawn McKenzie, launched at the dawn of the new year. In spring, of Roman inspiration Josefina came to Wayzata, Sanjusan brought Japanese-Italian to the north loop, and a second Café Cerés opened in the Armatage district of Minneapolis. The Walker Art Center’s Cardamom, also with McKenzie, topped the list this summer. And here’s the thing: they’re all really, really good. With two now beloved restaurants, Colita and Martine, anchor of the portfolio, del Prado seems to have found a winning formula: to join forces with emerging talents and to continue to create without fear. And, whenever the opportunity arises, make pizzas. (SJ)

To learn more about our return to the Minnesota food scene in 2021, including our restaurant of the year, culinary highlights, neighborhood favorites and more, use the drop-down navigation bar at the top of this page. .


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