by guest food writer Leo Mezzrow
It appears that the restaurant-hospitality industry, so
heavily damaged at the height of the pandemic crisis,
is well on its way to recovery.
Some establishments didn't make it, unable to survive
lockdowns, regulations, take-out only restrictions,
lack of employees, rising meat and produce costs,
and lack of customers.
Those which did survive often had to adjust their food
ordering and delivery processes, reduce or alter their
menu choices, raise prices and intensify their
hospitality relationships with customers.
Hesitant at first, diners began to resume earlier habits
of eating out, and returning to favorite restaurants,
as well as try out the many new bistros which opened
The latter is one of the most positive signs of the
dining-out renewal, with many restaurateurs who had
closed opening new dining rooms. Several closed
facilities also reopened with new owners and different
Many upscale restaurants, previously employing
traditional table service, adapted to self-service
ordering, and employing fewer wait and kitchen
The most visible change, from the diner’s point of
view, has been of course, menu prices which in
many cases exceeded the general inflation in other
retail industries. This inevitably has caused diners,
especially older ones, to stay home more often, or
to abandon previous favorites which had become
As I said previously, the opening of new restaurants
has been a positive sign of dining out recovery. Using
the Twin Cities in Minnesota as an illustration, here are
some examples. Although parts of Minneapolis are
still suffering, especially in central downtown and
Uptown, the periphery of downtown where new condo
and apartment construction has taken place, is
enjoying a restaurant boom. The North Loop near the
Mississippi River now has Tullibee, an upscale
Scandinavian restaurant (in the Hewing Hotel) serving
breakfast, weekends brunch, lunch and dinner. Valet
and on-street parking on Washington Avenue North.
Going south, The Canopy Hotel features two fine
restaurants, its own Umbra, serving a daily buffet
breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner. Umbria has
two menus all day, including a menu that features
cassoulet, alligator, octopus, lamb sliders and unusual
flatbreads. The latter are half price at happy hour in
the bar area. Across a beautiful lobby is Chloe, a fine
French restaurant created by a veteran Gallic chef,
serving dinner only, and soon a Sunday brunch.
On-street parking on South 3rd Street near the Viking
Back in the North Loop area, three promising upscale
restaurants are under construction within a few blocks
of each other and Tullibee. One is an Argentine
churrascaria, another is French and a third is Basque,
each operated by top well-known local chefs. In the
same area, three high-end dining rooms are already
open, one of them in the new Four Seasons Hotel.
All of these restaurants, are or will be, quite pricey,
although both Tulibee and Umbra are less so.
Across the river in the East Hennepin commercial
neighborhood, a number of new restaurants have
opened, including an outstanding southern Indian
restaurant, Curry Corner, and All Saints, featuring
innovative cuisine. On-street parking on East
Over in St, Paul, a number of new ethnic bistros
have opened in neighborhoods outside downtown.
Kalsada is a Filipino restaurant with an authentic
menu. Estelle serves an upscale continental menu
dinner only. Both have on-street parking.
Although I can’t guarantee it for others, I have had
very good experiences at each of the named new
restaurants above. They range from moderate pricey
to very pricey. Each one seems to be doing good
business, and they are are only a fraction of new
Twin Cities restaurants.
I believe the Twin City experience js being duplicated
in cities across the nation. Next time, I will write about
new restaurants which offer good but less pricey meals.
Copyright (c) 2023 by Leo Mezzrow. All rights reserved.