Ever dreamt of enjoying one of the best parts of MSP's airport without the steep price of a ticket or hassle of flying (especially right now)? What about getting ahold of the Twin Cities' most squawked-over fried chicken without stalking its creators around town? Or perhaps enjoying your food truck of choice with an adult beverage and bathrooms at your disposal is more than seems possible?
If any of the above sounds appealing, then we have great news for you!
Each of the following brand-newbies to our dining scene has popped up super recently, just to satisfy these very itches. No two are alike in cuisine or scene, but all opened their doors to the kind of fanfare befitting the sweat, passion, and flavor they've invested in their dreams… which just so happen to match ours.
Might as well don a mask and place an order already?
Ask anyone who popped by a brewery or farmers market this summer and they’ll likely attest: The runaway winner of this summer’s unofficial food truck popularity contest was newcomer Nashville Coop. Run by brothers Kamal and Arif Mohamed, the white or red truck (depending on whether the “home” or “away” chassis was making an appearance) produced queues stretching around the block, all in service of cluckin’ hot birds fried in Tennessee’s most famous style. Then poof! like magic, the brothers materialized in a permanent space this week, and the masses followed. In keeping with tradition, the menu at Nashville Coop’s joint on Snelling Avenue is consistent with the trucks that built its reputation: pick your bird style (strips, “sammich,” or Texas toast) and heat level that ranges from zero-ish to no-seriously-you’ll-regret-this. – Nashville Coop, 300 Snelling Ave. S., St. Paul
Sidebar at Surdyk’s
Chances are decent you’re already making the occasional trip to Northeast’s trustiest wine and booze emporium. Heck, even if the siren song of alcohol didn’t beckon, Surdyk’s cheese shop has an allure that’s hard to match. Back in January, the family announced that they would (literally) be expanding their extant offerings with a new venture inspired by their airport outpost, Surdyk's Flights. “Sidebar,” which opened to guests on Wednesday, is a modern brasserie built into the store, with a dine-in area, bar, and 34-seat patio stretching out onto Hennepin. September’s food menu tantalizes with options like steak frites with anchovy butter, a lobster and heirloom BLT, and niçoise aioli plate. The cocktail menu has something for everyone, safe to splashy, and Sidebar’s tap list runs the gamut from darlings like Fair State Roselle to Toppling Goliath’s Psuedo Sue, and even a spritz for funsies. It’s exactly the kind of flavor palace 86 years in the spirits and cheese business would add up to, and we’re all about it. – Sidebar at Surdyk’s, 303 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
Smokin’ Ninjas Food Truck Lounge
The idea behind this joint is absolutely masterful: Make several craveable cuisines – sushi, poké, Texas-inspired barbecue, plus a rotating crew of guest foods – available in one location without needing to build out a full kitchen, then provide a non-curb space for customers to enjoy their meals. This plan was hatched by a pair of food truck owners, Ninja Sushi’s Sachoua Vang and Smoke Session BBQ’s Houa Vang, each of whom first built steady clienteles by holding down spots along White Bear Avenue in St. Paul. The separate businesses operate out of trucks surrounding the lounge (formerly Plan B, whose signage still appears out front), but together they threw in on the legendary Rice Street dive bar to offer their patrons shelter from the elements, bathrooms, and alcohol to wash down their meals. Their creation offers the best of food trucks and dives, without truly being either. It's something else entirely, that we think is pretty genius, not to mention drool-worthy. – Smokin' Ninjas Food Truck Lounge, 879 Rice St., St. Paul