Hark, a vegan and gluten-free cafe in downtown Minneapolis, is closing on April 28

The owners of Hark Cafe, the vegan and gluten-free cafe in the Warehouse District, has announced that it will close on April 28 and transition to a commercial kitchen/catering operation.

It’s been a tenacious three-year run for owners Lisa Neumann and Katherine Pardue. The self-described best friends met in college and eventually launched the homegrown cafe with plans to serve morning coffee and baked goodies, late-night cocktails and everything in between. But the road has not been easy.

The duo signed a lease for the space just before March 2020, when a state mandate shut down eat-in restaurants. Hark Cafe opened in January 2021, during a time of uncertainty for the hospitality industry, and made headlines as one of the first businesses in the metro area to require customers to provide proof of vaccinations.

Even with the challenges of trying to get into a regular service pace, the cafe earned a reputation in gluten-free and cruelty-free dining circles for amazing ice cream, veggie-filled sandwiches and delicious sweets.

According to a social media post, the bakery will move into “catering and wholesale, and custom order, as well as monthly/holiday gift pre-sales.”

The cafe (430 1st Av. N., Mpls., harkcafe.com) is still open for breakfast through lunch until its last day.

West End’s new Punch Pizza opens on April 30

That’s about a dozen restaurants for the Twin Cities’ favorite Neapolitan pizza chain. Flat tire The newest pizza location opens April 30 near Costco in St. Louis Park (5799 W. 16th St., punchpizza.com). The first restaurant opened in St. Paul in 1996 with distinctive Italian-style pizzas that cook in just 90 seconds. The thin, gently charred crust, served with a variety of traditional toppings, has become popular in the Twin Cities with its slow and steady growth. The new outpost features a menu filled with favorites that fans have come to know and love.

Speaking of Punch locations, fans of St. Paul who still look fondly on the obscure Highland Park location will want to know that there are still no publicly known plans to reopen. It is no longer listed as a location on the website, but the FAQ assures us that it will reopen. Someday.

Second Chimborazo location opens in St. Paul

The beloved neighborhood restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis Chimborazo has officially expanded to the Capitol City. Their second location is now open in the neighborhood of St. Paul’s Highland Park off Lexington Parkway in the shopping complex adjacent to Trader Joe’s. The Ecuadorian restaurant has been a mainstay in Northeast Minneapolis for 15 years. The new outpost will serve a similar menu of Ecuadorian cuisine, including grilled meats, sandwiches, soups and more. Stop by 508 S. Lexington Pkwy., chimborazorestaurant.com.

Minne’s on Glenwood reopens with a mission

Minne is in Glenwood in Minneapolis’ Harrison neighborhood, will host a reopening celebration on May 4. The restaurant started as a food truck and expanded to the permanent location earlier this year, offering floats, Chicago dogs, burgers, fries, onion rings and more.

The restaurant also aims to increase its community with a Pay It Forward board, where guests can buy a meal that is served to a hungry neighbor. Said owner Cordell Richardson, “We bring a beacon of light to this neighborhood by feeding every guest our secret ingredient of goodness.”

The grand reopening celebration (1825 Glenwood Av., Mpls.) is from noon to 5 p.m., with live music, raffles, games and more.

The Lowertown favorite is expanding hours for the Farmers Market season

Santa Dinette in Lowertown just announced extended hours that include opening at 9 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays this summer. The restaurant is located around the corner from the St. Paul and hopes to attract shoppers with its bites and grocery valet service. People can come in after purchasing their market goods and drop off bags at the host’s booth, where the items will be taken care of while diners choose between honey butter French toast or a double cheeseburger for breakfast. (Don’t worry, there’s a salad too.) Saint Dinette is at 261 E. 5th St., St. Paul, saintdinette.com.

Ann Kim’s new hit restaurant is now accepting reservations

by Kim, James Beard Award-winning chef Ann Kim’s new Korean-American restaurant in Uptown has announced that reservations are now available. The former walk-in-only restaurant, called “bold, flavorful and personal” in a February Star Tribune review, opened late last year with lines out the door and not a reserved table in sight. Now, planners can reserve a table, and there were even a bunch open as we posted and before sign-up (1432 W. 31st St., Mpls., kimsmpls.com).

Dashfire in the THC beverage business

For those who like to celebrate like it’s 4/20 every day, Dashfire has two new THC canned drinks hitting the market. The beverage, bitters and ready-to-drink spirits company introduces two new drinks, Bramble Dark Cherry and Juniper and Spicy Passion Fruit Margarita, each with 5mg of THC. They’re available at select Twin Cities liquor stores, as well as Dashfire’s Elusive Botanical Bar (1620 Central Av. NE., Mpls., dashfire.us).

Spoon and Stable earns a prestigious award nomination

Tales of the Cocktail announced its top 10 regional honorees for the 18th annual Spirited Awards last week and Gavin Kaysen’s Minneapolis restaurant spoon and stable (212 N. 1st St., Mpls., spoonandstable.com) was the only Minnesota restaurant recognized in the Best Restaurant in the USA BarU.S. Central category. Winners will be announced during the annual Tales of the Cocktail event in New Orleans July 21-26.

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