Travail Collective opened a new restaurant last week in northeast Minneapolis, and “we did not tell anyone,” co-owner Mike Brown said.
Dream Creamery, at 816 Lowry Av. NE., Mpls., Is a nostalgia-driven ice cream parlor with a short food menu featuring cheeseburgers, french fries, curd and lobster rolls. The takeaway spot, with only outdoor picnic tables for seating, remains in a soft opening phase. Its grand opening is on June 3rd.
The extremely flamboyant restaurant group wanted to remain quiet for their latest efforts, which they own together with chef Nathan Mickelsen. The last time Travail opened a restaurant in this place – and advertised for it – was their Minnesota BBQ Co. overrun with customers.
“It was a train wreck,” Brown said. So for Dream Creamery, the group of chefs let the word spread organically in the Holland neighborhood and online, and “we had a healthy first week,” Brown said.
Minnesota BBQ Co. closed last year after an outdoor fire damaged the building’s electrical wiring. (The building is owned by the Travail team and designed by the same architect as Travail’s Robbinsdale headquarters, PKA Architecture.)
“After the fire, we thought, ‘Let’s just leave it free for a while, because times are weird right now, and we might not need another thing on our plate,'” Brown said. But when the team met Mickelsen, “we were beaten. That guy has it, man, he has the passion. ”
Mickelsen, who has a good food background, also has some serious ice credits, having been part of the launch of two major local players, Milkjam Creamery and Bebe Zito, both with ice cream ace Ben Spangler.
“I’ve always been obsessed with ice cream; all my life it’s been one of my favorite things to eat, but I’ve never worked on it before,” Mickelsen said. “Ben taught me everything I know about ice cream.”
When Mickelsen parted ways with Bebe Zito, he reached out to Travail with an idea for a ghost kitchen ice cream. The Travail team took the concept a step further and offered to redesign the barbecue area, which is just down the street from a Dairy Queen.
Mickelsen’s ice cream flavor, in pints labeled as an 8-bit video game, read as a supermarket snack – marshmallow pretzel brownie, peanut butter and Oreo, monkey bread praline. (Some of these flavors are also offered by the pint of Pizza Lucé.) They all evoke a memory from his childhood: movie snacks, his grandmother’s oatmeal cookies.
“Everything you see in there is a motif from the late ’80s, early’ 90s, and it’s just about bringing you back to your childhood, because that’s what it does for me. , “said Mickelsen, 37.
The restaurant’s Oklahoma-style burger is made by smashing a patty into a pile of red onions and letting the whole mess caramelize on the frying plate. It is served on a squishy Denny’s 5th Avenue Bakery bun and topped with more onions, American cheese, a sour “special sauce” and homemade pickles.
The mayo-based lobster and shrimp roll comes on a buttery, toasty chunk of the same Denny’s bread with a solid sprinkle of chives. Mickelsen worked for a while at Minneapolis’ lobster site Smack Shack, and “to be honest, I kind of wanted to expand them,” he said.
The menu may soon get some additions, including mini-corn dogs, Brown said. It’s all a bit 80s and a bit State Fair, but with Travail pedigree.
“I do not want people to feel intimidated by this,” Mickelsen said. “There are a lot of young families in the Northeast. I want them to feel the nostalgia.”
Bob’s Burgers takes over Bebe Zito
Buoy for Incoming Burger Word Play: Bob’s Burgers take over Uptown’s Bebe Zito for Memorial Day Weekend. The beloved Minneapolis ice cream and burger shop from co-owners Gabriella Grant and chef Ben Spangler will dress up as the beloved cartoon burger shop from May 28th to 30th. There will be an ice cream special, today’s burgers, costumes and more.
The pop-up is a promotion of “The Bob’s Burgers Movie,” which lands in theaters on May 27th. The TV series stars the Belcher family: Bob and Linda with their children Gene, Tina and Louise, who run a burger restaurant.
But which burgers on the day will do? Little Swiss Bunshine (made with buttered bun), I Fight the Slaw (and the Slaw Won), or The Hand That Rocks the Bagel?
Yia Vang launches a new podcast
Yia Vang, the famous local chef from Union Hmong Kitchen and the upcoming Vinai, has launched a new podcast called Hmonglish along with news anchor Gia Vang to explore the intersection of Hmong and American culture. The first episode will be published on June 1.
Yia Vang also co-hosts the White on Rice podcast, which discusses food and culture.
The hospitality community mourns chef Matthew Kempf
The Twin Cities food community mourns the loss of Matthew Kempf, a longtime chef who died on May 13th. Kempf worked in a number of notable kitchens, including Goodfellows, A Rebours, Il Gato, Maude, WA Frost, The Mill NE and more. Kempf was working at Northeast’s The Sheridan Room at the time of his death. Hospitality friends gathered to commemorate the native Champlain this week.
GrillFest celebrates 10 years
If you grill it, they will come.
Celebrate everything that has to do with barbecue – cooking competitions, demonstrations, tests, drinks, products, you name it – at Minnesota Monthly’s 10th annual GrillFest, 21-22. May from kl. 1pm to 5pm at CHS Field, 360 N. Broadway, St. Paul.
Tickets are $ 65 in advance; $ 75 at the door and all participants must be 21 years or older. Tickets include admission, a tasting glass and samples. For tickets and more info, go to grillfestival.com.
Kickoff for the fair are still available tickets
Tickets are still available for the Minnesota State Fair’s Kickoff to Summer, which will be held May 26-30. May. The five-day event includes many trade show favorites with its food, music and shopping offerings – and a chance to ride the Giant Slide.
But we’re about the food. Participating vendors include Andy’s Grille, Baba’s, Big Fat Bacon, Blue Moon Dine-In Theater, Coasters, Dino’s Gyros, French Meadow Bakery & Cafe, Fresh French Fries, Mancini’s al Fresco, Mouth Trap Cheese Curds, RC’s BBQ, Summer Lakes Beverage, Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar, Tiny Tim Donuts and many more.
Tickets, which are sold by time, cost $ 12.50 each; food is extra. Children 4 and under enter free of charge. Go to mnstatefair.org/kickoff-to-summer/ for details.
Happy Thai New Year
Head to the State Capitol for the Minnesota Songkran Festival, organized by the Thai Cultural Council of Minnesota. The festival celebrates Thai New Year with a variety of authentic dishes, cultural performances, arts and crafts, a papaya salad dining competition and more.
The festival in the Capitol area is on May 28 from kl. 11:00 to 21:00 and on May 29 from kl. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is free admission. For more information, go to thaiculturemn.us.
Taste & Toast tickets on sale now
Schedule in advance for the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s popular Taste & Toast on July 27 in the Arboretum Gardens: Tickets are on sale now and are often sold out.
The night includes strolling through the gardens, where more than 45 restaurants, breweries, cideries and wineries from across the state – along with live music – will keep you sipping and enjoying the entire evening.
The price is $ 100 for general admission (7pm to 9pm) and $ 175 for patron level (6pm to 9pm), which includes early access as well as a gift bag. To buy tickets or see a list of who should be there, go to arb.umn.edu/events/taste-and-toast,