Urban Cuisine

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May 3, 2004 // UPDATED 1:26 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Tammy Sproule Kaplan
Tammy Sproule Kaplan

Show Mom the love

Sunday, May 9 is Mother's Day, and many of you will be looking for a place to brunch. You could always go with an old favorite, but here are a couple of fresh and original options for treating Mom right this year.

Windows on Minnesota, 50th Floor, IDS Center, is now open to the public for a buffet-style brunch at $24.95 per person. After a $3 million renovation in 2003, the restaurant decided to expand beyond its private party events and open on Sundays, a day that will not ordinarily interfere with banquet business.

General Manager Gerard Vitadin says, "So many people had been asking, 'will you be open to the public?' that we decided to do it."

Since the restaurant started serving brunch late last year, business has been solid, particularly on special occasions such as Easter. Aside from the panoramic views of the city, an obvious attraction, take pleasure in the live music and champagne while you enjoy your brunch. Partake in the spectacular views second-hand at www.marquettehotel.com. Call ahead for a Mother's Day reservation, as the event should be a busy one.

You may not typically think of Mell's Beauty Bar, 606 Washington Ave. N., as a brunch spot. However, it is doing a special Mother's Day brunch this year to benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Owner Laura Mell, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor, used to do the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer walk in Edina every Mother's Day. This year, she decided to make use of her own venue to benefit the cause and will donate a portion of the proceeds to the foundation. Arrange a spot for yourself, Mom and family for the buffet-style brunch, to include breakfast pizzas, seasonal fruit and a scrumptious caramel bread pudding. The buffet on its own is $15, or if you want Mom to really be pampered, splurge on the $30 option which includes one alcoholic beverage (mimosas and Bloody Marys will be served) and her choice of a manicure or massage. Reserve in advance, as Mell expects the place to fill up.

Farmers' Market a welcome sign of spring

With spring comes the event we've all been waiting for, the opening of the Minneapolis Farmers' Market. The main Lyndale Ave. N. location opened April 24 and will remain open daily from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. The weekly Nicollet Mall extension started last Thursday, April 29. The history of the market extends back as far as 1876 when the first stalls appeared at 1st Street and Hennepin Avenue. It has operated out of the Lyndale location since 1937.

IDS newcomer on a Mission

Mission American Kitchen and Bar opened on the first floor of the IDS Center, 80 S. 8th St., on April 20. The concept is simple American food. Chef Jordan Smith, formerly of D'Amico, Woodfire Grill and Azur, says, "For me, American food should be like eating at my house. And it will be, with fun foods to share, simple ingredients, generous portions..."

The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, the lunch menu being slightly more casual, with sandwiches like Kobe pastrami and corned beef on pumpernickel rye (12 oz. for $16, 10 oz. for $14, and 8 oz. for $12). The evening menu contains a selection of unpretentious plates, such as grilled pork tenderloin with fried potatoes, greens and garlic sauce ($18), or steam fried salmon, with tomato, bell pepper, and fermented black beans ($18).

The exquisitely designed kitchen remains nearly intact from when Aquavit occupied the space. The remainder of the restaurant has been redesigned for a comfortable, stylish, and eclectic feel, and the art and furniture of various independent artists fills the space. The marble-topped bar, featuring an ice rink to keep drinks cold, is sure to attract some fans. An abbreviated menu is also served in the bar.

While the restaurant takes a dramatically different approach than Aquavit took, it still expects to lure travelers, and the large windows provide a backdrop rich with people and activity. "We appreciate that the IDS management took a chance with a local restaurateur, and we hope we gave them the original restaurant for the building that we both wanted," says partner Elli Ansari. "It is a landmark building, and we wanted something important yet welcoming for the Downtown neighborhood and for the business person and tourist."

Inside peek at luxury condos

WomenVenture, a Twin Cities nonprofit economic resource center for women, is sponsoring the second annual River of Dreams Loft Home Tour, showcasing several luxury condominium buildings on the Mississippi in Downtown Minneapolis. Featured properties include the historic Washburn and Humboldt lofts located near Portland Avenue and South 2nd Street. In addition to the breathtaking views, hors d'oeuvres, champagne and dessert will be served. $100 of the $125 ticket price will be tax deductible. A limited number of tickets are available, so register in advance at www.womenventure.org/events.cfm.