Tag Archives: Restaurant Opening

Lip Smackin’ Good

It may have taken longer than the Twin Cities wanted, but it would appear that diners feel it was worth the wait.  It’s already challenging to get dinner reservations at the Smack Shack, situated in the North Loop neighborhood.


We had a fun time with the VIP party, as everyone knows that restaurant openings are my favorite events! Thank you to Erica Loeks for the images!




There are few things greater in life than fresh oysters and champagne, especially if it is Veuve Cliquot.  The chefs shucked the oysters and presented it on the massive ice sculpture from Ice Occasions.



The centerpiece of the restaurant is the large blue lobster tank, ensuring that the lobster live in pristine water.



My faves:  Continental Roll (warm lobster roll), Smack Burger, Shrimp Boil.  (oh, and save some room for yummy dessert)

Smack Shack
603 Washington Avenue North
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401

Rooftop View

The VIP opening of Crave’s new downtown rooftop was a smashing success.    We laid down the red carpet, poured Moet, passed some food and had DJ Poet, of the Black Eyed Peas, entertain the crowd!

A fun party to put on and I was happy that everyone seemed to have a goood time.

Smile Network had an amazing array of rare wine and unique items for a silent auction that took place in Crave’s Private Dining Room.

Kara of Kamarron Design always does such a beautiful job selecting fabrics, colors and textures for the Crave Restaurants.  The finishing touches on the rooftop makes it a beautiful, yet comfortable space.

This might be my favorite ice sculpture from Ice Occasions!

Thank you to Noah Wolf Photography for the images!

A Forum for Foodies

Someone asked me recently, “What is American fare?”



Steak and potatoes?

In this day and age of fusion-this and fusion-that, I’m not sure I know the true answer to that question.

At the Forum Restaurant preview party, I spent more time in the kitchen than anywhere else in the restaurant. Call me a chef groupie, but when given a choice, I prefer to see the action in the kitchen versus the people watching in the dining room.

The idea behind Forum is a gathering place to converse and exchange ideas, while noshing on American comfort food. (I know in our text-email-iPad life, as we know it today, the whole concept of actually talking to each other seems a bit foreign).

I love the idea behind it as I’ve been discussing this very topic in my industry…getting back to engaging in real-life interaction with one another.

The concept is a little simpler than Jim and Stefanie Ringo’s other new restaurant, Ringo in the West End, and it is in business-expense account territory, so hopefully the concept will be embraced.

They did a great job renovating the space and bringing it back to the art-deco originality. It has a casual elegance about the space.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to taste very much of the menu last night. However, I did enjoy the firecracker shrimp (just enough sting to the tongue) and the beet salad (nice mix of texture and flavor). I’m looking forward to trying the Southwest Bird’s Nest (hard-boiled egg wrapped in country sausage and panko, served on cristpy onion nest, with chipolte aioli) and the Beef Short Rib “Steamship” (16 ounces of slowly braised short rib with Yukon mashed potatoes and Forum vegetable medley, as prepared at the James Beard House in New York City) upon my next visit.

Forum, located in former Goodfellow’s space in City Center, offically opened today.

Ringo Restaurant

When Chef Ryan Aberle called me almost three months ago to tell me he was heading up a new restaurant, I was pretty excited for him. I worked with him when he was Executive Chef at Northcoast and always appreciated the care and attention he gave my clients. I referred to him as the chef who never says no to a client / customer.

When he introduced me to the owner, Jim Ringo, and told me the concept, I will admit that I had my reservations.

Don’t get me wrong.

I think Chef Aberle is talented. I just thought the concept was extremely ambitious (something I’ve never been accused of!)

At the grand opening party last night, I found myself pleasantly surprised.

Ringo is a restaurant offering cuisine from all over the world. Each month a special menu from a different culinary destination will emerge.

Lucky me, this month is Seoul, South Korea. For those of you who don’t know, I was born in South Korea, adopted when I was three, traveled back to South Korea at the age of 23 to meet my biological father. I fell in love with Korean food as an adult.

And for those of you who do know me, I’m not much of a drinker, but absolutely fell in love with the Cherry Blossom cocktail (off the Korean menu). I made it perfectly clear to both Chef Aberle and Jim Ringo that it must stay on the cocktail menu even after the Korean menu is long gone.

During the grand opening, I absolutely loved the Korean Sweet ‘n Sour Short Ribs (don’t tell on me, but I ate seven of them) and the Lamb Lollipops. The lamb is from Colorado and was so perfectly cooked and tender that I would have eaten more if I hadn’t been so full!

I had lunch at Ringo today and found the Beef in a Stone Pot (known as Dol Sot Bibimbap) had the right flavors and I loved the mixture of texture. Chef Aberle was surprised when I said it reminded me of the Bibimbap my Korean stepmother makes.

My dining companions had Fiery Soy Chicken with Glass Noodles and Spicy Black Cod Stew, which they both enjoyed very much.

With the wide variety on the menu, there are a lot of items to try, so I am hoping that a return trip will be in my near future!

Tom Horgen and Lora Pabst of Star Tribune with Stephanie and Jim Ringo, owners of Ringo

Jars of food ingredients sit on pillar shelves to emulate all of the colors from around the world.

I could not get enough of the beef carpaccio!

My favorite dessert was the Green Tea Ice Cream

Shops at West End (near intersections of Hwy 100 & 394)
5331 W. 16th Street
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Call us at (952) 303-5574 to reserve a table or go to Open Table.