The Restaurant Guide: HIGHLY ANTICIPATED

Updated 10/4/2012

Fall's most notable new restaurant openings.


Opened Monday • 5331 W. 16th St., St. Louis Park

The Uptown grande dame closed in 2009 after a 25-year run. Now the storied Figlio name was revived this week in the former Sopranos Italian at the Shops at West End. Sopranos chef J.P. Samuelson will work to revive beloved Figlio dishes, along with other northern Italian and Mediterranean-inspired food. Like the original, Figlio 2.0 will also focus on a major happy hour. RICK NELSON


Early October • 2551 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls.

A burned-out superette (next door to the Bulldog) is on its way to becoming a cocktails-and-small plates venue called Nightingale. It's a husband-wife effort: Carrie McCabe-Johnston (Restaurant Alma, Brasa) is the chef, and Jasha Johnston (Mortimer's) is running the cocktail side of things. Opening was originally slated for September. R.N.


Late October • 6th & Washington Avs. N., Mpls.

Let's call it the second most anticipated restaurant of 2012 (following Butcher & the Boar). But Smack Shack already has a built-in audience, thanks to the hordes of lobster-roll lovers who've made it a food-truck king. Its owners hope to capture that fervor with a large North Loop restaurant that will have two bars, a loading-dock patio and the same great lobster sandwiches. TOM HORGEN


Oct. 24 • 2550 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls.

Thom Pham is returning to the south Minneapolis location he made famous. Azia Market Bar & Restaurant will look much different from Azia, the original hot spot he held from 2003 to 2010. The Asian-style menu will be stocked with small plates meant for sharing, along with a raw bar. T.H.


November • W. 8th St. & Hennepin Av S., Mpls.

Kam Talebi (Crave, the new Figlio) is transforming the former Shinders building into an ambitious restaurant, bar, lounge and 200-seat rooftop complex. The predominant feature is a retractable, 28-foot-high glass roof that, when closed, will become a four-season, climate-controlled space. "Eclectic American food" is how chef Jim Christiansen (Il Gatto, La Belle Vie, Sea Change) describes his plans. The ambitious bar program will be created by Johnny Michaels of La Belle Vie.R.N.


November • Calhoun Square, 3001 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.

Amid the chain stores and trendy restaurants in Uptown, Republic's opening of a second location in Calhoun Square will be a breath of fresh air. The pub made a name for itself last year after transforming a perennial college dump (Sgt. Preston's) into one of the Twin Cities' best craft-beer bars. They hope to work that same magic with the former Independent space. T.H.


Late 2012/early 2013 • 1942 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.

The landmark Burch Pharmacy at Hennepin and Franklin Avenues will become a steakhouse from chef Isaac Becker of 112 Eatery/Bar La Grassa fame. Yes, there will be beef. Becker is promising a variety of cuts in a range of sizes and prices. But he's also pledging to cater to diners who aren't interested in a medium-rare porterhouse. R.N.