Couriers will deliver pan-Asian fare via electric bikes this spring
Three film industry veterans and a chef have come together to open Sweet Chow Takeaway, a takeout-focused Asian bar and restaurant, in the North Loop.
The 88-seat restaurant opened in late February in the former Hennepin Steam Room space, where chef John Krattenmaker and partners Amy Francis, Julie Hartley and Greg Cummins have built out a casual pan-Asian dining spot. The four have been working for more than three years to develop and find a home for the concept, which they envision as a high-quality source of quick Asian takeout for the neighborhood.
“We wanted everything to be high (quality), the quality of the space, the quality of the food. So, we’re really happy with where we are,” Cummins said.
Jamie Malone and Erik Anderson, two rising stars in the culinary world, consulted on the menu, a combination of Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian, Chinese and Korean dishes. There’s green papaya salads and lemongrass sausage from Thailand, banh mi sandwiches and pot de crème from Vietnam and rice cakes with kimchi from Korea. Krattenmaker, formerly of Barrio, Sea Change, the American Swedish Institute’s Fika and Café Alma, uses bread from Alma for the Vietnamese sandwiches.
Cummins said they hope to open a Kickstarter soon to fundraise money to support a delivery service utilizing electric bikes that assist the driver. Sweet Chow will employ its own delivery people, rather than using several food delivery companies in the city. The delivery range will be restricted to the North Loop neighborhood.
“The idea is to get it there fast and get it there warm,” he said.
Cummins said they developed the menu to be ready for takeout and delivery. Only two items, a Vietnamese coffee or pot de crème pudding and rice cakes, aren’t available for takeout, which is available online at chowtakeaway.com.
Sweet Chow has a full bar and will soon roll out its own cocktail program. In the meantime, the bar offers $9 glasses of wine, sake and soju, a popular Korean liquor. There are five local beers currently on tap, from Miraculum from Pryes Brewing Co. just outside the neighborhood to the Nice STP dark ale from Bang Brewing of St. Paul.
The restaurant isn’t done building out its space. The team plans to put the “sweet” in Sweet Chow by opening an ice cream shop within the building. The concept will share a liquor license with the restaurant, so Cummins said they’ll be able to serve adult ice cream drinks like floats and frozen grasshopper cocktails. Patrons can expect the house ice cream shop to open sometime this spring.
Sweet Chow, at 116 N. 1st Ave., is open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m.–midnight Friday and Saturday. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations.