Just when it seemed like the food hall concept was played out, like this market couldn’t possibly take another — and also still in the midst of a pandemic — The Market at Malcolm Yards opened.
But I’m here to tell you that the shiny new facility, built within the ruins of the historic Harris Machinery Co., is an absolute game-changer. The variety and quality of vendors is unmatched and there’s tons of seating, indoors and out. There are proper cocktails — some matched to the flavors of individual vendors — or a beer and wine wall for easy self-service. On top of that, the atmosphere is really, really cool.
Even payment here is slick and modern — you swipe a credit card and they give you a card to pay. You can use it at any vendor, and you get just one bill at the end. Brilliant.
If I were to complain about anything, it would be the temporary issue of unpaved parking lots, which turn into a muddy mess in the rain and are a little hard to navigate. But there’s more development going on in the area, and the permanent solution — likely a ramp — will take some time to figure out. Meanwhile, it’s always a good idea to hop on the light rail or hire a rideshare, especially if you’re going to be drinking.
Really, though, Malcolm Yards, which is smack dab on the border of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and just blocks from Surly Brewing and the new O’Shaughnessy Distilling, is the perfect place to meet a friend, or a group of them, and linger over some amazing food. Bring your friend with a special diet — there are tons of gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options.
Because it’s only been open for about a month, Community Outreach and Events Manager Molly Hermann said events are just starting to get traction there, but the market has two spaces that can be rented for meetings, parties, weddings and more. Many meeting organizers are simply giving their guests cards to use at the market, so they can choose their own meals, but catering is also available.
The market will also host pre- and post-game celebrations for Gophers sports. Hermann said they’ll open a few hours early on game days and some vendors will offer brunch items. They’ll have beer in cans outside, too, for a tailgating feel.
Here’s my guide to the vendors in the market, with a short description and some recommended dishes from each. Honestly, every morsel of food I’ve eaten here has been good, and some of it downright spectacular.
Be warned, though, it’s not a secret. The place has been busy to packed every time I’ve visited. Lunch is a better option if you’re crowd-averse.
Chef Jamie Yoo is bringing flavors from his native Korea, melded with other Asian cuisine, to the market, but his professional cheffing background is mostly in French kitchens, including those of Gavin Kaysen. It’s great to see him proudly display his heritage here, with some of the best Korean fried chicken I’ve tried. I love that the chicken is served with the sauce on the side, so that the perfect crunch is not lost. The half-head of cauliflower, doused in a tasty chili crisp, is a worthy side or main if you’re meat-free.
Recommended dishes: Korean Fried Chicken ($12 for a two-piece); Cauliflower ($12 for a half head)
Although this is a “vegetable eatery,” chef Michael Shaughnessy wants you to know that eating vegetables is about way more than just salads. Indeed, I did not try a single salad off his menu, which also includes some meat, but I did have the best veggie burger I’ve ever eaten, some ridiculously good avocado toast, mung bean pancakes that made me sigh with happiness and a tomato burrata salad that let in-season heirloom tomatoes (there’s nothing better) sing. Shaughnessy’s chef credentials include executive chef runs at the fabulous Young Joni and California-cuisine darling Mill Valley Kitchen.
The Wild Boomer Burger, a mix of wild mushrooms, nutty wild rice and umami-rich miso, is crisped perfectly and served on a pillowy, sesame-seeded bun with a garlicky vegan aioli and pickled onions and chiles to wake everything up. They have a gluten-free bun available, too, and it’s quite good.
The Benjamin Bacon starts with those crispy, flavor-packed mung bean pancakes and ups the ante with some tender, perfectly rendered, maple-soy-glazed pork belly, a killer kimchi and a deeply savory, spicy gochujang aioli. Since it is plated in a set of three pancakes, it’s also highly shareable.
Recommended dishes: Wild Boomer Burger ($15); Benjamin Bacon ($15); Ave Avocado Toast ($13); Tommy Tomato ($12)
I don’t consider myself much of an expert on sushi, but I do know that this long-standing sushi outfit (they have a standalone bricks-and-mortar in South Minneapolis) knows its stuff. Fresh fish awaits you in made-to-order rolls, sashimi and fresh-fish appetizers. If you haven’t had fresh wasabi, they offer it, and it’s worth ordering some sushi just to try the herbaceous root in its purest form.
Recommended dishes: Tataki ($13); any rolls with fresh wasabi, which is an extra $5
One of the buzziest burgers in a burger-obsessed town and super-creative ice cream are the focus of this stand, which, predictably, always has a line.
Well-known pastry chef (and the opening ice cream chef at Milkjam) Ben Spangler and his now-wife, Gabriella Grant, started Bebe with a standalone spot in Uptown that quickly became known for its delicious, creative ice cream flavors and long lines, especially on the weekends when they serve the burger. Happily for us, the burger is available whenever Malcolm Yards is open.
The burger is of the smashed variety and its claim to fame is bacon in the grind, which gives it a slightly smoky flavor and very luscious texture. It’s good. Very good. Line worthy.
But the ice cream, with its impossibly creamy bases (please note they do have plenty of vegan versions as well) and bright, creative flavors like Vanilla MSG and Gochujang Brownie, is also stellar. Honestly, the Pistachio w/Almond, which sports pistachios imported from Italy and marzipan, might be my favorite of the genre, and I always try the pistachio ice cream.
Recommended dishes: Pistachio w/Almond ice cream ($4.95 for a scoop); Burger ($6.95)
Bartending legend Nick Kosevich developed the cocktails here, and made one that matches the flavor profile of each vendor. I only got the chance to try a few, but as expected, they are top-notch. There are also more conventional drinks available — a friend who always craves bloody Marys ordered one and said it was great.
Recommended drinks: Argentine Sour (goes with Del Sur Empanadas; $12); Snap Pea Collins (goes with Advellum; $12)
Del Sur Empanadas
Long one of my favorite food trucks, Del Sur opened a bricks-and-mortar eatery in Minnetonka in 2018. It’s kind of a haul for even the best empanadas, so I couldn’t be more thrilled that they have a stall at Malcolm Yards. Flaky, golden crusts are filled with ingredients ranging from the expected (chorizo or sweet beef) to the unexpected (caprese or sweet corn). And every one I’ve tried has been great.
Recommended dishes: Any empanada, but especially the chorizo, sweet beef or mushroom), $3.75 apiece
Although you might be tempted to skip over this stall — build-your-own-pasta isn’t exactly groundbreaking stuff — I suggest you think again. The fresh, tender pasta is made in house, and the red sauce as bright and balanced as they come. Oh, and if you like meatballs, there’s a reason that word is in the name. They are huge, juicy and full of flavor. The portions here are generous, too.
Chef Joshua Hedquist has a great story, too. He fought his way from being a teen with a rap sheet to heading kitchens, and he believes in second chances so employs people, including felons, who need a second chance.
Recommended dishes: The Baller (spaghetti and two meatballs, $16.75)
If you’ve never had momo or dosa, you are in for a treat. Momo are Nepalese dumplings, and you can get them here filled with everything from mutton to vegetables. They are served with two mild chutneys — a mint and a tomato — so you can choose your own adventure.
Dosa are thin crepe-like wraps made from fermented lentils and rice. The wrap itself, nutty, crisp and a little chewy at once, is the star of the show, but the fillings here are so good that I can’t pick a favorite — I’m going with two. If you like meat, the Keema Dosa, filled with ground meat, red onion, parsley, zucchini, cheese and spices, is fantastic, but if you’re a vegetable lover, I can’t recommend the Masala Dosa, stuffed with curried potatoes, enough.
Recommended dishes: Chicken Momo ($11); Keema Dosa ($13); Masala Dosa ($11)
Sunday at the Market
You might be tempted to overlook this oddball little stall, which serves charcuterie boards and Japanese-style sandwiches, but if you have never had Japanese egg salad, it’s definitely worth a try. The sandwiches are served on fluffy white bread with just enough green lettuce to give it visual appeal and a little crunch, and the egg salad itself is fluffy and creamy.
They also serve best-in-class Red Table meats and Alemar cheeses.
Recommended dishes: Tamago egg salad sandwich ($6.50)
Detroit-style pizza is trending, and Wrecktangle makes some of the best in the metro.
Deep-dish crust, crispy cheese on the edges and fresh, creative toppings combine to make a craveable pie. There’s everything from a breakfast pizza to one with blue cheese alfredo and spicy chicken to classics like pepperoni and sausage. I’m personally more of a classic gal, but I do like spicy. The Shredder, with pepperoni, pickled jalapenos and whipped honey infused with Cry Baby Craig’s hot sauce, is exactly my jam.
Recommended dishes: The Shredder ($20 for an 8 x 10 pizza, which is six slices)
The Market at Malcolm Yards
- Where: 501 30th Ave. S.E., Minneapolis
- Contact: malcolmyards.market
- Prices: Most items $20 or below. Varies by vendor.
- Good to know: Ample on-site parking, but also on light-rail line. Vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options aplenty.