And no wonder. Just over a year old, the venue is tucked away on the fourth floor of the Washington Square building in downtown Minneapolis. It isn’t the kind of place you happen upon.
“We decided to embrace it even though it was sort of our nemesis at first, not being really well-known or not super visible physically,” says Rob Michaletz, district executive chef for Eurest, the company that owns Elevate (and other properties like Forum 55 in Chicago and Oxford Market in Pittsburgh).
But the city’s least-known food hall deserves a visit for breakfast or lunch if you work downtown. Among its tenants offering counter service are Pork & Mindy’s (a BBQ concept by Food Network star Jeff Mauro), Butcher & Baker (sandwiches, etc.), Sonora Grill (Spanish and South American cuisine), Roots & Seeds (all the greens you can eat), Fork & Flour (creative pizzas), OneTwoThree Sushi (self-explanatory), and Just Burgers (ditto).
From the get-go, the Elevate team wanted local vendors to be part of the food hall. “Rather than go on a national chain thing or reach out to a multi-state restaurant, we really wanted to embrace the whole local thing,” Michaletz says. Enter Sonora Grill, previously stationed at Midtown Global Market, and One Two Three Sushi, which has multiple locations in the Twin Cities. “That really helped get some street cred for the food hall, versus if we were to bring in your typical mall-based type franchises that we weren’t really interested in, to be honest,” says Michaletz.
The appeal of food halls, especially for downtown’s daytime diners, is in their variety. They also allow groups to eat together yet still have a uniquely individual dining experience, and provide multiple culinary experiences in the same place for those who don’t want to stray too far from the office.
At Elevate, standout day-starters include Pork & Mindy’s Bacon Tater Bowl (tots, candied bacon, smoked mozzarella, fried egg, and green onions) and Sonora Grill’s Molletes (eggs, chihuahua cheese, guajillo beans, and your choice of protein on open-faced baguettes). Lunch brings savory delights like the Barbacoa Street Taco Pizza from Fork & Flour or a Cuban Burger Melt at Just Burgers.
Elevate is a food hall that encourages lingering, thanks to its city views and plush lounge seating, plust a ping pong and pool table and outdoor pergola area. “I really think the vibe that we have in there is really cool,” says Michaletz. “It’s kind of this rustic-wood-meets-contemporary vibe.” The space is meant to be collaborative, too; Elevate’s large tables, power hookups, and Wi-Fi make it a great casual meeting space.
If only more people knew about it. Currently, Michaletz estimates that 70 percent of the food hall’s business comes from workers in the 100 Washington, 111 Washington, and the 20 Washington buildings. Retired or self-employed tenants from the surrounding condominiums and flats also pop in for a bite. “It’s really all over the board,” he says of Elevate’s customer base. “We get some everyday customers, but we also get some customers that try different places and stop at our place once a week.”
Elevate recently acquired a liquor license to move beyond being a breakfast and lunch spot, and it’s hosting community events to introduce itself to Minneapolitans. Next up is Rock the Lawn this Friday evening, featuring lawn games and live music by Wain McFarlane & Dreadlock Cowboy. Monster Brewing and Inbound BrewCo will have beer on tap while small bites like smoked jalapeno cheddar poppers, citrus-brined chicken wings, and smoked pork belly sliders will be circulating. The following morning, CorePower offers a free yoga class on Elevate’s lawn followed by mocktails, mimosas, cold brew coffee from Blackeye Roasting Co., and breakfast goodies. West End Chiropractic will also be on site for mini massages and athletic taping.
With all this goodness going on, it won’t be long until the secret of Elevate gets out.
Elevate Food Hall
100 S. Washington Ave., Minneapolis
Open Monday through Friday
Breakfast served from 6:45 to 9:30 a.m.
Lunch is available 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Grab 'n' go items are available 1:30 to 6 p.m.