Back in March 2021, a new restaurant opened in Northeast Minneapolis with a name as unique as the menu.
It’s called Step Chld (the missing “i” is intentional) and the first impressions have been raving.
So, I thought it was about time DiscoverTheCities.com officially checked out the spot. I mean, what better excuse to try some supposedly delicious food?
- Step Chld – Background
- Step Chld – the Location, Vibe, and Atmosphere
- The Food & Menu
- Entrees – the Cooper Burger & the Chubby Garlic Noodles
- Overall – Step Chld is one of the most interesting menus in the Twin Cities
- Misc FAQs:
Step Chld – Background
A few years ago, a local food truck experienced one of the most rocket-ship-like rises to stardom this city has ever seen.
It was called Nashville Coop, and in just a matter of months, the hugely popular fried chicken truck had expended into multiple brick and mortar locations.
So when people started asking Nashville Coop’s owner, Kamal Mohamed, if he had any other concept ideas, he shared his vision of an eccentric neighborhood spot in Northeast Minneapolis.
Pretty soon, the idea received funding from the team behind GoldRoom on Hennepin Ave, they’d also recruited a long-time chef from Barbette in Upton, and even grabbed a general manager from Penny’s Coffee in downtown Minneapolis.
The goal? Unique twists on American classics.
As Kamal Mohamed told the StarTribune
We’re trying to think outside the box. We want to surprise the taste buds, to give you something that you know but veer a little to the left or the right.”
Step Chld – the Location, Vibe, and Atmosphere
Step Chld sits in a small, cozy, corner spot in Minneapolis’s St. Anthony neighborhood. It’s just across the street from Surdyk’s, a short walk from Nye’s, and about two doors down from PinKU (one of our favorite Japanese restaurants in Minneapolis).
We arrived about 15 minutes late to our reservation (shame! shame!) but the hostess was nice enough to still seat us at the bar.
The vibe of the dining room is undoubtedly boho-chic. A single shotgun line of seats runs the entire length of the narrow restaurant, and each table is outfitted with impressive bamboo/rattan chairs and complemented by plants for days.
At the bar, the bamboo fades away and gets replaced by an impressive collection of tap beers. The small space fools you into thinking you’re at a neighborhood watering hole, but your nose lets you know that appearances can be deceiving. All you have to do follow those delectable smells – tilt your head to the right and you’ll be surprised – the end of the bar transforms into a compact kitchen, no more than half the square footage of the bar area.
(And if you look up you’ll see what the restaurant describes as the only “living ceiling” around – it’s packed with hydroponic plants that the owners say is a self-sustaining ecosystem.)
We ordered a pair of drinks and then watched a hustling team of chefs dance around the tight kitchen. Each person seemed in charge of a space no more than about 5 feet wide, but they piloted those spaces with the sort of compact efficiency reminiscent of a busy food truck.
Smoke wafted our way as they piled dozens of patties onto the grill at a time, and we continued to work on our drinks with eager excitement.
Oh yeah, speaking of those drinks…
Interestingly, the longest section of the drink menu is the wine. You’ll find no less than 40 different choices for red, white, sparkling, rose, and even orange wines that fill up the majority of the drink menu.
I was surprised to see that cocktails were entirely absent from the menu, although Lily informed me that’s what the cocktail bar next door is for. (It’s called Hyde and owned by the same crew.)
So, a craft beer for me (Indee’s Pistachio Cream Ale – a favorite!) and a white wine for Lily (Illahe Viognier Willamette – she gave it a solid thumbs up!).
The Food & Menu
Any time a menu is compact, I get excited. Usually this means the kitchen is so confident in their specialties that they know each one is a home run.
Step Chld fits this mold to T.
The entire menu fits on a half a page, and that’s because the whole thing totals no more than 15 choices, appetizers and entrees in all.
Appetizer – Burrata
Somehow overwhelmed by the tiny menu, we asked the bartender if she had any appetizer recommendations.
She enthusiastically shared her top three, which were:
- Brussel Sprouts
- And the Sweet Potato Fritter
(Later, another staff member mentioned that the Sweet Potato Fritter was her favorite item on the entire menu, just FYI)
We went with the burrata, which came out looking beautiful and tasted even better.
And as an appetizer, the burrata perfectly sums up the unique approach Step Chld is taking to their menu. Forget serving burrata with its traditional bread or toast, Step Chld remixes theirs with grilled chapati (Indian flat bread). This surprising combination is exactly the sort of tastebud twist Step Chld promised.
And if that wasn’t enough, they also top it with the unusal choice of za’tar seasoning and pickled plum.
And somehow, it all just works. Brilliantly.
Send out the next one, asap!
Entrees – the Cooper Burger & the Chubby Garlic Noodles
Chubby Garlic Noodles
Again, an interesting twist on a classic. “Garlic noodles” might have your brain thinking Italian, especially when one of the ingredients includes the traditional parmesan topping. Except buried in Step Chld’s noodles lies Oyster Sauce and a spicy Japanese spice blend.
The result is yet another confusing, yet fantastic, spin on a classic.
These noodles were perfectly chewy with a mind-blowing flavor profile. If the appetizer had me interested in Step Chld’s food, the noodles immediately had me sold.
The Cooper Burger
Here was the main event.
I’d heard good things about the burger here, but then again… I’ve heard good things about the burgers at nearly ever restaurant in our town. (The Twin Cities have some of the best burgers anywhere.)
But one bite in, and I knew that hype was for real.
This burger comes with two smashed and oh-so-amazingly-charred patties, but in typical Step Chld fashion, it’s elevated even further with a fantastic, unexpected sauce. (To get specific, it’s a mimita chipotle aioli, and it adds a wonderfully smokey and subtly spicy note to the burger.) The pickles and perfectly melted cheese then make the whole thing a juicy, delicious mess.
Seriously, this is one INCREDIBLE burger.
PS – The thin cut fries were excellent, too. And also uniquely seasoned.
If the stated goal of this new spot is to churn out interesting remixes on the classics, well then they’re knocking it out of the park.
Each dish we tried was a total home run, which isn’t easy to do when you’re venturing off the beaten path.
As we exited the restaurant, I couldn’t help but sneak a peek at the plates of some of the other dinners. From the looks of things, it seems the three items we ordered are just the tip of the iceburg, because each table had an amazing plate that we can’t wait to come back and try.
PS – Stay tuned for an update to our list of best restaurants in Northeast Minneapolis. Step Chld definitely deserves a spot!
What’s the service like?
We sat at the bar, so we didn’t get the usual wait-staff experience. That said, our bartender was great, and we saw plenty of staff covering the small space and holding lively chats with their guests.
Do you need a reservation to visit Step Chld?
Step Chld does take reservations and it seems to be getting more popular, so we’d recommend it, especially if visiting on a weekend.
Average Plate Cost
It’s Northeast Minneapolis, so your options include street parking or a garage. That said, we were surprised to easily find a metered spot directly in front of the restaurant on our visit.
At the time of this writing, Step Chld is only open for dinner Monday to Saturday. You can check out their latest hours here.
24 University Ave NE STE 100, Minneapolis, MN 55413