Young Joni’s presence on my list of must-try restaurants should come as no surprise. What chef Ann Kim and her team have accomplished is exceptional and worthy of all the national attention—which includes recognition from GQ and Eater as one of 2017’s best new restaurants in the country. And while this may be Kim’s first time in the national spotlight, she’s no stranger to Twin Cities’ residents, who’ve long admired her brilliance at Pizzeria Lola and Hello Pizza.
Located in Minneapolis’ Northeast neighborhood, Young Joni definitely gets points for stunning design and décor— a casual, warm and inviting atmosphere that’s also sophisticated and sleek. The restaurant’s main attraction, a beautiful copper-covered wood-burning pizza oven is fueled by the piles of firewood that greet you at the entrance. Try to score a seat at the chefs’ counter, where you can watch the menu come to life in front of you on a continuously burning wood-fired grill.
Of course the pizzas are great. A few perennial favorites carried over from Lola, like the Korean BBQ pie, are met with new renditions like The Pepe, topped with plenty of fresh clams and garlic, and The Basque, with chorizo, mozzarella, goat cheese, piquillo pepper, olives and preserved lemon. However, what keeps this restaurant on my mind are the “other delights,” a selection of flawless globally-inspired small plates. Both the grilled Thai sausage skewers, loaded with kaffir lime and served lettuce wrap-style with a sweet chile dipping sauce, and the Korean beef short ribs on top of a charred Serrano yogurt, are simply perfect. In the vegetable category, don’t skip the cauliflower with blistered shishito peppers, almond picada and a lick-the-plate-clean cauliflower yogurt sauce or the Japanese sweet potatoes topped with bonito flakes.
While you wait—and you will wait unless you made a reservation a month in advance—check out the wood-clad back alley bar for a speakeasy vibe with inventive cocktails and a killer soundtrack.
165 13th Ave. NE,
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Photographs by Eliesa Johnson.