Young Joni Takes NE by (snow) Storm

Meet Ann Kim, owner of the new NE Minneapolis restaurant Young Joni. She is a Minneapolis icon when it comes to her pizza establishments. She also owns two other places in town: Pizzeria Lola and Hello Pizza. My sister Annie and I ventured out on snowy Friday night to try her new restaurant and ladies, Ann is killing it.

Ann Kim, owner of Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola and Hello PIzza

Ann Kim, owner of Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola and Hello PIzza

Young Joni was bustling - us Minnesotans sure didn't let the snow storms stop us. We snuggled up to the bar, overlooking the restaurant, which I loved. Young Joni has a very open, yet homey feel. It reminded me of my years living in New York City. Packed restaurants, busy kitchen staff - a feeling that you are in the action. 

Young Joni's menu has a fun mix of pan-Asian, Italian and Midwestern flair. The cauliflower appetizer was rockin'. Just enough spice for our Nordic palate. We shared the Korean BBQ pizza, one of Ann Kim's specialties. Honestly, I know that sharing is caring and all, but wish I would have had my own. So. Damn. Good.

I think my parents fed me too much sugar when I was young, because I can't end an evening without dessert. My hankering sweet tooth is annoyingly insatiable. The good news is that Young Joni had my ideal dessert on the menu -  Church Basement Bars. A fancy brownie, lemon and Special K bar. I love the Midwest.

 
 

The bartender encouraged us to check out their back bar after our meal. It's hidden down the back alley without any indication besides a glowing red light. For those who want to call it a speakeasy clearly haven't been to the Wisconsin basements of my youth. Because that is exactly what it is - a Midwestern basement from the 1970s. Ideal. They do such a perfect job making it feel like a basement, that Annie had to keep reminding me that we never actually went down any stairs to reach the bar. I will nonetheless continue to call it the Young Joni Basement Bar.

I've been living in Minneapolis for 3 years now and my night at Young Joni made me feel perfectly at home for the first time.

The new restaurant of Ann Kim's makes me proud to be a Minneapolitan. My heart (and stomach) is so full. Thank you, Ann!


 

Young Joni

165 13th Ave. NE

Minneapolis, MN 55413

(612) 345-5719

www.youngjoni.com