Lotus returns to Uptown Minneapolis! The beloved Nguyen family that has graced us with their family tradition since 1983 is expanding their Vietnamese fare to Uptown Minneapolis (opening date to be announced). With their already established downtown favorite, will Lotus returning to the area from which they originated possibly be the end of the long running curse that has plagued this particular location? You may remember some of the past tenants; Old Chicago, Boneyard or the most recent yet short lived, GĀME. The Ngyuens are well aware of the ever-changing demographics and energy of Uptown, but they hope to restore an “old-school Uptown” vibe with the new location. With Mama Lotus’ creative influence on the food and the execution from her husband and sons, this just might be the family vibe that Uptown has been yearning.
If you are familiar with the downtown location, then you probably have been greeted by the eldest son, Yoom Nguyen; with his well-known, warm, comedic, yet humble demeanor. He will now be serving as front of house and business operations manager at the new location. He sure will have his work cut out for him with a much larger space, a full bar and a few additional features including –availability of their signature “stacked bahn mi” sandwich as a quick to-go pick up during lunch hour, a to-go bubble tea stand, fresh rice bowls, fresh salad bowls and a late night food menu after 10pm.
Taking a seat next to the many garage door bays that will soon open to their patio in the coming weeks, my son and I decided to try a few of their signature favorite dishes and perhaps some new ones, if we can talk Mama Lotus into doing so. For now, I’m eyeing the five specialty cocktails they now have that I must try, starting with the Café Da Lat – Hennessy VS, Kahlua & Vietnamese Coffee – $9 Now this is my kind of brunch starter right here. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this idea, I’m an instant fan!
They still serve up some delicious fresh made spring rolls that I no longer have to travel a greater distance for. I’m guessing these will be available at their late-night walk-up only window for the coming seasons.
The decor is simple and shows the progression made with a telling tale of family photos covering a wall in the comfy waiting area. Other poster-sized pictures throughout the restaurant show the Vietnamese culture in black and white, with a capture of everyday residents going about their day in their homeland.
Much like the one in this background of yet another one of their specialty cocktails. Vung Tau Paradise – Rumhaven Coconut Rum, Banana Liqueur, Blue Curaco, Peach Schnapps, Strawberry Schnapps, Heavy Cream, Sprite, and Orange Juice. Tasted like sherbet, and definitely tropical -$8.
Mmmmm the new Uptown location has Shrimp Egg Rolls. Finger size. My finger, not yours.
Mr. Nguyen and one of his sons are running the kitchen during the soft opening.
Bartenders Midian and Vikky model with some of the favorable top shelf cognacs at Lotus Uptown.
Hanoi Mule – Stoli Vodka, Fresh Lime Juice & Ginger Beer – $8. a decent price for the area, lots of bubbles and spirit with a good ice to cocktail ratio (I really dislike when you only get one sip along with a cup of ice like some establishments, not here).
You no longer have to travel down eat street for a giant bowl of pho. Lotus serves up their House Pho with 4-Meats – chicken, beef, meatball and seafood, to fulfill all your protein needs. I think their bowls may have gotten bigger during transition, but I’m not complaining.
As the exterior is a solid jet black that vibrantly makes their logo pop, the interior is mainly dressed up in olive green with many high-tops and booths divided by bamboo style windows. The bar has a modern vibe to it; housing violet neon with 10 flatscreens and 15 beers on tap. For now, I’ll stick to that specialty cocktail menu, this one is named Nha Trang Da Chanh – Stoli Vodka, Fresh Lime Juice, Sugar & Water – $8. Refreshing, but not for me. If you’re not a big drinker, and you’re looking for a light tasting drink, then this one is probably for you.
Well, hey there you badass bowl of sexy Vietnamese love…where have you been all my life? New menu item at their Uptown location, and I guarantee it definitely will be a crowd pleaser. Nem Nuong Salad – It’s the latest creation from Mama Lotus, she took the Vietnamese Nem Nuong and made it into a salad using seasoned ground pork, shrimp egg rolls, and their homemade Nem sauce. Crazy good portion right here, this bowl is huge. Mama Lotus, I only have one small request, two sunny side-up eggs on top for me, please!
The restaurant has a respectable sized outdoor patio that walks off to their own parking lot, which may be a form of entertainment in itself , with some of the parking spot placements multiple maneuvers with close-calls are a thrill to watch, for some. If people watching isn’t your thing, don’t fret, there are also flat-screens on the patio for your viewing pleasure. With the already established relationships and following the Nguyens have built during their journey in the surrounding communities, I’d imagine this will be a quite lively patio during the Spring and Summer seasons. After all, it is a celebration. Oh, the drink…it’s a Saigon Connect – Hennessy & Amaretto – $9. My kind of drink. Cheers! – Phatphood
2841 Hennepin Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55408
Sunday – Wednesday: 11am-10pm
Thursday – Saturday: 11am-1am/2am