The love keeps coming for Young Joni

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The love keeps coming for Young Joni, pizza in Minneapolis

Making the semifinals for the prestigious James Beard award, receiving “Best New Restaurant” from the City Pages in their recent “Best Of” issue, or catering to a packed house just about every night of the week (the ultimate satisfaction for any restaurant), Ann Kim’s newest restaurants, Young Joni, has been the talk, and toast, of the town.

Though, not just our town. Young Joni is getting national love as well: GQ recently released its “Best New Restaurants for 2017” list, and, wedged among entries from Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and Seattle, is our very own Young Joni.

It wasn’t just about the (fantastic) food, but also the cultural impact these restaurants, and the dishes they serve, have in this day and age. As author Brett Martin writes in the article,

“…it’s worth remembering that cultures and foods that once seemed hopelessly alien and unassimilable are now so much part of the fabric of our cuisine that they go unnoticed. Take Young Joni, in Minneapolis, which serves both wood-fired pizzas and Korean small plates; in 2017, could there be a more red-blooded American combination?”

Young Joni, old soul

Young Joni is new. It just opened in November of 2016, so, as of this writing, it’s not even six months old. But owner Ann Kim is no stranger to Minneapolis dining. Her two pizza places, Pizzeria Lola (named after her pup) and Hello Pizza have made countless “Best” lists in the past and are still considered among the finest pizza places in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Young Joni, named for Ann Kim and co-owner Conrad Leifur’s mother’s first names, adds a strong dose of far east to the mix, with Thai sausages, Japanese sweet potatoes, Bibim grains, fantastic Korean pickles and lots of kimchi everywhere, but really just focuses on big flavor in small packages, a strong emphasis on the very best ingredients, and that little extra TLC that makes each plate something special.

As Martin says in his writeup, it’s easy take for granted that we can have grilled Haloumi, Korean short ribs, spicy clams and pork belly, and chicken wings all under one roof.

And, of course, there is still amazing pizza. This is the best of American dining in 2017.

A separate-but-connected “back bar,” hidden with a different entrance for that too-cool-to-be-obvious vibe, is also the place to see and be seen and simply be (and also received honors, “Best New Bar” from the City Pages).

GQ only put 10 new restaurants from across the country on their list. It was cool to see Young Joni as one of them, letting the rest of the country in on what what we in Minnesota have known for years.

Though, good luck finding a seat.

Young Joni | 165 13th Ave NE, MPLS, MN 55413 | (612) 345-5719

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