MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- When COVID-19 hit in 2020, a popular North Loop Minneapolis dessert restaurant closed its doors, and hoped they'd reopen. Instead, Edwards Dessert Kitchen remained closed for two years.
"It is a long time," executive chef Jasmine Weiser said. "I can't wait for people to come in and have dessert and be happy. That's our goal: to celebrate and have a good time."
The celebration begins the evening of May 5. Edwards Dessert Kitchen will reopen on Washington Avenue on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. It opened in 2018 as a dessert-only restaurant, along with beautiful wines and cocktails. In the reboot, there are now small savory plates, for people who don't only want dessert.
"We're serious when we need to be but the end product needs to be fun and more indulgent," new general manager Jeremy Barrett said.
Fun and indulgent is an understatement when it comes to Weiser's desserts. Think unique and bold flavors like lychee jam and tarragon white chocolate plus innovative techniques like a thin cascading banana chip.
"This is an art. I am expressing myself through food," Weiser said.
The menu is organized in sections: you can pick up a blueberry buttermilk cheesecake or a matcha chocolate snickerdoodle cookie from the bakery case, or you can get plated desserts like Chocolate Cherry Budino or a stonefruit pavlova with a nectarine vanilla syrup poured-over table-side.
"Over the last two years I was here alone, I had to make decisions if things taste good or not," she said.
Weiser kept her job because the restaurant is owned by Marshall, Minnesota-based food company, Schwans. The original concept was to use Edwards Dessert Kitchen as a bit of a real-world laboratory.
"Will people buy a matcha cookie, will they eat a black sesame sorbet? We can look at that data," Weiser said.
That data informs decisions on flavors for the frozen line of pies Schwans owns, sold under the brand "Edwards Desserts."
"I got to create my own pie, which was fascinating, learning the food science aspect of things," Weiser said.
Now opening with a line of whimsical cocktails that include a Fruity Pebble Milk Punch, with actual cereal embedded in the ice cubes, Edwards is also experimenting with gluten free and plant-based desserts. There's pea protein in the raspberry mousse to help it hold.
It's especially challenging "if you try to make gluten free and plant-based. It is a texture issue, at least for me," she said.
After two years of uncertainty, Weiser and her team said they can't wait to bring some sweetness and joy back to Minnesota.
"The world might be a little gloomy but at least you can come and satisfy your soul a little bit," she laughed.
Edwards Dessert Kitchen
200 Washington Ave. N, Minneapolis
Open: Thursday & Friday 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, Noon – 10 p.m.
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