Spanish-inspired fast-casual restaurant planned for Minnetonka

The former chef at Tilia is behind the new restaurant.
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A new restaurant is in the works for the former Noodles and Company space near Ridgedale Mall in Minnetonka. 

Paul Backer, former executive chef at Tilia and St. Genevieve in Minneapolis, and Michael Knox, a former manager at Tilia, have plans to open Toma Mojo Grill, a fast-casual, counter-service restaurant, at 12977 Ridgedale Drive, according to city documents

They've been serving Toma Moja's dishes at pop-ups at Falling Knife Brewing Co. in Minneapolis as of late, a trend that will continue until Toma Moja opens its brick-and-mortar restaurant. A date for when that may be hasn't been announced. 

Toma Mojo's menu is inspired by Spain and Portugal, including sandwiches, chickens, pulled pork, wings, family platters and sides, with various Mojo and hot sauces, documents show.

"If you think of what Shake Shack is to McDonald's, that's what we'll be for KFC or the forgotten Boston Market," Backer told the Star Tribune.

Beer, seltzers, wine and non-alcoholic options are also planned. The Minnetonka City Council held a public hearing on the restaurant's liquor licenses on March 22 and it will continue on April 26. 

The restaurant can seat 68 people inside and 24 on the patio, city documents show. To start, it would be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., but breakfast hours may be added in the future, starting at 8 a.m.

Toma Mojo is among the new restaurants planned or recently opened in Minnetonka this year. Others include Duke's on 7, Taco Teresa's and El Travieso Taqueria, the Sun Sailor notes.

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