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Grab a fork: Record number of Twin Cities restaurants opened this year

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Hopefully you're hungry – the Twin Cities has a bevy of new restaurants to try.

Since the start of the year, 91 restaurants have opened in the metro area and 42 are slated to open, the Star Tribune reports. The newspaper says "in no other year has the number of restaurants ever approached this explosive growth" – and most of them are independently owned, not big-name chains or fast food restaurants.

The newspaper does say roughly two dozen restaurants have closed, but many were quickly replaced by new restaurants. Check out this interactive map of all the new restaurants in the area.

The Star Tribune also looked at the restaurant trends this year, which include new "lakeside hotspots" on Lake Minnetonka and in Minneapolis, new diners, pizza places, reviving former eateries and food trucks expanding into brick and mortar restaurants.

In January, MPR News and Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine previewed the appetite of the Twin Cities restaurant scene, noting that when people look back at 2014 it'll be "the year that put Minneapolis on the national food map in a really big way."

The publications noted food trends involving cheese, the many new places to dine, and star chefs who've picked the Twin Cities to open their new restaurants.

The New York Times reported earlier this year that chefs are moving to smaller cities, like those in Minnesota, where they can work at innovative restaurants and cook for people who are interested in where ingredients come from, as well as how creatively dishes can be prepared.

That's one reason why the metro has been named one of the most underrated food towns earlier this year.

Sampling of new fare

Here's a look at some of the new restaurants that have gained fame in the short time chefs have been flinging their spatulas:

Travail Kitchen and Amusements and The Rookery in Robbinsdale were named among 50 finalists for Bon Appetit's 10 Best New Restaurants in America awards. In 2011, Travail was named one of the 10 best new restaurants in America before it closed last year. Travail, along with its sister eatery The Rookery, reopened at a new location in February after raising nearly $256,000 on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter.

In July, the website Thrillist listed the nine best new restaurants in the Twin Cities. On the list: Marché in Uptown Minneapolis, Cook St. Paul, Tongue in Cheek in St. Paul, Lagos Tacos in Uptown, Heydey in Uptown, the Hola Arepa food truck and restaurant in Minneapolis, Corner Table in downtown Minneapolis, Brasserie Zentral in downtown Minneapolis and Rival House in downtown St. Paul.

As part of City Pages' "Best Of" awards, it named the Rabbit Hole the best new restaurant in Minneapolis for 2014, noting the Koreatown-style bar and restaurant "showed up on the dining scene this year in a burst of brash flavors, intriguing decor, and a self-confidence that was hard to resist."

Minnesota Monthly comes out with a list of best new restaurants every year, however it's typically published in the December issue. Click here to see last year's favorites. Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine also names the year's best new restaurants – the 2014 nominees haven't been released. Click here to see last year's best-of list.

Well-known favorites

There may be a plethora of new and notable restaurants opening in the Twin Cities, but the metro still has its go-to eateries that many patrons flock to. In April, the Pioneer Press published a list of "20 Twin Cities restaurants you'll add to your 'to eat' list." The list includes newcomers to the food scene and well-known establishments.

Zagat named the top 10 restaurants in the Twin Cities, which include favorites like Matt's Bar, Manny's Steakhouse, La Belle Vie and Ted's 19th Hole BBQ.

USA Today lists the top 10 places for foodies in the Twin Cities. MSP Mag has also named the 50 best restaurants in the metro.

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