Food news: The next Travail, more BBQ and fresh juice – from a vending machine!


Here's a roundup of notable news from the Minnesota food and restaurant scene.

You can tell a headline writer at Minneapolis Eater is pretty darned excited about what's going on in Robbinsdale. "OMG, Travail and the Rookery are opening on Feb 4th," it reads. (What, no double exclamation points?) The website says the new-and-improved version of the well-reviewed Travail and its newest restaurant/cocktail bar The Rookery has set an opening date. The source of the update is a note from the Travail team that was sent to Kickstarter fans who stepped up to help fund the project. Those who kicked in a hundred bucks will get first shot at being served in the new space during the soft opening that begins Jan. 27. The new spot opens to the public on Feb. 4.

The Business Journal reports that Minnesota-based Famous Dave's is expanding – in the state, the region and nationally. A just-opened joint in Cottage Grove gives the chain its 10th Minnesota spot. Famous Dave is serving hot barbecue to cold oilfield crews with the recent expansion in Williston, the third location in North Dakota. Additional new restaurants in Texas and California bring the total number of Famous Dave's to 196.

A trio of college friends turned a business class project into a company delivering fresh-pressed raw juice from a vending machine. The Business Journal reports the first two test machines started serving customers in an office building in downtown Minneapolis this week. Eric Ploeger, L.J. Stead and Kamal Mohamed, pictured below, got the idea for the XXL commercial juicebox while taking a business class at the University of St. Thomas. For $6.99, customers fill their own containers with 16 ounces of raw juice, pressed off-site and loaded into stainless steel containers and available at the swipe of a credit card. The juice doesn't have any added sugar and comes in some intriguing flavors, including one with jalapeño pepper that leaves a spicy aftertaste.

The company, called Juice Cold Pressed, aims to install 150 of the machines around the metro area. The go-getter businessmen are still looking to raise money from investors for the rollout. They imagine a day when they will have 10,000 machines worldwide, in corporate cafeterias, coffee shops and fitness centers. They say they want their machines to be "the Redbox of juice."

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