Help Is on the Menu
the Lab

Help Is on the Menu

A taste of incubators, stores, and organizations helping to make local restaurants and food and beverage brands a reality.

Food and beverage innovators often start out in their own kitchens, figuring things out as they go, with no recipe for success to guide them. But as food and drink startups grow in number, so has a network of resources to support them. Incubators and other organizations designed to support new restaurant ventures and food and drink brands are popping up right and left in the Twin Cities. Our feed includes six:

{1} The Lab

Opened in St. Paul in May by beverage development and operations solutions provider BevSource, The Lab features an interactive taproom up front, with self-pour taps and the chance for patrons to provide feedback on the drinks. Behind the scenes, beverage creators can use The Lab’s facilities to pilot and test concoctions of beer, kombucha, tea, cider, hard soda, energy drinks, sparkling water, even children’s drinks—all with the help of beverage experts.


{2} Grow North MN

Part of the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, Grow North MN helps food and ag entrepreneurs and innovators across the state scale their businesses. With centralized resources, education, and mentorship programs and events, Grow North MN aims to build connections between food and ag folks from all levels to help them work “smarter, faster, better together.”


{3} The Lynhall

The Lynhall in Lowry Hill East has fast become a hot brunch spot, but the restaurant is also home to a food incubator. Aimed at overcoming financial barriers that local entrepreneurs face trying to bring products to market, The Lynhall provides a rentable commercial kitchen space, educational seminars galore, a state-of-the-art kitchen studio, and the opportunity to sell products in its restaurant.


{4} Maker-to-Market

Maker-to-Market connects Minnesota farmers, makers, and markets to bring new flavors and concepts to the community. Ingredients from small farms are crafted into new products by startup food makers in a financially subsidized commercial kitchen space, then sold in retail shops like Lakewinds Food Co-op. Maker-to-Market offers mentorships along the way, and helps local entrepreneurs scale their food businesses.


{5} Seasoned Specialty Food Market

Just getting on store shelves is a hurdle for many food and beverage startup companies. Seasoned Specialty Food Market helps fledgling Minnesota food and drink makers display, market, and sell their goods. For a low fee, the St. Paul market, which opened a year and a half ago, invites makers to offer their goods at the shop. Operated like a co-working space for retail, Seasoned Specialty has staff to handle marketing and sales, and offer coaching, but it doesn’t take a cut of the profits.


{6} The Nordic

Scheduled to open later this summer in the North Loop of Minneapolis, The Nordic is a new food hall-style accelerator space that aims to launch new restaurants. Housed on the first floor of a mixed-use building, the space will include four fully built-out kitchens, communal seating, and a 22-seat bar, as well as front-of-house staff, overhead equipment, and marketing, public relations, and business strategy support.
—Tess Allen