Pop! Neighborhood Restaurant 2859 Johnson St. NE Minneapolis, Minnesota 55418 Phone: 612-788-0455food64[1]

GPS coordinates- N 45º01.222′ W093º14.228′

Hours: Lunch: Monday thru Saturday 11:00 am to 3:30 pm

Dinner: Monday thru Thursday 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm Friday & Saturday 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Sunday Brunch 10:00 am to 2:30 pm

by Kevin Wynn

Three little words. I write a marvelous tome about life and family, riding and responsibility, and some guy manages to focus on just three words. All I said was “ratty old Concours”, in the midst of whining about a crappy riding season in the last issue of Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly. A few days after the issue hits the stands I got an e-mail asking for more info about the old bike. Now it’s gone to a new frugal owner.

I hadn’t really been thinking too much about selling it yet. The old bike had served me well. I’d purchased it in the spring of 2000 for $2000. It had 15,000 miles on it and it wasn’t exactly showroom perfect, but it was mechanically sound. I rode the wheels off that bike for two seasons of touring, endurance rallies, Grand Tours and of course, the never ending search for good eating spots to tell all y’all about.

When I sold it last month, the “cheap Concours” had 45,000 on it and looked essentially like it did when I got it.  The only changes I made were to add a cig lighter plug to power the GPS, a tank bra to help keep the tank bag from sliding around, and lots of rally stickers.  I ran the MN2K (2000 miles/48 hours) and the Great Lakes Challenge, a 2450-mile lap of all five Great Lakes in under 50 hours. It carried me to Ohio and to Niobrara, Nebraska to assist as a volunteer with other rallies. There’s been the I’ve Been Everywhere Tour and the Baseball Grand Tour, and finally during 2001, did a great 11-day trip to Wyoming, Nevada, Washington and Montana to help set up bonus points used in the Buttlite 3.  I did this aboard a bike that only cost me $900 in depreciation plus two set of tires and miscellaneous consumables for all that time. The worst problem I had ended up being a bad spark plug. How’s that for a good value?

So what’s the point of all this? It’s that you don’t need to break the bank to get into long distance riding and competitive endurance rallies too. I’ve seen people riding for years on machines I wouldn’t pay $500 for, but they’re dependable and comfortable enough to carry their riders successfully through a 24-hour event, at least most of the time.

Hey, what’d he mean by that?

Well, use a little common sense. Make sure your machine is well maintained. It’s one thing to deal with an unexpected mechanical or natural disaster, but it’s only smart to be sure you are going to have to deal with maintenance items that should have been attended to before you get to the event.

So, enough about that. How did this turn into a primer on endurance riding anyway? It’s the middle of winter and there’s no riding to be done right now. There can be some good eating, though. It just happens that a mere two blocks from my house, at the corner of Johnson Street and 29th Avenue NE, has opened one of the hottest restaurants in the Twin Cities. For years it was Nan’s NE Restaurant. Early in 2002, the owners decided to move on to something else. My fear was that we’d end up without any kind of diner in the immediate area. Lucky for us there was a qualified and motivated chef who had grown up in the area who happened to harbor a long time desire to open a place of his own in that location. The result is called Pop! Neighborhood Restaurant and it may be a little too good for this simple little part of town. The menu ranges from simple cheeseburgers with an Uptown flair to dishes I’m not sure how to pronounce, but that sounded good and looked better. My choice of the walleye sandwich was a good one and my wife tried the Black Angus cheeseburger with Tillamook Cheddar. But the fancy stuff has names like picadillo empanadas (beef filled turnovers), dolce de leche (I have no idea, some kind of crepe’ dessert, I think), and matambre (something built around a flank steak). Us simple Nordeasters ain’t used to all that fancy stuff up here.

That doesn’t seem to stop us from going though. We’re nothing if not frugal and Pop! is affordable for everyone. If you’re not there when the doors open for the dinner hour on a Friday or Saturday evening, be prepared to wait for a good long time ’cause they don’t do reservations and the place is full within half an hour. I have yet to try Pop! during a lunch hour, but I think you’d have better luck then. Anytime you get there it’ll be worth the wait. Pop! is named for the owner’s affinity for pop music and art, which adorns the walls. The staff is young, happy and always nearby to attend to you.

There’s a very nice selection of wine and beer, and a fantastic array of desserts too.

This little corner of Northeast is catching up to the trendier parts of town in many different ways. If they actually pull of the restoration of the Hollywood Theatre, we’ll start feeling too big for our blue-collar britches. In the meantime, try out the newest hot spot and enjoy some good eating.

Eat well. Ride well.

Got something to say to me? Comments on this article or suggestions for future reviews are welcome from readers at: kevinwynn@visi.com



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.