[Twin Cities - Minneapolis] Young Joni - Pizza and Korean fusion (vegan/vegetarian friendly)

This is Young Joni, the newest restaurant for Ann Kim, the owner of the, also extremely popular, Pizzeria Lola.

In preparation for Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis at US Bank Stadium, I am going to try and post a lot about Minnesota places for the next week! I really dropped the ball...

We went for weekend brunch, but it was actually quite hard to get a reservation...I think I may have actually gotten the last one for the noon-1PM hour.

The lobby is really rustic and homey. The restaurant itself is an open floorplan with ample seating around a bar in the middle. The vibe is kind of like a warehouse, but not overly industrial. You can see that they were looking for a modern, yet rustic atmosphere.

Since it is kind of warehouse-y, it can get kind of loud, so maybe not a great place to have really quiet conversations.

Also of note, there's a "SECRET BAR" in the back. So, now you're in the know.

Like Pizzeria Lola, Young Joni has a rather large pizza menu, but there are also a lot of additional dishes to please all tastes - vegetarians, meat eaters, etc. There are a lot of vegetable options, along with salads and meat small plates. There are also two pages of specialty pizzas and, if you have room afterwards, make sure you check out the desserts. The little bitty ice cream cones are just so cute. But, I do recommend you make the short trip, as we did, to Izzy's Ice Cream for some exciting ice cream flavors and the itty bitty cute Izzy scoop. :) The menu is kind of Korean fusion, but not overtly so.

We started off our meal with a Bibim Grain, just to see if we liked the Korean fusion part (we all have been to Korea multiple times/lived there for years), so just thought we'd check it out. In the five years I lived in Korea over the years, I can count the number of times I've eaten bibimbap on maybe one hand. That being said, I was a little apprehensive about this dish. We just wanted something light and one of the members of our party doesn't eat meat that often.

You could EASILY make this VEGAN, if you ask them to hold the egg. The ingredients are all fresh. Unfortunately for me, it's not that spicy. If you are craving the spice, I'm guessing you could ask for some additional hot sauce.

One of the reasons I don't really like bibimbap is because it's usually just white rice...the times I've eaten it while in Korea was usually it was the only option at a business dinner because my company wanted to "introduce" the foreign government officials to Korean food, or because it was made with barley rice. But, I don't really know why bibimbap, one of the most boring Korean foods is the flagship "introductory Korean food," but that's a story for another day.

Back on track, this one was nice because it was made with Job's tears, so it wasn't just rice and it was nice and fresh with all the ingredients.

We also ordered the Cauliflower off the vegetable menu because I was on a cauliflower obsession week that week. This was SO GOOD. The flavors and textures were all so great together! I definitely recommend this as a sharing plate order!
We also ordered the Thai Sausage Skewers. DEFINITELY recommend these. They were so flavorful. Make sure you get a bite of everything in a wrap of lettuce. You will not regret it!
After much deliberation, we decided on The Basque pizza. I was on-board because of the goat cheese and chorizo, but hesitant because of the olives. The pizza was good, but not that memorable to me. I know that they're famous for the pizza, but maybe I'm not that much of a pizza person.

I do appreciate the thin, crispy crusts...no soggy middles here. There were also bubbles along the crust, so another plus for me.
I do appreciate the creative topping options and combinations. The menu was a little unclear about whether you could create your own pizza.

I would definitely recommend Young Joni for the small plates and vegetable options. The drink menu looked great, too, but we were all driving, so no drinks at lunch.

There is a small parking lot next to the restaurant, however it may be difficult to find a spot in there. There is ample street parking around the restaurant.


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