Black Chef Offers Food for Thought in Rural Minnesota Community

Black Chef Offers Food for Thought in Rural Minnesota Community

Credit: Chad Nelson, KARE
Mateo Mackbee, owner and chef at Krewe restaurant in St. Joseph, Minnesota

Kare11: ST JOSEPH, Minn. — St. Joseph is a town of towering steeples and 6,500, mostly, white people.

Mateo Mackbee is a notable exception.

“This is the barbequed shrimp,” Mateo says as he works the grill at Krewe, the New Orleans style restaurant he opened last May with his girlfriend Erin Lucas.

“Our mission is to make this be successful,” Mateo says. “Black entrepreneur in an absolutely almost all white rural town.”

While cooking at Edina’s former Mozza Mia restaurant, he met Erin who was working as a server.

She now runs Flour & Flower, the bakery she opened in a small, historic, wood frame building just behind Krewe.

“Carbs are my love language,” the Orono native says.

The couple was lured to St. Joseph by the owner of the building in which they opened their restaurant and now live on the second floor.


Credit: Chad Nelson, KARE
Erin Lucas opened Flour & Flower bakery in St. Joseph, Minnesota

On a recent Friday, Erin frosted a lemon cake, while a few yards away, across the alley, Mateo cut onions to caramelize for smothered catfish and a variety other Cajun and Creole dishes featured on the Krewe menu.

“Some of these are family recipes passed down from my grandfather,” Mateo says. “In Louisiana cooking, they call it the holy trinity: green bell pepper, white or yellow onion and celery.”

After years of restaurant experience, Mateo and Erin knew the food would be the easy part of their move from the city to rural Minnesota.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” says Erin, who is white but worries about Mateo. “It was scary.”

Two years before moving to St. Joseph, the couple started another restaurant in, even smaller, New London.

“We had people who wouldn’t come into the restaurant in New London because I was an owner there,” Mateo confides.

The couple made friends, but there was also no mistaking the “snarky” comments occasionally directed their way at the bowling alley.

Erin says Mateo more easily brushed such things aside. “He would have to hold me back and not the other way around,” she says.

Mateo concedes, “Those things sting a little bit.”


Credit: Chad Nelson, KARE
Chef Mateo Mackbee in the kitchen at Krewe restaurant in St. Joseph, Minnesota

Still, the experience taught the restaurateurs they could thrive outside the city.

Mateo took advantage of the rural setting to realize a dream: growing his own ingredients on a farm and busing in school children to learn about the origins of their food.

But nothing could have prepared Mateo and Erin for what happened four days before the opening of their St. Joseph restaurant, when George Floyd died under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, followed by rioting, arson fires and looting in neighborhoods familiar to Erin and Mateo back home.

“Our first instinct was to try to rush to the city to try to find ways we could help,” Mateo says.


Credit: Chad Nelson, KARE
Mateo Mackbee and Erin Lucas opened Krewe New Orleans style restaurant in St. Joseph, Minnesota in four days after the death of George Floyd.

Instead, Mateo and Erin asked for help from their new community, hosting a food drive for hard hit neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

“The response was insane,” Erin says. “We had lines circling the building. We were brand new to the area. It was just shock and joy of people wanting to help.”

Erin and Mateo delivered two trailers of food to the Twin Cities, while feeling newly assured they had chosen the right community in which to open their new restaurant.

“It showed that the compassion we feel collectively was also here in the community,” Mateo says.

Those feelings have only been strengthened as their customer base has grown.

“The food is phenomenal,” says Bob Johnson, who drove from St. Cloud for lunch at Krewe with his family.

The Johnsons have paid at least half-a-dozen visits as they work their way through Mateo and Erin’s menu.

“I hope they stay,” Bob says.


Credit: Chad Nelson, KARE
Erin Lucas displays a card given to her by her boyfriend Mateo Mackbee upon the opening of their restaurant and bakery

Business has been brisk at the bakery too, with more than 100 cake and pie orders filled for Easter.

“I think it’s the most perfect fit for what we’re trying to accomplish,” Erin says.

What they’re trying to accomplish played out in the Krewe dining room on a recent Friday, when Jesse Ross, who is Black, drove with his wife from Minneapolis to have lunch at Krewe.

Jesse, an old friend of Mateo’s, says he’s used to keeping his guard up when he drives into rural Minnesota. “I don’t know where I’m going, if I’m welcome, who I’m going to run into and being able to walk into a place like this – this is home,” he says.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that this dream of mine, this restaurant, would ever be in a community this small, this white, this Catholic, this Lutheran,” Mateo laughs. “But these people told us they wanted this, so that’s why we’re here.”


 Boyd Huppert


Preferred Concept for Bde Maka Ska Pavilion Site – Minneapolis, MN

Preferred Concept for Bde Maka Ska Pavilion Site – Minneapolis, MN

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) published a single preferred site concept to replace the Bde Maka Ska pavilion that burned down in 2019. Visit link to view the concept: Bde Maka Ska Pavilion Site Concept

The preferred concept published represents many design features from previously published concept options and is responsive to significant public feedback received over the last several months. Read the “Background” header below for more details on the design process.

Public Hearing

A public hearing on the concept is scheduled Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at 6:30 pm. To minimize the risk of exposure to or potential spread of COVID-19, the MPRB added options to submit comments for its virtual public meetings and hearings, authorized under Minn. Stat. Section 13D.02.

Most Commissioners call in to Board meetings, which are broadcast live via webcast and TV and also posted on YouTube.

There are two options to submit Public Hearing comments:

Phone (recommended)

  • To sign up, complete the Virtual Speaker Sign Up Form by 12 pm on May 5.
  • Speakers will receive a conference call-in number and ID one hour before the meeting
  • Use the number and ID to call into the meeting at its the scheduled time
  • After you enter the meeting, the committee chair will provide guidance for commenting
  • Speakers can watch the live meeting broadcast
  • Be aware there is a 20- to 30-second lag between the call and the broadcast
  • When you are called on to speak, please remember turn off the sound from the broadcast


Send your comment to by 12 pm on May 5.


The former Bde Maka Ska concessions pavilion, also called a “refectory,” was built in 1930. It was engulfed in flames on May 16, 2019 and torn down 12 days later. The MPRB paved over the site to provide a temporary gathering space at the popular northeastern corner of the lake and installed electrical hookups for pavilion vendor Lola’s to operate food trucks.

The Bde Maka Ska-Harriet Master Plan, approved in 2017, provided guidance for the pavilion site improvements. The concepts were designed by a team led by Cuningham after working with MPRB staff and numerous stakeholders over the past several months.

Two concepts were published for public comment on March 11, 2021. Public feedback was taken via online survey, email and social media through April 1, 2021. In addition, MPRB staff held three public online Open House events in March. Follow the link below to read questions and answers from the Open Houses:

Open House Notes

Timeline and Funding

MPRB Commissioners on the Planning Committee will consider the concept after the public hearing on May 5. If the concept is approved by the Planning Committee, it will be up for consideration by the full Board of Commissioners at a future meeting, likely at the next scheduled Board meeting May 19. Construction is expected in 2022 with concessions resuming for the 2023 season.

The cost estimate and proposed funding sources for the concept published today will be presented to the Planning Committee on May 5. Potential funding sources include insurance compensation, regional park improvement funding and additional options being explored by MPRB staff. Please visit the Bde Maka Ska Refectory Rebuild project page and enter you email address into the box under “Subscribe to Email Updates” to stay informed and up-to-date on this project. Also, share the project page with anyone who may be interested using the link

Open Since 1950, Paul Bunyan Land Has Delighted Generations Of Minnesotans

Open Since 1950, Paul Bunyan Land Has Delighted Generations Of Minnesotans

photo: @graciegirltravelsmural created by: @impulse_creative 

More Paul? Take a shot in front of the Paul & Babe when in St. Louis Park, MN at Sota Clothing 

Paul Bunyan Land: If you spent your childhood in Minnesota, chances are you’ve been to at least some of its amusement parks. Valley Fair is the largest and most modern, with its high-flying towers and lightning-fast roller coasters. But there are some other, more low-key amusement park destinations that have stood the test of time for far longer. One favorite, which has been delighting generations of Minnesotans since 1950, is Paul Bunyan Land. This northern Minnesota attraction, themed after Minnesota’s favorite tall-tale hero, is a nostalgic spot that takes older generations back in time and provides newer generations with old-timey thrills. Read on below to learn about this Minnesota landmark!
Paul Bunyan Land is an amusement park in Brainerd, Minnesota. It covers 180 acres, making it one of the largest parks of its kind in northern Minnesota. Many guests travel from miles around to visit.

Have you ever been to Paul Bunyan Land? What’s your favorite memory of visiting? For more information about the park, check out their website and Facebook page. And if you’re curious about another Minnesota theme park from yesteryear, check out our past article about the former Excelsior Amusement Park.

We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
Twin Cities Farmers Markets Are Opening Soon for Spring 2021

Twin Cities Farmers Markets Are Opening Soon for Spring 2021

Minneapolis Farmers Market – Flickr/JPELLEN (@1179_JP)
Check out 30-plus metro markets for locally sourced produce throughout the week, starting now!
Minnestota Monthly: With the warmer weather comes farmers-market season. This summer, support local growers around the Twin Cities as open-air markets welcome new and longtime vendors. Expect to find fresh produce, baked goods, flowers, and more.

Farmers Markets in Minneapolis


Audubon Mini Farmers Market

4 – 7 p.m., Thursdays, June 10 – September 30
2654 Johnson St. NE, Minneapolis

Northeast Minneapolis puts out produce, jams, cheese, and more in the Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church parking lot.


Camden Farmers Market

10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Saturdays, June 5 – August 28
4150 N. Dupont Ave., Minneapolis

With a new location this year, this North Minneapolis market is popping up at Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church for a 12-week season.


East Isles Farmers Market 

4 p.m. – 8 p.m., Thursdays, June 24 – September 23
1420 The Mall, Minneapolis (between Humboldt and Irving Avenues in Uptown)

Check out their Pickle Booth, which is where anyone in the community can become a vendor and sell their goods (which don’t have to be pickles; the name is based on the Minnesota Cottage Food Law, formerly called the Pickle Bill). Vendors also sell produce, baked goods, and more.


Farmers Market Annex 

7 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, April 24 – October 31
200 E. Lyndale Ave. N., Minneapolis

Visit rain or shine to buy local produce, crafts, and fresh-made food at one of the largest open-air farmers markets in Minnesota.


Four Sisters Farmers Market

11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Thursdays, June – October 28
1414 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis

This Indigenous-centered food market goes hyper local, with vendors from the Phillips and surrounding neighborhoods, as part of a Native American

Community Development Institute program.


Fulton Farmers Market

8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturdays, May 15 – October 23
4901 Chowen Ave. S., Minneapolis

Find heirloom veggies, baked foods, weekly programming, and more in the Fulton neighborhood.


Kingfield Farmers Market

8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m, Sundays, May 17 – October 25
39th St. & Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis

With over 40 vendors, ranging from farmers to wood-fired pizza makers to artisan crafters, there is something for everyone at this Kingfield spot.


Linden Hills Farmers Market

Schedule is TBD

This south Minneapolis market is still working out whether it will be online only with curbside pickup, according to an April 19 press release from the Farmers Markets of Minneapolis. Shop online here.


Midtown Farmers Market

8 a.m. – 1 p.m, Saturdays, May 1 – October 30
3032 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis

Selling fresh produce and crafts, this market in south Minneapolis is located at Moon Palace Books.


Mill City Farmers Market

8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturdays, May 1 – October 30
750 S. Second St., Minneapolis

Next to the Guthrie, this market has a community-supporting charitable fund (which supports educational and food-access programming) and a variety of local vendors, from fresh food to body care.


Municipal Minneapolis Farmers Market

6 a.m. – 1 p.m., every day, May 1 – October 31
312 E. Lyndale Ave. N., Minneapolis

The member-based nonprofit Central Minnesota Vegetable Growers Association allows local members to distribute their fruit, vegetables and farmstead products at this market, daily.


Nicollet Mall Farmers Market

Time TBD, Thursdays, June 4 – October 29
312 E. Lyndale Ave. N., Minneapolis

This Minneapolis market has become known as a reason to descend from the skyways during your downtown lunch break.


Nokomis Farmers Market

4 – 8 p.m., Wednesdays, June 16 – September 29
5167 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis

Enjoy summer evenings shopping and listening to music with friends and family to support the local businesses.


Northeast Farmers Market

9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturdays, May 15 – October 16
629 Second St. NE, Minneapolis

Meander through the market and shop for fresh produce, specialty and prepared foods, baked goods, and more in Northeast.


Plant Based Pop-Up Market

11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Sundays, April 25 (check Facebook for updates)
1729 N. Second St., Minneapolis

As you can guess by the name, this bi-weekly farmers market is all vegan, featuring players in our local plant-based world.


Stevens Square Farmers’ Market

2 – 6 p.m., Wednesdays, June 30 – October 13
1900 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis

This market south of the Loring Park neighborhood rings in a new season next to the Stevens Square Community Organization.


Tiny Diner Farmers’ Market

Thursdays, time and schedule are TBD
1024 E. 38th St., Minneapolis

The farmers market near the Tiny Diner restaurant in south Minneapolis is set to return, according to the Farmers Markets of Minneapolis press release.


Untiedt’s Garden Market

11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Mondays – Saturdays; 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sundays; dates are TBD
3711 W. 44th St. and 6024 Penn Ave. S., Minneapolis

Untiedt’s offers flowers and produce throughout the metro, with their Minneapolis market location gearing up to open.


West Broadway Farmers Market

3 – 7 p.m., Fridays, June 18 – October 1
2034 West Broadway Ave. N., Minneapolis

After cancelling in 2020, West Broadway is reopening to sell local goods to the community.


Farmers Markets in St. Paul


St. Paul Farmers Market (Downtown St. Paul, plus other locations)

7 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturdays, April 24 – October 30; 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Sundays, April 25 – October 31
290 Fifth St. E., St. Paul

The St. Paul Farmers Market has 19 different locations, which include suburbs like Apple Valley, Burnsville, and Rosemount, and which run on various dates Tuesday through Sunday, May through October. Among the first markets to kick things off is St. Paul’s main weekend event downtown, where you’ll find produce, baked goods, and more in a shaded spot starting on April 24.


7th Place Mall

10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, June 15 – October 14
27 W. Seventh Place, St. Paul

From an experienced grower to you, get fresh produce and flowers while supporting the community.


Hmongtown Marketplace 

9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Daily, June – October
217 Como Ave., St. Paul

Visit the market that hosts over 100 vendors who sell food, beauty products, and more.


Securian Farmers Market

10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Wednesdays, June 30 – October 13
400 N. Robert St., St. Paul

Peruse local produce from a grower near you mid-week to take a break from your busy work life in downtown St. Paul.



Farmers Markets in the Suburbs


Andover Farmers Market

2 – 6 p.m., Tuesdays, May 4 – October 26
41 Central St., Andover

At Grace Lutheran Church, find honey, hot sauce, flowers, farm goods, and more.


Apple Valley Farmers Market

8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturdays, June 5 – October 30
7100 147th St. W., Apple Valley

A variety of goods—including honey, cut flower bouquets, and specialty items, along with produce—awaits near City Hall.


Burnsville Farmers Market

8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturdays, June 12 – October 30
200 W. Burnsville Parkway, Burnsville

Farmer-to-consumer items at Burnsville Senior Campus.


Inver Grove Heights 

8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Sundays, June 20 – October 17
8055 Barbara Ave. E., Inver Grove Heights

Enjoy summer activities and buy locally sourced produce in the parking lot of the Veterans Memorial Community Center.


Lakeville Farmers Market

Noon – 5 p.m., Wednesdays, June 9 – October 27
20851 Holyoke Ave., Lakeville

Head downtown for an assortment of locally grown produce, meats, jams, and more.


Rosemount Farmers Market

1 – 5 p.m., Tuesdays, June 15 – September 28
13885 S. Robert Trail, Rosemount

Find fresh produce in the Community Center parking lot.


Roseville Farmers Market

8 a.m. – 12 p.m., Tuesdays, May 4 – October 26
2131 Fairview Ave. N., Roseville

Shop vendors that sell a variety of produce along with honey, cheese, baked goods, and more.


Savage Farmers Market

8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Sundays, June 6 – October 31
4800 W. 123rd St., Savage

Located off Highway 13 near the historic train depot.


Vadnais Heights Farmers Market

2 – 6 p.m., Wednesdays, June 16 – October 13
3585 US-61, Vadnais Heights

With 30 selling spaces, the Vadnais Heights market’s offerings run the gamut.


Woodbury Farmers Market

8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Sundays, June 6 – October 31
2100 Radio Drive, Woodbury

Local growers and producers come together to offer a selection of produce, baked foods, flowers, and more.

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