Vivir, meaning ‘to live’ in Spanish, is the latest concept from the team behind Northeast’s Centro and award-winning Popol Vuh. A modern Mexican cafe, market and bakery, Vivir will bring new life to the former Popol Vuh space, following last month’s closure due to COVID-19. With a seasonal menu of familiar Mexican small plates, there will also be grab-and-go deli items, daily breads and pastries. A retail market will feature items ranging from house-made snacks and condiments to thoughtfully-sourced home goods from both Northeast artists and Mexican artisans.

“Vivir will allow us to continue to create during a time when it feels like life is on hold,” says Jami Olson, owner and general manager of Vivir and Centro. “The name of the concept means ‘to live’ and quite literally it will let us do just that – through food, drink and hospitality. At Vivir, we’ll continue to educate our guests and bring unique experiences of Mexican culture to the Twin Cities. From our menu to one-of-a-kind market and agave tastings, Vivir will be executed with every bit of passion and determination by the team that brought Popol Vuh to the next level. It’s our new chapter in what we hope to be a very long book.”

Chef and co-owner Jose Alarcon has developed the menu for Vivir in collaboration with pastry chef Ngia Xiong. Inspired by the casual market food of Mexico,​ ​guests can look forward to seasonally rotating empanadas and verduras, as well as ceviches, salads and sandwiches. Composed Mexican small plates such as Chilaquiles, Enmoladas, Tetela and Half Chicken will feature vibrant flavors and house-made sauces. Guests can choose from all-day breakfast items and a deli counter will include bulk food by the pound. Along with freshly baked sourdough and wheat bread, traditionally-inspired pastries such as conchas, cemitas and polvorones will be available for purchase from a new bakery case.

A continued focus on Mexican wines and agave spirits will be prevalent with agave-expert Todd Mulhair leading reservation-only tastings and classes for up to 14 guests. A limited menu of shaken and tap cocktails will be offered at lunch and dinner including versions of the well-known drink, Carajillo, a spiked espresso cocktail. Additionally, guests can enjoy traditional Mexican cocoa-bean based drinks, known for their dry and nutty taste. Signature cocktail kits will be available for take-out as well as Mexican Coke and a selection of agua frescas.

Vivir’s marketplace will highlight a rotating assortment of artisan goods as well as grab-and-go food items. Thoughtfully curated by Vivir’s staff, guests can shop pottery, greeting cards, cookbooks and kitchen items from highlighted Northeast Minneapolis artists. Additionally, a

 number of Mexican textiles, snacks and salts have been imported. House-made salsas and sauces will be available for purchase by the pint along with candied nuts and snacks.

Shea Design​ has been brought in to reimagine the space. Light and natural paints and woods will give Vivir a raw and organic vibe. Birchwood accents and Mexican-inspired patterns will create a revived and earthy feel. Guests will enter Vivir through a new front door on NE 15th Ave, now separate from Centro, where they can place counter-service orders from a rotating menu board, dine at a selection of 38 low and high-top seats and browse the retail market. A new patio with 40 seats will line Quincy Street to accommodate outdoor diners.

Vivir will open this fall, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sundays from 8am – 9pm, with dine-in, curbside takeout and online ordering options available.

Industry News, NextGen Casual