Named after the book of Mayan creation (which translates to “book of the people”), Popol Vuh and its fast-casual counterpart Centro at Popol Vuh are serving up fresh and complex Mexican dishes in the heart of Northeast Minneapolis.
Housed in a former factory, the adjoined restaurants share an entrance but diverge on fare and focus. Centro, a bright, festive quick-service taco bar offers fan favorites like ceviche, Nopales and pescado (fish) tacos, and colorful craft cocktails, including the Electric Bunny—a striking neon pink prickly pear caipirinha (pictured below).
Popol Vuh (pronounced poh-poh-voo), set in a more raw, industrial space is centered around a wood-fired grill and offers more refined prix fixe courses and shared plates like the sopa de salpicon (a variation of beef tartare) and tlayuda (comparable to a Mexican pizza) as well as a full menu of agave spirits and flight options. While the dishes may be more polished than your typical taquería, the menu remains approachable. “Chef Jose Alarcon’s menu is inspired by his Mexican heritage and his travels throughout the country, but he creates the dishes with a French technique,” says co-owner Jami Olson. “We don’t want to limit the experience to just those special nights out, so we’ve crafted an elevated menu as opposed to fine dining. Both are great spots for casual Tuesday night dinner.”
Popol Vuh’s 2,200 square feet can be rented for private events and a private dining space seating up to 14 makes for an ideal intimate setting for small social gatherings and business or board meetings. Those renting the private dining room can order both Centro and Popol Vuh dishes or work with restaurant staff to create custom tasting menus.