The area of permitted beer and wine consumption around Lake Harriet may soon be expanded to include the bandshell seating area.
The city is reviewing an application from Bread and Pickle, the restaurant at the bandshell, that would expand the area customers can take beer and wine beyond the patio spaces surrounding the restaurant. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has given its blessing on the application, according to permits manager Shane Stenzel.
Bread and Pickle, owned by Southwest restaurateur Kim Bartmann, has sought to allow beer and wine to be brought to the seating areas around the bandshell since it started serving alcohol, Stenzel said. The Park Board was concerned about litter and disruption at the time and said no, but in the years since has become more receptive to the idea of people bringing drinks farther from the restaurant.
“Turns out it’s not an issue,” Stenzel said.
If approved, Bread and Pickle would need to move back existing signage to the new boundaries and ensure the area where alcohol can be brought is free of litter.
Bartmann said Bread and Pickle has had temporary permits over the years to expand the alcohol carry area to the bandshell without issues. When they ask customers to not carry beer or wine to the bandshell, the general response is “what?”, she said. Park Board alcohol rules have relaxed over the years, Bartmann said. One year they had to sell food with any beer and wine, she recalled.
“We sold a lot of popcorn that year,” she said.
With relaxed liquor requirements at neighborhood restaurants being approved in the 2018 election, Bread and Pickle considered applying for a liquor license, Bartmann said, but decided against it. If approved, she hopes to be expand the alcohol area by the Fourth of July.
Stenzel said MPRB staff and Park Police Chief Jason Otto had reported no issues with alcohol at Lake Harriet and were fine with the area being expanded.
The authority or liquor licenses falls under the city, which is hosting a public hearing on the application at 1:30 p.m. on June 11. City staff have recommended approving the application, according to an inspection report.
Council Member Linea Palmisano (Ward 13) said the beer and wine area is tightly controlled now and that it should be allowed to expand.
“They’ve been good operators,” she said. “They do way better at litter control than we do at the MPRB. I’m excited that we’re going to have an even tidier bandshell area. There’s a lot of public benefit to it all.”
Bartmann said it has been a good year for business so far for Bread & Pickle. Unfortunately, she said, some of that is likely due to the fire that destroyed the pavilion that hosted Lola on the Lake at Bde Maka Ska.
Palmisano expects Bread and Pickle will be busier overall this summer after the fire. She’s considering herself a potential new beer consumer there.
“I’ve never actually had a beer at Bread and Pickle because you have to sit in that annoying other area,” Palmisano said. “I might now.”
The City Council is set to vote on the application on June 21.
Zac Farber contributed reporting to this story.