Oil and vinegar shop coming to 50th/France, but no liquor yet

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July 31, 2013
By: Nick Halter
A view of a Florida Vom Fass location
Submitted photo
Nick Halter
The German franchise allows customers to try products straight from wood casks

Vom Fass, a franchise shop that sells oils, vinegars and spices, is coming to 50th and France this fall, but owner Tamra Kramer will have to start the store without a license to sell wine and spirits.  

Vom Fass started in Germany and is quickly growing in the United States, with 10 shops open and several more on the way. The stores have a unique concept in that they allow shoppers to taste vinegars, cooking oils and spices from wooden casks. Then customers can fill themselves a bottle. Vom Fass will also offer cooking classes and lessons.

Kramer plans to open at 3825 50th Street, which is on the side of the building that houses women’s athletic clothing store Athleta. The 1,400 square-foot Vom Fass would open in October if plans go accordingly, Kramer said.

Many Vom Fass franchises sell wine, cognac, scotch, whiskey, absinthe and liqueurs.

Kramer’s architect, David Kelly, had been working with the city on a request to re-zone the property from a neighborhood commercial district (C1) to a community activity center district (C3). That would have allowed Kramer to apply for a condition use permit to sell liquor.

But because not enough surrounding properties are zoned either C2 or C3, city staff notified Kramer and Kelly that even if they were approved for a re-zoning, Vom Fass wouldn’t be able to get an off-sale liquor license.

 “I’ve decided to just commit to the space and make it happen, so I will for sure be moving forward with the oil, vinegars and spices, and keep working on the wine and spirits piece of it as I go.”

Kramer said she plans to reach out to other property owners to see if they will apply to be up-zoned. She’s joined the business association and also met with the Fulton Neighborhood Association. The association did not vote on her proposal.

“Education I think is my priority right now, making sure people understand what it is I am offering and why it is a good fit for 50th and France,” Kramer said.

Kramer opened the first Twin Cities Vom Fass in Woodbury last week, a store-in-store shop in Kowalski’s. She has an agreement to open four more shops in the southern Metro, including the one at 50th and France.