Business buzz

Business related issues going on in and around Southwest Minneapolis

Franklin & Hennepin The Auriga upscale restaurant, located at 1930 Hennepin Ave. S., is restriping its parking lot to qualify for a full liquor license, an upgrade from their current wine and beer license. The city’s Planning Commission approved the Lowry Hill restaurant’s application Sept. 22.

Co-owner Scott Davis said to comply with full liquor license requirements, his restaurant also had to remove one parking space and turn it into greenscape with landscaping. — Robyn Repya

24th & Nicollet "Yummy" is the name of a new Chinese restaurant at 2450 Nicollet Ave. Louis Tong opened the Catonese-style restaurant Sept. 26. Seating 120, it features rock walls and lots of windows. Seafood is Yummy’s specialty. A large blue tank holding live lobsters, crabs and fish is in plain view of patrons who can pick their own meal.

Tong said most of the Chinese living in Minneapolis are Catonese, and he said his authentic cuisine will favor their palate instead of the Americanized takeout version. Roast chicken, ducks and pork are also on the menu.

Tong will have a beer and wine license and will open to at least 2 a.m. nightly.

Yummy’s phone number is 870-8000. — Bob Gilbert

Lake & Excelsior The St. Paul/Eden Prairie restaurant Neapolitan Punch Pizza will open a location in late November in the Cedar-Isles-Dean neighborhood where the Sri Lanka Restaurant used to be, 3226 W. Lake St. in the Calhoun Village shopping area.

Co-owner John Puckett said his pizza is different than what Americans are used to. "We make pizza just like they do in Naples, Italy," he said. "Americans have gotten so used to a low, quality-cheese-laden product."

The pizzas in Naples, Puckett explained, are light and served as a first course, not an entre. He said they bring in tomatoes from Naples to get the perfect sauce consistency and cook the pizzas in a wood burning store set at 800 degrees for 90 seconds — just long enough to sear the crust and leave a soft inside.

Puckett said the name Punch comes from the English translation of an Italian association that works to preserve the art of Neapolitan pizza-making in Naples.

Puckett said in addition to imported ingredients, the restaurant would serve wine and beer from Naples. He said construction started on the space in September, and it will suit more of the lunch and dinner crowd, with customers ordering at the counter and watching their pizzas being made. — Robyn Repya

38th & Grand There are changes afoot at the Bakery on Grand, 3804 Grand Ave. The Kingfield gourmet neighborhood eatery is adding two rooms and received a wine and beer license this summer.

One new room is already finished and is set for a private group dining; the other room, still under construction, will accommodate 30 people and be reserved for a more formal dining experience. The formal room is set to be finished in mid-October.

Owner Doug Anderson said the rooms can be rented by groups, but the pricing will depend on the menu chosen and could range from $25 to $90 a head.

Anderson said another major change is the September hire of a general manager, Lorenzo Cherubini, the former general manager at all three Giorgio’s restaurant locations for more than 10 years.

Anderson said that in addition to bringing on an experienced general manager, he has hired guest chefs from now-defunct downtown restaurants, such as Un, Deux, Trois and Aquavit. — Robyn Repya

50th & WashburnRLinda Getchell’s gift shop and antiques store, 5012 Xerxes Ave. S., has moved one block east to 3018 W. 50th St. and changed its name to Shop in the City. The store will celebrate with a grand opening Oct. 23.

Getchell’s son and company spokesperson, Jake Sanders, said of the name change, "As a family, we thought it made sense, since we already had a store [named Shop in the City] at 48th and Chicago, to put it under one umbrella."

Getchell’s had been at 50th and Xerxes for 22 years.

Sanders described the store as "a modern-day, mini-specialty department store. You can go in there and find a gift for your mom, your sister, your brother, your friend," he said.

Sanders said the new Shop in the City is "going to be similar but different" from the one-year-old store at 4737 Chicago Ave.

"The premise of both of the stores is that it’s a neighborhood-relationship-based store. That’s been my mom’s motto and kind of credo over the last 22 years," he said.

Complimentary gourmet foods and beverages will be given out on Oct. 23 at the new location, and customers will get 20 percent off all products. Shop in the City also gives its customers complimentary giftwrap.

Store hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. You can call 922-6222 for more information. — Michael Metzger

54th & Nicollet The Keys Express store, 5456 Nicollet Ave., closed at the end of August. Building owner and Phil’s Barbershop owner Phillip Nelson, said the key store’s owner couldn’t afford the rent.

Nelson said he’s received calls from interested parties. "I’ve gotten a lot of calls, but no takers," he said.

While Nelson said he doesn’t have a particular business in mind for the space, he said he would not rent to businesses involved in selling liquor or tobacco. — Robyn Repya

Vacant space: Lagoon & Hennepin There is vacant office space available for a funky dentist at 2908 Hennepin Ave. The 2,200-square-foot East Isles office has been vacant for a couple of years, said Chad Anvary of Welsh Companies, the firm trying to lease the space.

"It’s a tough market for office space, but it’s the only vacancy we’ve got," Anvary said. "You can’t be 100 percent occupied the whole time."

He said the space would be perfect for "an office-user — chiropractor, dentist, general office, anything. [It’s a] typical office building, but a lot of the buildouts are very funky. They have the exposed ceiling — a unique space."

You can call 952-897-7719 for more information. — Michael Metzger