Business Buzz

Lagoon & Hennepin

Just months after Pickled Parrot's 1400 Lagoon Ave. location opened in late September, it closed in January for six weeks so staff can transform the business into a Caribbean restaurant.

Management originally said the new restaurant would be called Kokomo's, but plans have since changed and the restaurant's new name is Bilimbi Bay. It is scheduled to reopen in early March.

Famous Investments, co-owned by Famous Dave's owner Dave Anderson, bought all three Pickled Parrot locations in November and is transforming them into Caribbean eateries.

The new Caribbean-themed restaurant is described by management as more upscale than the Pickled Parrot, with a South Beach or Miami flare.

For more information on the new restaurant, visit www.bilimbibay.com.

Lake & Hennepin

City Councilmember Dan Niziolek (10th Ward) confirmed that there is a purchase agreement in place for Calhoun Square, 3001 Hennepin Ave. S. It will be sold to North American Properties in Eden Prairie.

Owner Ray Harris has been exploring options for the future of the shopping Mecca for months. No one from North American Properties office returned calls by Southwest Journal's deadline.

Mary Lilja, spokesperson for Calhoun Square, would neither confirm nor deny reports of a sale agreement for Calhoun Square. "All I can tell you is no final decisions have been reached," she said.

Lake & Girard

The long-awaited Tonic of Uptown restaurant is now scheduled to open in mid-March in the newly renovated, 1402 W. Lake St. building that once housed Lakeland Medical and Dental Academy.

Premier Restaurant Management created the restaurant. Although Premier owns Major's and Spectator's sports cafes in southern-tier suburbs, they have dumped the sports theme for a casual, yet trendy Uptown hot spot.

Premeir's Director of Marketing, Marie Huss, described the food as "new American cuisine," featuring American food with an international twist.

Huss said the menu is unique, with group platters and a prepare-your-own-entr/e menu option called "Tonic stones," where a customer's selected meat is brought to them on stones heated between 400 and 500 degrees, then used to prepare their entr/e.

The three-story building serves as a multi-use facility, with the first floor featuring a bar and dining area. A staircase leads to the second floor, containing a dining and lounge area, which will feature local DJs. The third floor has a rooftop patio with a view of downtown and a banquet room. Huss added all components of the facility are available for event rental.

The building has a rich history; in the early 1900s, it served as a movie theater and dance hall and covered the current McDonald's parking lot. A restaurant spokesperson said historic aspects would be preserved.

Hours are 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily, and valet parking is available in addition to area lots and ramps.

The banquet room will only be available during valet hours, from 6 p.m.-2 a.m.

Restaurant partner Bob Carlson said the arrangement is the result of a deal struck with the city, so the facility could meet their parking requirements for their liquor license.

Carlson added he doesn't think finding parking will be an issue.

For more information about the restaurant or event capabilities, call 824-8898.

Lake & Emerson

Keep in Touch Massage Center, 1221 W. Lake St., opened Feb. 6, marking the first retail business to open in the new Uptown Row Commercial building. Uptown Row will soon house tenants including Planet Beach, a tanning salon and Beauty First, a hair salon and product retailer.

Robin Stubblefield, Keep in Touch's managing partner and Armatage resident, said they had set to open in January, but building delays pushed back their opening.

Keep In Touch specializes varying types of massage, including sports massage, myofascial, pre/postnatal, reflexology, seated-chair, Swedish, and trigger/pressure point massage techniques. Massage sessions go from 30 minutes to two hours. They will also come to businesses or events.

Keep In Touch started in Burnsville but has since spread throughout the southern suburbs; the Uptown franchise is their fifth store.

Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday from noon-6 p.m.

For more information, see www.keepintouchmassage.net or call 871-3330.

Lyn-Lake

The City Council amended an ordinance Feb. 13 permitting the sale of growlers -- 64-ounce mini-kegs -- for Southwest establishments such as Herkimer Pub, 2922 Lyndale Ave. S.

The state passed a law last summer permitting bars serving as breweries to sell the refrigerator-friendly growlers, but a city ordinance limited some businesses' ability to sell them.

Herkimer owner Chad Jamrozy said his business could not sell growlers because city law restricted off-sale malt liquor sales within 2,000 feet of another off-sale location. "I've got 800 growlers ready for beer," he said.

Jamrozy plans to commence growler sales soon. He said all of Herkimer's beers will be available in growler form but only available during regulated liquor store hours.

50th & Penn

J. Pierce White Oak Gallery, which was at West 50th Street and France Avenue for the past 10 years, relocated to 50th and Penn Avenue on Feb. 1.

The 2313 W. 50th St. gallery features local and regional artists' original oils and watercolors, ranging from abstract work to realism. In addition, internationally recognized artists such as John Darling Haynes, who does whimsical oils, and the late Israeli artist David Schneuer, whose mixed-media art captures Weimar caf/ society in Europe between the two World Wars, are available.

Jeff Pierce, gallery owner, said he moved his business to be little more quirky, independent and less commercial.

"My gallery is not a chain," said Pierce. "But it was beginning to look like one since it was surrounded by Christopher and Banks, Talbot's, Dana's and Banana Republic, which is the same retail mix as Southdale."

While he plans to extend his hours when the warm weather returns, the gallery is currently open Tuesday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., or by appointment. The phone number is 922-3575.