Business Buzz

24th & Hennepin

Uptown’s National Karate School, 2409 Hennepin Ave. S., closed the end of January, rerouting students to their other Twin Cities locations, primarily the Tangletown location at 4608 Nicollet Ave. S.

School Director Jeff Sidner said the Hennepin Avenue location had been doing poorly for a while. He said students had a tough time finding the studio and a place to park. "We haven’t given up on that area, we’re just doing without it for now," Sidner said.

The school teaches all different levels of karate and self-defense techniques. For more information, visit

Hennepin & Lagoon

Two Wayzata brothers are opening Burrito Loco in early April at 1400 Lagoon Ave.

Co-owner John Pillsbury said Burrito Loco is a lot like the Chipotle franchise but with a few specialties. He said he and his brother Greg will offer a unique buffalo chicken burrito and one with a spicy jalapeno cheese. The store will also offer delivery — for orders of $7 and up, and Pillsbury hopes to have late-night hours for the bar crowd.

Pillsbury said hours would initially be 11 a.m.-1 a.m. seven days a week, but Burrito Loco has submitted an application to the city to extend Thursday-Saturday hours until 3 a.m., contingent on zoning approval.

For more information about Burrito Loco, visit

43rd & Sheridan

A new consignment store recently opened in Linden Hills. The Mix, 2728 W. 43rd St., features men’s and women’s vintage clothes, furniture, jewelry, candy, jellies, furnishings, postcards, blankets and more, said a spokesperson.

The Mix is currently operating on "winter hours" — open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, but plans to expand hours by April. The spokesperson would not specify current hours.

To find out more, call 922-9995.

Calhoun Village

The Uptown Diner’s owners opened the Calhoun Grill March 8 at 3220 W. Lake St., the space formerly housing La Toscana Ristorante. LaToscana closed Nov. 22.

Jim Sipperll, a spokesperson and CFO for Grand Avenue Restaurant, Inc. — which runs Calhoun Grill — said his group waited to start the new restaurant venture until the Uptown Diner settled into its new 26th & Hennepin location, where it moved in October.

Sipprell said the Calhoun Grill’s menu is identical to that of the Uptown Diner’s.

Calhoun Grill hours are Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. For more information, call the restaurant at 455-1250.


The Garden of Eden, 1418 W. Lake St., known for their luxurious lotions, perfumes and bath essentials, closed their Uptown location March 7, after more than 20 years, when their lease expired.

Linda Kleinbaum, whose family owns the business, said she’s not leaving for financial reasons. Business was great, but when the lease expired, the landlord decided he wanted another tenant — Cold Stone Creamery — for the space. "We didn’t want to leave," she said.

A Cold Stone Creamery representative confirmed the new store’s location and projected a late spring opening.

Said Kleinbaum, "The neighborhood is changing, and we’re just not changing with it," referencing the new, late-night restaurants and bars moving in. "It’s becoming a night life and entertainment area, and we’re not even open then."

Kleinbaum said the family’s Edina Galleria and Grand Avenue location in St. Paul would remain open. They are looking for a new third location. For more information about Garden of Eden, visit

For more information about Cold Stone Creamery, visit


The owners of the Uptown landmark Calhoun Square, 3001 Hennepin Ave. S., entered a purchase agreement in early March to sell the center to North American Properties (NAP), a Cincinnati-based real estate firm with an Eden Prairie office.

The new owners may add residential lofts to the center and say they will add three floors to the adjacent parking ramp.

Ray Harris, one of Calhoun Square’s creators and owners, said the purchase agreement is for approximately $30 million but that the deal is still being finalized. NAP has 60 days to finalize the deal, during which time they will meet with the community and seek approvals for possible changes, he said.

Harris said he also sold a Hennepin Avenue vacant lot to the east, formerly home to a Taco Bell and the building strip connected to the center, and a building currently housing Orr Books, 3043 Hennepin Ave. S. and the Lotus Restaurant, 3037 Hennepin Ave. S.

Harris said Calhoun Square has been open for 20 years and the building’s tax benefits for him and his partners have run out.

Steve Johnson, NAP’s director of development, said the company plans to keep the first-floor retail and continue developing the second floor as office space.

Johnson said NAP may add residential lofts to the center, but no decision has been made.

38th & Grand

Kingfield’s popular Cuban breakfast/lunch spot, Victor’s 1959 Cafe, 3756 Grand Ave. S., closed Feb. 2 for two months of renovations to its kitchen and serving area but will reopen in early April.

Co-owner Nikki Valens said that by creating more working space for staff, Victor’s would add a dinner menu by summer.

Nikki Valens said April 5 marks the restaurant’s fifth year in operation. She said she and husband/co-owner Victor Valens purchased the restaurant’s property one year ago and decided as owners that they wanted to improve the site.

Nikki Valens said the renovations started out as a small project, but due to city requirements, ballooned and will be done in two phases.

The kitchen-and-seating phase is costing the Valenses $117,000. She said phase two of the renovations would start next year, and will redo the bathroom and make the entrance handicapped-accessible. The couple also plans to add green space to the asphalt-laden frontage. Nikki Valens said the dining room will not be altered.

38th & Nicollet

In early February, Hong Min Chu opened a new Chinese take-out and delivery business in Kingfield, called Hong’s Kitchen, 3752 Nicollet Ave. S. The space was formerly occupied by a Domino’s Pizza franchise.

The new business features traditional Chinese dishes such as General Tso’s Chicken, Mongolian Beef and noodle soup, in addition to spicy Szechwan entrees. Hong’s only offers take-out, or delivery for-orders exceeding $20.

Hong’s hours are Monday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. For more information, call 827-2322 or fax 827-5032 for a menu.

Business Buzz

19th & 2nd Avenue

The Boiler Room Cafe, located on the garden level at the Castleton Building at 220 E. 19th St., received its requisite city permits and will open this spring. The Stevens Square neighborhood coffee shop is located in an 80-year-old brownstone that is on the historical preservation list. It was once occupied by a grocery but has been vacant for almost 20 years.

Owner Anne Mayers, a Tangletown resident, is planning to have sidewalk seating, serve light breakfast, soup and sandwiches for lunch, upscale baked goods and Sebastian Joe’s ice cream in addition to coffee and espresso drinks. She is hoping to eventually have music.

"There is no down side to opening a coffee shop," Mayer said. "I think it is going to be a terrific addition to the neighborhood."

26th & Lyndale

Bob’s Java Hut owner Bob Petersen is making big changes for the popular 2651 Lyndale Ave. S. biker hangout. He said Bob’s has begun serving deli style food, following a $50,000 kitchen and basement renovation.

Bob’s now serves breakfast lunch and dinner, all made in-house, with a large menu, including everything from eggs to salads, sandwiches and soups.

Food is served at Bob’s between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.

27th & Colfax

Wedge resident Shayne Barsness is turning her passion for refurbishing home accessories found during dumpster diving into a business called Style Minneapolis at 1016 W. 27th St.

The interior stylist said when she bought her home in the Wedge, she furnished it using forsaken objects such as furniture or mirrors found dumpster diving or at area thrift stores. Barsness said her work got such rave reviews from friends, so she decided to make a business, scheduled to open Thursday, March 11.

Barsness said refurbished pieces are inexpensive, but reflect the time and money she’s put in. Handmade pillows and blankets will also be available.

Because she’s working out of a studio, Barsness said her business wouldn’t keep regular retail store hours. She plans to have one weekend sale per month, then otherwise by appointment.

Her first sale will be March 11-13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, call 377-3331.

28th & Lyndale

Wazobia, 2817 Lyndale Ave. S., opened on March 1, serving authentic Nigerian food. Owner Wilson Coker and Temitote Ogundeji, both Nigerian natives, offer a menu that includes: jollof rice with chicken, fish or beef; fried plantain; asaro (yam porridge) cooked in tomato sauce; egusi soup (watermelon seed cooked in tomato sauce); and ogbono apon (dried mango seed, ground and cooked with dried fish and spices).

Lunches cost about $7.50 and dinners $10.50. Coker and Ogundeji may apply for a beer and wine license.

Wazobia’s hours are 10 a.m.-10p.m. Monday through Thursday; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m; and Sunday noon-8 p.m. Their phone number is 874-0211.


The Independent, 3001 Hennepin Ave. S., is opening a patio in March, in addition to adding lunch service.

The Independent is an American bistro, specializing in homemade food and creative cocktails. The restaurant, on Calhoun Square’s second floor, serves a variety of steak and seafood dishes, but it also has items available for vegetarians and vegans.

The new patio porch overlooks the Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street intersection and, for colder days, will be heated. Owner James Nelson said the heaters work well, adding when the restaurant first opened, they used the porch a few times in mid-December.

Regular hours will be Monday-Friday 3 p.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday hours are 10 a.m.-2 a.m., with brunch in addition to the normal menu. For more information, check out


Southwest’s only dedicated cyber and gamer caf/, The Loading Zone, 3008 Lyndale Ave. S., closed in mid-February, due to lack of profits and regular clientele.

The CARAG neighborhood business provided computer access on 20 high-performance gaming workstations for $6 an hour. They also had one graphics workstation and a coffee and tea bar.

Owners Jason Cohen and Ryan Bloch, both under 25, started the business in May 2002.

Cohen said the business struggled when more people could afford high-speed Internet access.

Cohen said the tech-savvy pair is going back to focusing their full efforts on their network and computer support company called Fourth Dimension. For more information about that business, visit

Excelsior & Abbott

The Clean ‘n’ Press at 3120 Excelsior Blvd., connected to the Jiffy Lube Express shop, moved in January just a few blocks away into St. Louis Park’s new Excelsior and Grand development, 4716 Excelsior Blvd.

Store management said the move was part of their business plan.

Before moving to Southwest a few years ago, the store was run out of a St. Louis Park liquor store. Management said they moved to the Southwest location only temporarily, awaiting the completion of their retail space at Excelsior and Grand.

54th & Nicollet

The building at 5 W. Diamond Lake Rd. in the Windom neighborhood has sat vacant for a long time but will soon be revived as a children’s bookstore called Auntie Em’s, set to open in early April.

Windom resident Nancy Locken said she’s wanted to start a business for some time. After working 16 years in real estate for Coldwell Banker Burnet, Locken said she needed a change.

She decided on a bookstore in Windom because it’s close to home and something she could do with her 8-year-old daughter — who, along with nieces and nephews, will help pick the store’s inventory.

The bookstore will feature children’s books for preschoolers to high schoolers. The store will include a computer workstation, allowing customers to try children’s software before they buy.

The store will incorporate a gift section and coffee shop, plus a 105-gallon tropical fish tank and other animals for patrons to enjoy. Locken said the Linden Hills bookstore Wild Rumpus, 2720 W. 43rd St., inspired her getting animals.

Hours will be Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-5p.m., Sunday noon-5 p.m.