The buzz

44th & France

The owners of France 44, a liquor store at 4351 France Ave., have decided to expand their wine and spirits selection by taking over the space that currently houses Café 44, a restaurant and gourmet foods shop.

According to a statement from France 44, the expansion will allow the store to increase its wine selection, double the number of beers offered, create a new organic and biodynamic wine section, upgrade the glassware assortment, and increase space for sampling bars.

Café 44 officially closed on Dec. 10, though catering and gift basket sales and the usage of gift cards will continue. For more information, visit france44.com.

— Mary O’Regan

14th & Nicollet

The sign on the former New Dehli Bar and Restaurant building now reads India House.

The restaurant at 1400 Nicollet Ave. S. changed hands Nov. 1 and is now owned by restaurateur Joginder Cheema, who also owns Taste of India in St. Louis Park.

Samson Palkar, part-owner and manager, said India House will have a new menu focused on North Indian cuisine, with influences from other parts of the county. Not-too-spicy specialties like butter chicken and curry pakora — diced vegetables fried in chickpea batter and served with a house-made yogurt sauce — are "suitable to somebody who likes milder tastes," Palkar said.

(They’ll spice it up on request, he added.)

Palkar said they were in the process of remodeling the restaurant but planned to keep some of the New Dehli décor, like the large paintings that covered the dining room walls.

The bar, renamed Bar Nicollet, may also be remodeled for more of a "lounge" feel, he said. Bar Nicollet has live music about five nights a week.

— Dylan Thomas

48TH & Nicollet    

Minneapolis artist Jane Elias has launched a new Tangletown art studio. Dubbed Simply Jane, the new space offers customers open studio time, communal events and a recently added art gallery featuring the works of seven artists.

"You come in to have an art experience," Elias said. "You can come in with friends and bring snacks and beverages and paint all day."

Located in a corner storefront at 4801 Nicollet Ave., the studio is open to artists of all levels and offers sessions that allow customers to purchase a piece and work on it in the studio. Sessions usually cost around $20 and include instruction and professional painting materials.

Sessions are family-friendly and range in themes, from furniture to canvas to home décor. Families and customers can also build on one activity with each visit.  

Elias, prominent in the Minneapolis art scene since 1985, has decorated the studio with her signature mural style, which displays a garden theme. Besides its selection of art products, the studio features an area to paint and an area designed for planned parties.

"Parties are very popular," Elias said.  "We do kids’ parties, baby showers, women’s night out — many types."

Starting Jan. 1, Simply Jane will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesday and Friday evenings from 6–9 p.m. The studio will also be open on all Minneapolis Public Schools release days and throughout winter break. Walk-in visits are priced at $5 per person and $10 per family.

For more information, call 612-354-3961 or visit www.simplyjanestudio.com.

— Joey Peters

26TH & Hennepin

Muddy Paws Cheesecake, 2518 Hennepin Ave. S., has closed.

The award-winning cheesecake bakery is now planning to focus on its recently acquired St. Louis Park location, which opened in October.

"We wanted to establish a better baking facility with better options for delivery," a Muddy Paws employee said about the new St. Louis Park spot, located in Suite B2 at 7600 W. 27 St.  "We’ll be focusing more on business and home delivery of cheesecakes."

Starting Jan. 1, the St. Louis Park location will be open Monday–Friday from 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. and by appointment. Muddy Paws can be reached at 763-545-7161 and www.muddypawscheesecake.com.  

— Joey Peters

The buzz

43RD & NICOLLET

Husband and wife photography team John Barber and Stephanie Rau are moving their 36th Street and Grand Avenue studio to a new space at 4244 Nicollet Ave.

The Kingfield residents’ new studio is under construction and scheduled to be complete by mid-December. It replaced the former Never Enough Thyme catering building.

"We just kind of outgrew our space and wanted to stay in the neighborhood,"
Barber said.

Barber and Rau’s business is called Rau+Barber and specializes in commercial photography. Their clients include Target and Best Buy.

Barber said he and his wife have worked closely with the Kingfield Neighborhood Association on the new studio’s development. They plan to host the neighborhood association’s annual art display, organized in conjunction with the Lyndale Neighborhood Association, in the space this March.

For more information, visit www.raubarber.com or call 823-6999.

43RD & UPTON

Skydoor has opened at 4304 S. Upton Ave. Owner Thupten Dadak decided to open the shop in the bustling Linden Hills business district after receiving numerous recommendations from friends. "Linden Hills has many people who are interested in Tibetan culture and Buddhism," he said. "I really like the neighborhood."

Dadak opened the first Tibetan store in the Twin Cities in 1991 on Hennepin Avenue in Uptown. The store closed in 1996, but his other location in Stillwater has been thriving for almost 26 years. The Linden Hills shop features Tibetan, Nepalese, Indian, Indonesia, and Thai artifacts; antique furniture that has exhibited in the Smithsonian; music and monk chanting CDs; Tibetan, medical and Buddhism books; bowls, bells, good luck banners; compassion prayers; carpet, clothing, gifts, toys, collectibles, incense and jewelry.

The shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.–7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Dadak plans to hold classes on yoga, meditation and the sound of healing. "Under the sky, you can open the sky," he said. "You can find everything."

LAKE & BRYANT

A new destination for women shoe lovers opened a month ago at 909 W. Lake St., right next to lingerie carrier Venus.

Stiletto, a shop specializing in women’s shoes, is the creation of Southwest residents Caesar Russell and Wenn Townsend.

"We live nearby and felt like it was something missing from the neighborhood," said Russell, who calls Lyn-Lake his home.

Townsend lives in East Harriet.

The duo’s shop carries a variety of shoe brands including Kevin Aviance, Hollywood Heels, Delicious and others at prices ranging from $35 to $120. The store also offers a line of Minnesota-made handbags from Elizabeth’s Handspun Selection, handbag accessories and jewelry.

Stiletto is having a "buy one pair, get another half off" sale through Dec. 24, Russell said.

Store hours are noon–8 p.m. Monday–Saturday and noon–5 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, visit www.stiletto-mn.com or call 823-7463.