Biz buzz


With the 46th Street bridge closed over Interstate 35W as part of the Crosstown Reconstruction project and traffic muted, Steve’s Tire and Auto is hoping to take the opportunity to expand its facility at 4601 Nicollet Ave.

If the city approves the proposed plans, the shop’s current facility would be torn down. A much larger building, the architectural style of which would echo the old firehouse on the opposite side of the intersection, would be put up in its place.

The gas station — which manager Tim Sandlin previously said has lost about 70 percent of business after the bridge was taken down in April — would be removed. (Service sales haven’t been affected as much, Sandlin said.)

The plans will be presented at a city Planning Commission meeting on Aug. 4, where shop owner Steve Johnston said he hopes he won’t face much hesitation. He already has met with neighborhood groups representing Kingfield and Tangletown.

If the approval process goes smoothly, Johnston said, construction could start in mid-September.

“We’d like to do it while the traffic count is down,” he said.

Johnston said that, during construction, he hopes to keep the shop open at a temporary location nearby.


Restaurant Miami, a 1980s-themed restaurant at 913 W. Lake St., recently traded hands and will soon be renamed The Favor Café.  

Former owner and founder Robert Serr sold the business to Angela Tucker of The Favor Catering Company, based in Brooklyn Center, Minn. Serr, whose business concept and requests for late-night hours put him at odds with neighborhood residents from the day he proposed the establishment as “Afterbar” two years ago, could not be reached for comment.  

Tucker shared some very different ideas for the business in a prepared statement e-mailed to the Southwest Journal in mid July: a Wednesday jazz brunch, a Sunday soul-food dinner and a Monday Creole night. The food planned for the restaurant seems to be a departure from the American-Caribbean dishes that went along with Serr’s Miami theme.

The catering company’s slogan is “bringing family back to the table.”

Tucker said The Favor Café would focus on food. She planned to open the restaurant in late July without its liquor license secured to drive home that point.

 “We are not a bar serving food, we are a restaurant serving spirits,” she said in the statement. “We are serving alcohol not because we want to, but because there is such a demand. We will not be open until 2 a.m. and will never request that kind of permit.”

Hours are 5p.m–midnight Monday-Wednesday, 5p.m.–1a.m. Thursday-Saturday and 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Sunday.

The Favor Catering Company can be reached at 522-4540.

40th & Lyndale

EAST HARRIET — After contradictory tests, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is conducting a third round of investigations concerning heightened levels of possibly dangerous chemicals at the closed SuperAmerica at 40th and Lyndale.

Information about the first two tests, which were done this spring, was only communicated to area residents through notifications from Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis). A lack of communication between the MPCA and residents prompted Dibble to author legislation that requires the site owners of any petroleum leak investigation to notify local residents of the findings and any actions taken as a result.  The legislation recently passed.

This now means SA is responsible for notifying residents about the current investigation. Representatives could not be reached for comment.

“Communication to residents can be personal contact, mail, or email,” Dibble said. Also, to facilitate communication between the MPCA and locals, Dibble’s office and the MPCA are working to set up a website that announces chemical testing in the area.

Initially, high levels of chloroform and carbon tetrachloride, and a lower concentration of tetrachloroethylene were found at the site of the former gas station. Additional testing by the MPCA did not find those or any other chemicals at the site.

Carbon tetrachloride is used as a solvent and refrigerant and chloroform is used as a solvent or veterinary anesthetic, according to the MPCA’s website. Tetrachloroethylene is used as a solvent in dry cleaning or for removing grease from metal. All of the chemicals can be harmful to humans, according to the site.   

The third test is to be conducted by the end of the summer, Project Manager David Moore said. There is no set date.

“Because our fiscal year ended June 30 we have to renew our deals with contractors,” Moore said. “We need to map out the scope of the work.”

What residents can expect from the third test is soil and comprehensive groundwater testing, as well as the collection of analytical data. As for why the first two tests were contradictory, Moore explains:

“There are a lot of factors in vapor testing. The results vary based upon the season, what the temperature of the soil is, and whether the ground is frozen.”

If the third test indicates high levels of potentially harmful substances, the MPCA will “move out radially and conduct tests.” If this movement out from the site comes in contact with residences, soil samples will be collected from under the basements.

“We will subslab beneath the basement slabs,” Moore said.  

The goal of soil sampling is to find the source of the contamination.

Meanwhile, plans for the area outlined by the Lyndale Task Force — which is working on developing a vision for the intersection — have been put on hold.

Biz buzz


Clothing retailer Ivy will move out of Calhoun Square in August and into a new space at 1440 W. Lake St.  

Store owner Ini Iyamba said he was on board with redevelopment plans for Calhoun Square, but a start date for construction hadn’t been set and it was unclear where Ivy would be in the new mall.  

“It looked like a great concept, but what it came down to is our space is not part of the redevelopment,” Iyamba said. “It doesn’t exist and so (Calhoun Square management) wanted us to stay and we wanted to stay, but we would have to sit in a temporary space for X amount of time.”

Ivy was in Calhoun Square for about three years. The store carries a variety of men’s and women’s designer clothing and accessories.

The new store’s hours will be from 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Monday–Saturday and Sunday from noon–5 p.m. The phone number will stay the same, 827-2764. For more information about Ivy, visit  


The Spyhouse Espresso Bar and Gallery at 2451 Nicollet Ave. S. will soon have a sister shop on 24th & Hennepin, in the former PaperGami space.

Christian Johnson, owner of Spyhouse and The Bad Waitress Diner & Coffee Shop in the Whittier neighborhood, presented plans for the new location at a July 1 East Isles Residents Association meeting.

At the meeting, Johnson said he plans to restore the building to “its original character” with tin ceilings, wooden floors and transoms over some of the

The new Spyhouse will have a different look than the shop on Nicollet, which opened in July 2000. It will look more refined and less cluttered, Johnson said.  

He said he plans to offer outdoor seating, as the original shop does, and the indoor portion of the shop will host about 75 people in its 2,200 square feet.

Johnson said he plans to ask the city to allow the new shop to stay open until 11 p.m. or midnight, later than the city’s required 10 p.m. closing time for the area.

Johnson said the store would not open for several months. A winter opening is anticipated, according to the Spyhouse website.

For more information contact the Spyhouse on Nicollet at 612-871-3177 or take a look at its website,


Sneaker boutique and track bike shop Vs. Social Standard has expanded its business from Edina to Uptown with a new store at 1221 W. Lake St.   

The original store is located in the Southdale mall, but the owners have decided they have something unique to offer to Minneapolis.

“Currently, (we) are the only track-specific bike shop in Minneapolis,” said Vs. Social Standard manager Vincent Shim. “As far as apparel and footwear goes, I bring a lot of brands that no other retailer in Minneapolis carry, currently.”

Their Myspace website refers to the new store as “Minneapolis’ premier shop for street wear,” as they carry brands such as Rocksmith, New Era Customs, Hellz Bellz and Imaginary Foundation.

Store hours are 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Monday and Thursday–Friday, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Saturday and noon–6 p.m. Sunday. The store is closed on Tuesday.   

For more information on Vs. Social Standard, call 612-353-6934 or check out