Biz buzz: Caf Oliver, we hardly knew thee

Café Oliver, the café and live-music venue that opened in July at the intersection of Franklin & Nicollet avenues, closed last month.

Café Oliver was a soup-and-sandwich, wine-and-beer kind of place that regularly featured music and comedy performances. It had replaced the Acadia Café when the Acadia moved to the West Bank neighborhood.

It’s not clear why Café Oliver closed after just a few months in business. Owner Scott Beck couldn’t be reached for comment.

The space, which was renovated into a single room without the separated theatre space that the Acadia had featured, is now for rent.

Burgers and fries with an adult-root-beer-float twist

Sometimes the wealth of foodie havens in Southwest can leave you, well, jonesing for a simple burger-and-fry kind of place.

Next year there will be one.

Burger Jones is expected to open in mid-2009 in the old Applebee’s space in Calhoun Square. The restaurant is the brainchild of Parasole Restaurant Holdings, which owns Chino Latino in Southwest, Manny’s Steakhouse in downtown, and Edina’s Salut Bar Americain, among others.

It will be “a classic American burger joint,” said Kip Clayton, Parasole’s VP of development and marketing.

That means chili and hot dogs and homemade fries and malts and floats, plus a few urban twists. Like a full bar. And “adult” root beer floats.

And, of course, the burgers.

Kobe beef burgers, salmon burgers, veggie burgers, turkey burgers, lobster, burgers, burgers topped with foie gras.

While a few of those selections won’t come cheap, Burger Jones doesn’t plan on catering to a white-tablecloth kind of clientele.

“We’ve got a lot of people here who are very passionate about burger joints and burgers,” Clayton said. “The whole team is having a lot of fun.”

Parasole plans to begin construction on the space in early 2009 and open in May or June, Clayton said.

The gelato experience, summarized with a single word

If you’ve suffered from gelato withdrawal ever since Caruso’s in Calhoun Square closed in early 2007, rejoice: Jackson’s Coffee and Gelato plans to open in the coming months in the Lyn-Lake area.

The shop will make gelato on-site, supervised by Tom Paschke, Caruso’s former manager. It’ll serve 12 flavors at any given time, rotating for seasons and customer preferences.

John Meldahl, who’s helping open the business and will turn it over to his son, Kyler, said Jackson’s will also be a full coffee shop and offer light food, including pastries and panini sandwiches.

Meldahl said the shop, because of its proximity to the Midtown Greenway, will cater to bikers, with ample outdoor seating and bike racks.

Gelato, for the uninitiated, is Italian ice cream that has less than half the butterfat of traditional ice cream. That means, of course, that it’s healthier. More importantly, Meldahl said, it means the flavors are more intense.

Jackson’s Coffee and Gelato is located at 822 W. Lake St. (At the intersection of Bryant Avenue in the Bryant-Lake Bowl building). Meldahl said he’s aiming to open the shop in late 2008 or early in 2009.

A big win for a small business

Quality Coaches, the small Kingfield auto shop that specializes in repairing high-end import cars, won a major award in late October from the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB).

Quality Coaches received the BBB’s annual Integrity Award in the category of 1-10 employees. It’s an annual honor chosen by an independent panel of judges, and a rare one to receive—any business in either state that belongs to the bureau is eligible for the awards.

Quality Coaches has been in business for 36 years and is located at 20 W. 38th St. (between Nicollet and Blaisdell Avenues). To learn more about the business and its history, go to