Biz buzz // Broders’ takes it outside

Broders’ Pasta Bar opens outdoor antipasto bar

Broders’ Pasta Bar has taken the outdoor dining experience to another level.

It has unveiled a new outdoor antipasto bar. Chefs prepare small dishes at a grill tucked behind a countertop where patrons can observe the culinary action.

The menu is broken into three sections — cichetti (small snacks), piadini freddi and piadini caldi (plates that require a knife and fork).

Michael Rostance, executive chef at the pasta bar, 5000 Penn Ave. S., said the menu focuses on fresh, healthy bites — quick dishes to prepare that are ideal for summer dining.

“I’ve always dreamed of working outside,” he said while overseeing a couple of chefs working at the antipasto bar on a recent evening.  

Molly Broder, the restaurant’s owner, said the goal is to have diners feel like they are being “transported to another world.” They should get a taste of what life is like for folks on the “other side of the pond.”

The outdoor dining area seats 50 people — nearly as many as the restaurant seats indoors. It also features a nice garden and a fountain nicknamed “Luigi.”

Menu highlights include gorgonzola biscuits, roasted bell peppers with white anchovy, “blistered” shishito peppers and grilled Italian sausage served with grapes and a balsamic reduction.

The plates are ideal for sharing and cost between $2–$10.

Broders’ is open 5–9:30 p.m., Sunday–Thursday; 5–10 p.m., Friday; and 4:30–10 p.m. on Saturday.

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Roundy’s plans to redevelop Uptown Rainbow

THE WEDGE — A planned redevelopment of the Uptown Rainbow would double the grocery store’s size to 80,000 square feet, representatives of Roundy’s Supermarkets told the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association (LHENA) in June.

But it would also leave Uptown short one grocery store for most of a year. Demolition of the current store would begin in early 2010 and a new store would not be complete until late 2010 or early 2011, said Max Dickman, Real Estate Development Manager for Milwaukee, Wis., based Roundy’s, which owns and operates 30 Rainbow stores in Minnesota.

Plans for the three-story structure include two stories of parking for 250 cars topped by the store, plus an additional 10,000 square feet of ground-level retail space facing Lagoon Avenue. The new store would expand to fill the entire 2.24-acre site, about half of which is now a surface parking lot.

Dickman said a rounded corner entrance at the intersection of Lagoon and Emerson avenues would include elevators, escalators and stairs to bring shoppers up to the third-floor retail space. The proposal included plans for a 2,000-square foot street-level floral shop at the entrance.

Dickman said the current 40,000-square-foot Rainbow store at 1104 Lagoon Ave. S. was “inadequate” for the Uptown area. With twice as much floor space, the redesigned Rainbow would have more room to offer fresh produce and organic items, as well as expanded grocery and deli offerings, he said.

Asked if the redevelopment might affect prices at the new Rainbow, Dickman said he couldn’t guarantee they wouldn’t change. But, he added, they plan to offer greater “value” than nearby competitors, such as Lunds and Kowalski’s

Dickman said the project would not require any zoning variances. The new structure would rise 44–48 feet, under the 56-foot height limit for that site, he said.

The LHENA Board of Directors approved the conceptual plans for the site.

With its approval, the board recommended Roundy’s develop detailed plans for customer safety in the parking ramp. They also recommended Roundy’s work with the contractor to limit the number of construction vehicles parked in the neighborhood during work on the new store.

Dickman said Roundy’s had not yet selected a general contractor for the project as of mid-June.

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Columbia moving next to The North Face

Outdoor-gear retailer The North Face at Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street will have some competition starting next spring when Columbia Sportswear Company opens in a new two-story building next door.

The North Face opened its stand-alone store — the only one in the state and one of 13 nationwide — in the spring of 2008. Columbia plans to open its store — also the only stand-alone in the state and one of a handful throughout the U.S. — in the spring of 2010. The new building, at 3016 Hennepin, will be the first constructed specifically for a Columbia retail outlet.

Both Columbia and The North Face specialize in outdoor sportswear and gear and were attracted to the area by the number of outside activities and enthusiasts in the region. Whether the rivals can both be successful with independent stores immediately next to each other is something that hasn’t been tested anywhere.  

Jeffrey Herman, president of Southwest-based retail brokerage and development company Urban Anthology, which was behind the deals with Columbia and The North Face, said the two international chains should compliment each other and bring more traffic to the area.

“There are more than enough customers to shop both of these stores,” he said.

Ron Parham, senior director of investor relations and corporate communications for Columbia, said the new store can coexist with its rival neighbor, but there’s no question it will be a competitive coexistence.

“We’ve spent the last two years really infusing a lot of innovation and technology into our product line and we’re sort of anxious to put it to the test head-to-head against our main competitor,” Parham said. “I think it provides a great way for consumers to compare head-to-head and we’re up to that challenge.”

Representatives from The North Face did not return phone calls for comment before press time.

Construction of the new Columbia building is set to begin in mid-July. It will replace the Uptown Bar & Cafe’s patio, which will stay open until construction begins.    

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Wakame Sushi to replace Three Fish

Wakame Sushi & Asian Bistro is set to move into the former Three Fish spot in Calhoun Commons at 3070 Excelsior Blvd.

The expected opening date is July 1, owner and vice president of the new restaurant Anha Pham said.

Construction in the 3,800-square-foot space is on schedule and almost complete, but the opening date, Pham said, may have to be pushed back a week if not all of the furniture and other ordered items arrive on time.

The bistro’s menu will include a variety of sushi and items from China, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. A full bar will also be available and include imported beers from Asia.

Aside from sushi, examples on the menu include spicy basil chicken wings, spicy grilled beef and spring rolls. Prices will range from around $4–$10 for sushi, $6–$8 for appetizers and $15 and up for entrees.

Pham said her business partner George Xu, who will be president of Wakame Sushi & Asian Bistro, owned a restaurant in Kansas, but the two moved to Minneapolis for a change of scenery.

“I’m excited to open, to get the business going,” Pham said. “Hopefully we will have lots of customers who are supporting us.”

For more information, visit www.wakamebistro.com or call 886-2484.

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Peninsula Malaysian Cuisine extends hours, adds new specials

Since welcoming Paul Boyum as its new manager a little over a month ago, Peninsula Malaysian Cuisine, 2608 Nicollet Ave., has undergone some noteworthy changes.

In addition to sprucing up their interior, they’ve extended their hours and are now serving their full menu until 1 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Peninsula recently began offering two weekday happy hours. They run from 4–6 p.m. and from 10 p.m.–1 a.m. The happy hour menu includes $5 mojitos, Jose Cuervo margaritas and martinis. They also offer saki for $3 a glass and $12 a bottle. Select bottles of wine are $17. Hors d’oeuvres have also joined the happy hour menu, including chicken, beef or tofu sautés for $3.95, Thai egg rolls for $3.95 and coconut shrimp for $5.95.

The only thing that hasn’t changed is their menu, which still includes a wide range of Malaysian dishes. House favorites include the onion-brazed duck, Malaysian mango chicken, Thai chili and their homemade tofu.

Peninsula has a great personal, intimate energy, Boyum said. He said he always welcomes critiques and requests from customers.

The restaurant’s new motto, Boyum said, is “we’re just giving love.”

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Noted

The owner of the Hennepin County Medical Center building at Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue is looking to sell the property. HCMC is moving next spring to a new building now under construction near 28th Street and Nicollet Avenue.