Biz buzz // Gelato returns to Uptown

The former Caruso’s (once in Calhoun Square) gelato maker is at it again, this time at the new Jackson’s Coffee and Gelato, 822 W. Lake St. The shop opened July 25 and has since drawn a fair amount of traffic, owner Kyler Meldahl said.

Jackson’s will offer about a dozen flavors of gelato daily, each of which may vary in accordance with the crowd’s favorites. Some of the flavors include mango, strawberry, Disaronno amaretto and black chocolate sorbet. Originally, the plan was to exclusively offer coffee, but a trip to Italy changed that. The gelato shops lining the streets inspired Meldahl to open his own.

The shop’s coffee comes from Northeast Minneapolis’ Flamenco Organic Coffee Company. Some of Jackson’s treats boast a mix of coffee and gelato, like their traditional Italian affogoto, a small cup of gelato with a shot of espresso on top. Their signature drink, the Java Jack’d, is a cup of brewed coffee with a scoop of gelato in it. In addition, they offer sandwiches, chips, bars, baked goods, retro drinks and fruit parfaits.

The opportunity to open Jackson’s came when the video store that occupied the building downsized, vacating a space large enough for a new business. That and an increase in foot traffic between Lyn-Lake and Uptown was enough to encourage Meldahl to take the plunge.

He said the feedback has been positive so far.

“Not one person has tried the gelato and walked out of here with a smile less than to their ears,” he said.

Jackson’s Coffee and Gelato is open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday and 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. A website is in the works. For more information, call 824-4164.

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Liquor license OK’d for new wine and cheese shop

The Minneapolis Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for the sale of liquor at the proposed Lake Wine and Cheese shop at 404 W. Lake St.

Binh Le and Christina Le, the store’s owners, applied for the license.

Bihn Le presented his plan for the shop to the Whittier Alliance Community Issues Committee on July 13, where he said his plans for the store include large windows, awnings and storefront lighting in addition to trellises, chandeliers and plants in the front.

Le told the committee he hopes to sell 90 percent wine and cheese but applied for a liquor license to sell spirits, wine and beer. If the liquor license is approved, it would supersede the approval of the conditional use permit.

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Drama comes to Uptown

Fans of Drama Boutique will now need to take a trip to Uptown to scour its racks. After nearly two years Downtown, the upscale women’s apparel shop has moved into the Lumen on Lagoon apartment building at 1203 Lagoon Ave.

The new store, which opened about a week and a half ago, will hold an official grand opening ceremony in September, at which time a second room of merchandise will be revealed to the public.

Courtney Smallbeck, the store’s owner, said the new location features casual looks in addition to its usual dressy and nightlife lines, adding that many of her designers are local. The store is known for its collection of dresses, tops, denim and jewelry, each of which is hand-selected by Smallbeck.

After the recession began, Smallbeck said she noticed a major change in business Downtown, prompting her search for a new location. She said she chose Uptown for its high traffic density.

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Uptown Diner gets its hours back

The New Uptown Diner at 26th Street and Hennepin Avenue is again offering 24-hour weekend service after five weeks of reduced hours.

The restaurant’s hours were cut in July after noise complaints from neighbors prompted City Council Member Ralph Remington (10th Ward) to investigate the diner’s license. He discovered the business did not have the required conditional use permit for all-night operation.

After a public hearing, the Minneapolis City Planning Commission approved the required permit on July 27, allowing the diner to resume its 24-hour service from early morning Thursday to Sunday evening starting Aug. 6.

Without the night shift, Sipprell said he had to cut several employees, but he plans to bring them back now.

The permit came with provisions requiring the installation of a 6-foot-tall fence along the alley and “no parking” signs in the parking lot by Sept. 30.

The permit also requires a landscaping plan to be submitted by that date.

“I’m just happy to be back open,” Sipprell said.