Biz buzz // Chino Latino adds a new place to party

Uptown restaurant Chino Latino is apparently beating the recession — enough to expand its digs next door into what was In Vision Optics until a few months ago.

The new space, set to open in November, will seat 75 and serve as a banquet room for private parties, or as additional seating when not reserved. Patio seating is also planned in front of the new space.

“Despite all you read and hear about restaurants and the tough times they’re having, we’ve been very fortunate and Chino is rockin’ the world,” said Phil Roberts, CEO of Parasole Restaurant Holdings, which owns Chino Latino. “There are too many butts and not enough seats.”

Kip Clayton, Parasole’s vice president of business development, said Chino Latino is often used by area businesses, but the restaurant has been unable to provide a private space. The new room will feature audio and video capabilities, which Clayton expects to be used during business dinners, but he hopes the room is also used as a celebratory space for bachelorette parties, birthday parties and the like.

Similar banquet spaces are hard to come by in Uptown, he said.

“Part of what we’re excited about is it’s going to be a great urban space,” Clayton said. “It’s going to be real strong visually. And I think it will be a little more hip.”

The room will have the same hours as the main restaurant: 4:30 p.m.–1 a.m. Sunday–Thursday and 4:30 p.m.–2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information about Chino Latino, go to chinolatino.com.

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A neighborhood favorite reopens

After an outpouring of community support, high-end clothing retailer il Vostro Boutique reopened this month after about a month of closed doors.

Owner Stacey Finnegan closed the store Aug. 14 because of slow financial performance, but after announcing the closure in July, her last month of business was surprisingly strong. The uptick in spending was accompanied by teary-eyed customers, letters and cards, Finnegan said.

“It was just an overwhelming and great experience,” she said.

So, she decided to reopen, hoping that the support would continue. She also made some changes to her business model including a wider range of price points, some shoe additions and a private label jewelry line.

Finnegan planned to move her business online when she closed. Now she’ll offer online sales in addition to the store.

For more information on il Vostro Boutique, go to ilvostroboutique.com or call 920-3167.

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Noted

Longtime Uptown restaurant Figlio, which is being remodeled and re-branded as part of Calhoun Square’s renovation, is scheduled to be demolished Sept. 20. The new restaurant’s concept and name is supposed to be announced within the next couple weeks.

Align Pilates recently moved from its Downtown location to a new space in the Solhem apartment building at 3021 Holmes Ave. The building opened for occupancy this month. For more information on the pilates studio, call 964-3472 or go to alignpilates.com.

A new bubble tea, snack bar and coffee shop called Bubble Me is planned for small space at 1404 W. Lake St., next door to Stella’s Fish Café.

Tibet Crafts and Gifts at 28th Street and Hennepin Avenue is planning to close, according to a storefront sign. The clothing, jewelry and gift store is advertising a “blowout” sale.

A seasonal costume shop called Halloween Store opened recently at 2741 Hennepin Ave. September hours are noon–8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday. October hours are noon-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon–6 p.m. Sunday.

Furniture store Welcome Home Futon, which used to be in the space now occupied by the Halloween shop, moved around the corner to a new space in the building previously occupied by Letterbox Creative.