Biz buzz // New sneaker boutique

New sneaker boutique coming to Uptown

Phenom, a destination for unique sneakers and locally designed tops, is opening a boutique this December at 2829 Hennepin Ave. S.

A grand opening is planned close to the holidays.

The new store will be modeled after the company’s original location in St. Paul and will feature premium lines from local brands including Minnesota Nice and Phenom’s in-house line, as well as Sabit, Airtime, 316 and others, said co-owner Max Weber.

“It’s not street wear,” Weber said. “It’s a lifestyle boutique.”

The store has clean-cut salvaged denim and fashion-forward button-up shirts and exclusive sneakers, including a pair custom shoe designer JGoods created for the shop. The shoes — cherry red and white with the Phenom logo’s grey clouds and zigzag lightning bolt — are enshrined in a glass case in the middle of the St. Paul store and valued at $1,500. JGoods has customized shoes for hip-hop celebrities Jay-Z and Paul Wall and Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer.

Phenom’s new location is bigger than the St. Paul boutique on Snelling Avenue, where Minnesota Vikings players including Adrian Peterson have been known to stop occasionally. A larger storefront will allow more room for items to breathe and be seen, Weber said.

Each item Phenom sells is limited, whether it be in size, color, quantity or release location. The new location will have rare footwear ranging in price from $60–$200, tops between $25 and $80 and hoodies, flannels and jackets that run anywhere from $60 to upward of $400.

Phenom offers dozens of Nike Quickstrike sneakers in every color and design, ranging from a simple black shoe with a high top silhouette to baby blue-and-white sneakers with fuchsia laces. Quickstrike sneakers are released to a limited number of locations and are not sold online. Lately, Phenom has been growing the line.

Heavy foot traffic in Uptown prompted Weber and Rob Yang, owner and founder, to expand business hours and take on two new employees for the new store. Weber said specific hours aren’t set, but they’ll probably be from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. on weekdays. Yang will manage the new store while Weber goes back and forth between Uptown and St. Paul.

Weber first got into street wear when he was in high school and Abercrombie, Hollister and Gap brands exploded in popularity. Not wanting to look like everyone else, he took an interest in unique and individualized apparel similar to what Phenom specializes in.

“I like being behind something I feel good about,” Weber said. “Helping others express themselves.”

Limited items and local brands have drawn customers from Duluth, Milwaukee and Mankato, Weber said. In addition to pushing the Phenom line further, he said the goal of the store is to bring something to the Twin Cities that no one has ever seen and become a nationally recognized destination for fashion, art and music.

For more information, go to phenom or call the St. Paul store at 651-224-9100.


Uptown Bar breakfast returns

The Uptown Bar & Café might be closed, but some of its breakfast items, along with its legendary Bloody Marys, have returned across the street.

Restaurant Aura in Calhoun Square recently hired some of the cooks who used to work at the Uptown Bar, which shut its doors Nov. 1. On Nov. 7, Aura started serving many of the same classic egg and hash brown dishes that were popular at the Uptown Bar, but with Aura’s own twist and some new ingredients, said Aura owner Fabrizio Ciccone. Aura is also serving the same Bloody Mary mix used at the Uptown Bar.

“We just want to keep the service in the community,” he said. “There’s no breakfast in the area and people want it.”

If the Uptown Bar reopens in a new location in the area, something its owners have been trying to do, Ciccone said Aura would probably stop the breakfast offering.

But for now, the New Uptown Brunch, as it’s been named, is available on weekends from 8 a.m.–3 p.m. Aura is next to Jimmy John’s in Calhoun Square, 3001 Hennepin Ave. S., and can be reached at 821-0008. More information about the restaurant is at


Bay Street Shoes moves in Calhoun Square

Calhoun Square’s oldest tenant, Bay Street Shoes & Accessories, celebrated the grand opening of its new store last month in the mall.

As part of the shopping center’s ongoing renovation, Bay Street Shoes was moved to a larger location on the first floor atrium near the Famous Dave’s BBQ and Blues entrance. The store has been in Calhoun Square for 25 years.  

The new store continues to offer a wide selection of shoes, boots and sandals. New is an expanded selection of women’s purses and bags and new lines of jewelry, hats, mittens and gloves. Men’s items including socks, leather bags and passport cases are also available in the new store.

“Our new store will mirror what our company philosophy has been all along,” said Bay Street owner Darrel Besikof. “We strive to answer our client’s need for quality footwear that makes a statement about the wearer.”

Calhoun Square is at 3001 Hennepin Ave. S. Bay Street has a second location at 50th Street and France Avenue in Edina. For more information, go to or call the Calhoun Square store at 824-5574.