Biz buzz // Bubble Me

Bubble Me opens in Uptown

Bubble Me, located next to Stella’s Fish Café near Lake Street and Girard Avenue, is serving up more than just your average tea to its customers. Open since mid-October, Bubble Me specializes in bubble tea drinks, which are sweet fruit drinks made with black, green, Thai or chai teas and then blended or put on ice. The “bubbles” are the small tapioca balls at the bottom of the drink that add unique flavor and texture, said Elliott Roche, a manager at the shop.

In addition to bubble tea, Bubble Me offers a full menu of coffee drinks such as cappuccinos, mochas and steamers, and a small variety of Thai food as well. Pad Thai, an assortment of curries, Vietnamese sandwiches and sushi round out the menu.

Bubble Me is open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and has seen a fair amount of the bar crowd as customers. The bubble tea and snack bar offers free wireless Internet and is currently developing a delivery system.

“It’s been a decent start and we’re hoping it only gets better,” Roche said.

Bubble Me is open 8 a.m.–11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.–3 a.m. Friday–Saturday and 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Sunday.

Guse Green Grocer to open by year’s end

Tom and Terry Thomson, husband-and-wife owners of Guse Hardware and developers of Guse Green Grocer at 46th Street and Bryant Avenue, hope to open the doors to their new grocery store before the end of 2009.

The store, formerly Ron’s Market, is in its final stages of renovation — shelves are going up, tiles are being laid and plumbing kinks are being worked out. License approval from a final inspection will be the last step before the corner-store-meets-health-food-store debuts in the Lyndale neighborhood.

The aim of the new store, according to the Thomsons, is to take shopping back to basics. While it will offer convenient foods generally found in a neighborhood grocery store, Guse Green Grocer will also offer a lot of food that is grown and produced by local farmers and vendors. Specialty foods most commonly found in health stores will also be available.

“What we’re doing is based on our own experience with food allergies in our family,” Terry Thomson said. She explained that certain products like gluten- or dairy-free foods are difficult to find in grocery stores. She noted that customers might not know how to incorporate those products in their meals. “If it becomes too much work, they don’t do it,” she said.

That’s where Guse Green Grocer will step in. All of its employees are what Tom Thomson referred to as “foodies.” Each employee has specific knowledge about the types of products they carry, be it the dairy-free items or the locally grown produce.

“One of the employees is an experienced recipe writer,” Terry Thomson said. “There will be a recipe of the week and all the things in that recipe will be stocked in the store.”

In addition to grocery goods, the store will also have a deli offering made-to-order sandwiches, soups and salads, a floral section, and a bakery section stocked daily by Rustica.

The Thomson’s goal of going “back to basics” applied not only to food choice, but also to the renovation of the building. “When we bought the business, we decided that we were going to make every effort to use materials to make it an energy-efficient building,” Terry Thomson said. They did so in its windows, insulation and lighting.

News of Guse Green Grocer’s opening comes shortly after the paper covering the windows of the store was removed — a change that Terry Thomson said created quite the stir in the area. “People were so curious to look,” she said. “Cars would stop at the stop signs and practically cause accidents because they were gawking in there.”

The Thomsons said they would most likely have a grand opening event that would include taste testing. Hours will be 7 a.m.–9 p.m. daily.

Salty Tart Bakery partners with Java Jack’s

Salty Tart Bakery is now supplying fresh baked goods to Java Jack’s Coffee House at 46th Street and Bryant Avenue. The partnership follows the relocation of Rustica, which recently moved from Java Jack’s to Calhoun Village to overcome previous space constraints.

According to Michelle Gayer, a nationally acclaimed pastry chef and owner of Salty Tart, the bakery will not move into Java’s Jack’s, but will supply fresh baked goods, including bread and pastry items, daily. The Salty Tart has been located in the Midtown Global Market since 2008 and will continue to do business there.

The new role is an exciting one for Gayer, who has previously noted Rustica as her favorite bakery in Minneapolis. “It’s an honor,” she said when asked about taking its place at the coffee house. “It’s an amazing thing that guests love what we do and love that we’re there.”

New bakery coming to 46th and Grand

John Kraus, named one of the “Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America” twice by “Pastry Art and Design” magazine, is bringing his passion for baking from Chicago’s French Pastry School to the corner of 46th street and Grand Avenue. Kraus will open his neighborhood bakery, Patisserie 46, in early March 2010.

Patisserie 46 will offer a harmonic combination of European pastries and American classics, ranging from chocolate chip cookies to artisan breads to old-world style tarts and pies. The vision of fusing these styles is what Kraus said will set his bakery apart. “French pastry has a very technical aspect to it,” Kraus said. “It’s very precise. You combine that with the simplicity of something your grandmother made — a pinch of this here, a bit of butter there — and get something that tastes spectacular and is very special.”

Bilingual childcare center nearing completion

The high-demand for quality childcare in a diverse learning environment has led Natalie and Javier Lopez, directors of Jardin Mágico in Minnehaha Falls, to open a second location at 40th Street and Nicollet Avenue. The playground is built, the stucco exterior is near completion and the facility will open its doors in the Kingfield neighborhood on Feb. 15.

Jardin Mágico is a bilingual day care and preschool that operates on the belief that children reap countless benefits from early immersion in a bilingual setting. Children are most capable of learning a second language from birth through age 5, Natalie Lopez said. She said early immersion in a bilingual environment increases mental flexibility, creativity, problem solving skills and a sense of identity. In addition, she said, it helps children develop a global perspective that will stick with them throughout their lives.

The new facility is still under construction, but the surrounding community has already shown a significant amount of interest and support, Natalie Lopez said.

For more information, visit jardinmagico.org or call 360-3196.