Biz buzz // Blackbird to reopen

Blackbird Café to reopen at 38th & Nicollet

The owners of Blackbird Café are hoping to reopen their restaurant this fall in a previously vacant space at 38th Street and Nicollet Avenue.

Blackbird was destroyed in a fire last Feburary along with neighboring restaurant Heidi’s and retailers Patina, Shoppe Local and Stacey Johnson Jewelry Design. The burnt-out building at 50th Street and Bryant Avenue has been vacant since, and after months without income, Blackbird owners Gail Mollner and Chris Stevens said they decided to “take fate into their own hands.”

“We loved 50th and Bryant so much and to have to leave there was really a difficult decision for us to have to make,” Mollner said.

The new space is about 50 percent larger, which Mollner said should help during popular weekend breakfasts and dinners. The old space was maxed out, she said.

If Facebook is any indication, the new Kingfield location won’t stop former regulars from moving along with the restaurant. When Mollner asked its fans what they should do differently at the new location, the answer was pretty straightforward.

“It was pretty much a resounding ‘don’t change a damn thing,’” Mollner said. “So we’re going to listen to our customers.”

The new restaurant also will feature a shrine to some items rescued from the fire, including a set of moose antlers.

Owned by development firm Lander Group, the 38th and Nicollet building once was pegged for a condominium development. Those plans changed when the housing market collapsed, and the structure has been unoccupied and boarded up for years.

One of Blackbird’s new neighbors will be the Aliveness Project, a community center and support organization for people with HIV and AIDS. Restaurants Cocina Latina and Shorty &Wags Original Chicken Wings also are at the corner.

Renovation of the building will begin as soon as the city gives the OK. Mollner and Stevens will have to go through the regular public process to get a new wine and beer license.

They hope to reopen by September.


More space for Moe Bodyworks

Wellness center Moe Bodyworks, previously at 707 W. 34th St., moved a couple blocks south a few weeks ago into a larger space at 3541 Lyndale Ave. S.

Dr. Moe Sarah Smith owns the business, which she said has expanded its services since the move to include physical therapy, yoga, acupuncture, massage, complete spa services and a variety of supplements and nutrition products and programs.

Smith has a veterinary chiropractic license in addition to her traditional chiropractic license, and pet therapy for animals large and small is a specialty. She even treats horses off-site.

The new space features multiple chiropractic rooms, an acupuncture room near a Chinese herbal pharmacy and two large studios for yoga classes. Yoga is offered in many levels and styles for all ages and instructor training and certification is also available. Behind the new building is a large lot Smith plans to use for outdoor yoga and chi gong during the warm months.

Moe Bodyworks takes walk-ins and appointments and can be reached at 824-1829. More information about the center’s services can be found at

Custom T-shirt and screenprinting shop Stroker Ace is planning to move into Moe Bodyworks’ old space, which is just around the corner from its current location.


Boneshaker Books looks to replace Arise! Bookstore

Arise! Bookstore, billed as “an activist information hub for the Twin Cities,” closed May 15, but the Lyndale Avenue storefront may not remain dark for long.

Boneshaker Books was collecting donations on its website ( in support of reopening the 2441 Lyndale Ave. S. shop in the fall. Like its predecessor, Boneshaker promised to be part independent bookstore, part hub for progressive politics.

“Not only will we stock the best selection of progressive and radical books and zines in the Upper Midwest, Boneshaker Books will have a small cafe area for reading and meeting,” read a statement on its website.

In addition to offering “coffee, tea and snacks” from Common Roots Café across Lyndale, the bookstore’s staff planned to deliver orders by bicycle to nearby addresses.

Michael Whalen, who owns the building and helped to found Arise! Bookstore, said the Boneshaker Books founders planned to operate as a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Arise! opened in 1993 as a collectively run bookstore. But financial problems, particularly rising property taxes, forced the store to close, said Whalen, who was no longer involved in its day-to-day operations.

The bookstore advertised a going-out-of-business sale May 8–15. A posting on the store’s website about the sale read: “We need to pay off our debts so we can close the store in a responsible, ethical manner without harming the small presses, distributors, and collectives that have supplied us with so many great resources over the years.”


Classical art school opens at 40th & Lyndale

The long-vacant former home of Triangle Printing at 708 W. 40th St. is now partially occupied by an art school focused on the classical styles of the renaissance period.

Classical Academy of Art offers classes for children and adults, from beginners to advanced students. Founder Catherine Kleve, an Eagan resident originally from Minneapolis, launched the venture this month.  

“I have more of a business background and I love to do art as a hobby on the side,” Kleve said. “And I found when I would take art classes that they would either be full or it wasn’t the right time that I needed, so I thought, ‘gosh there should be more choices besides community ed classes,’ and I decided to open one up in Minneapolis because I think it serves a purpose there.”

Kleve hired several instructors to teach a variety of mediums including oil-based, watercolor and pastel painting and charcoal drawing. One of the instructors has a master’s degree in classical painting from a school in Italy, she said.

“The goal is to get [students] to create a work of art on their own and they’re going to be getting excellent guidance from the teachers that we have,” Kleve said.

She said she’s trying to keep classes affordable, so anyone can learn to paint. During the month of May, a set of four two-hour classes cost $95.

Classical Academy of Art is open from 9 a.m.–9 p.m. daily and can be reached at 201-6244. The school’s website is at

Bruce Thomson, owner of the building, said tai chi and chi gong studio High Moon was slated to move soon into the rest of the space, but the lease was still being finalized.    



Construction work has begun on Lake Harriet Cemetery’s Lakewood Garden Mausoleum along 36th Street. The 24,000-square-foot building will include roughly 1,000 crypts and more than 4,000 niches, as well as a committal room, reception room, family room, kitchen and administrative office. The project is scheduled to be complete in September 2011 at a cost of $30 million.

Eco-friendly retailer Twin Cities Green will close its 2405 Hennepin Ave. S. store at the end of this month and reopen as Moss Envy at 2405 3056 Excelsior Blvd.

Parking problems in uptown were a big reason for the move. As for the name change, store co-owner Ryan North had this to say in a prepared statement:

“The choice to drop the green moniker was in response to a perceived watering down of the term. Green has been over-used and abused to the point of confusion. Greenwashing has become a way for disingenuous companies to profit from the genuine concern of people wanting to do the right thing.”

The store’s new website is