Blackbird Cafe 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 spot, 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.

For updates on Blackbird’s move, go to the restaurant’s Facebook page.