Committee approves new Harriet concession
Local restaurateur Kim Bartmann’s Lake Harriet concession concept took one step closer to reality Sept. 1 when the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Administration and Finance Committee stamped its approval and moved the concept forward to the full board.
The board was scheduled to vote on the matter Sept. 15, after this issue of the Southwest Journal went to press. If the board’s comments Sept. 1 were any indication, the concept, called Bread & Pickle, should be approved without controversy. Bartmann, who runs Bryant Lake Bowl and Barbette in Southwest and Red Stag Supperclub in Northeast, was the unanimous choice of a review group made up of former members of a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) that spent over a year evaluating Lake Harriet concession opportunities.
“I think this is an excellent example of how having a functional CAC results in a terrific conclusion,” said Park Board President John Erwin at the Sept. 1 meeting. “It’s rare also that a CAC has a unanimous vote and I think it speaks to the quality of the vendor.”
Bread & Pickle would serve sandwiches, salads, frozen treats and snacks made from locally sourced, organic ingredients whenever possible. Breakfast would be part of the menu and call-ahead ordering would be available. Bartmann also plans to compost, serve tap water from reusable containers and work within the concession building’s existing footprint.
She is not requesting a beer and wine license, but said that could be a possibility down the road. If approved, her contract would make her the vendor at Lake Harriet for the next five years, starting next spring. The concession operation would be seasonal.
“I want to say I’m super excited to do this work and I’m terrified at the same time,” Bartmann said to laughs from commissioners. “The CAC did a lot of the work I usually do myself and it was great to have all that feedback and such a really clear idea of what the community wanted there.”
Bartmann was one of 11 applicants for the concession job, nine of which were interviewed. She was up against proposals from several well-known local eateries including D’Amico and Sons, Sawatdee and Sea Salt Eatery, a park concession near Minnehaha Falls.
The pool of applicants was more than double what the Park Board received during an earlier process, which caused a public outcry that lead to the CAC’s development. Commissioners credited the community group for the improved results.
Former CAC member Bruce Manning expressed his enthusiasm for the process Sept. 1. He said the community involvement was tremendous and the feedback thoughtful.
“When this kicked off almost two years ago now, there was a hullabaloo of perhaps a bad kind,” Manning said. “But I think what we can look forward to today is a hullabaloo of the good kind, a celebration of a good decision making process and excellent prospects for success of concessions at Lake Harriet.”
LRT committee to meet this month
The Park Board’s newly appointed Community Advisory Committee for Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) will meet for the first time Sept. 23, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Park Board’s administrative offices, 2117 W. River Road.
Park Board commissioners, City Council members, neighborhood associations, Mayor R.T. Rybak and County Commissioner Gail Dorfman appointed the 18-member CAC. The group will consider historical, cultural, visual, social and safety issues associated with the 14-mile Southwest LRT line.
The route will start Downtown, travel along the Kenilworth trail between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles, then stretch through St. Louis Park, Hopkins and Minnetonka, ending in Eden Prairie. It will intersect or run adjacent to Bryn Mawr Meadows, Park Siding and parkland around Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun.
The CAC is expected to meet bi-weekly into December. meetings are open to the public.