Biz buzz // Lake Wine & Cheese opens doors to big selection

Lake Wine & Cheese opened its doors Oct. 1, revealing to the Lyn-Lake area 800 varieties of wine, 500 to 1,000 beer selections and a deli packed with meat and cheese.

Binh and Christina Le own the store. They also own a couple restaurants at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Metro Liquor Warehouse in St. Paul. The couple bought and renovated the old G & L Furniture store at 404 W. Lake St.

The owners went for a European market feel. A hand-painted mural of Italy decorates one wall; Swedish imported chandeliers made of wine glasses hang above the wine selection and chalk signs point shoppers toward a slice of sausage or bottle of Cabernet.

“We wanted to make it feel like you’re on a street or in a market,” Binh Le said.

Inside the 5,000 square-foot store shoppers can find rare beers from Spain and Vietnam, an extensive liquor selection, sake and organic wine, as well as the regulars of a liquor store.

There’s also a 450-square foot deli that sells cheese, chocolate, fresh bread, crackers, olives, meats, bulk salt and honey.

You may recognize the cheese monger as Ken Liss, who owned Premier Cheese Market at 50th and France before it closed in December.

Liss, who will also manage the store, said the offerings at Lake Wine & Cheese will be nearly the same as the Premier Cheese Market. But now that he’s working in a liquor store, he’s excited to help customers pair food and beverages.

“We can help you pair wine, beer and spirits with cheese,” he said.

Binh Le said the store will hold regular wine, beer and cheese tastings. For more information, visit


Crate and Barrel’s urban store, CB2, could be newest Calhoun Square tenant

Calhoun Square is pursuing Crate and Barrel’s urban-focused sister store, CB2, as its newest anchor, according to the mall’s spokesperson.

Calhoun Square has submitted a proposal to the city’s Planning Commission to build a one-level store for the home furnishings retailer just south of the mall.

The CB2 store would not be built in the existing Calhoun Square, but would be constructed on adjoining property just south of the mall on the northeast corner of Hennepin Avenue and West 31st Street. That is the site where a vacant two-level building sits. That building would be demolished, under the plans.

Calhoun Square will need to re-apply for zoning changes that had been approved by the city in order to build the one-level store. In 2008 the mall was approved to build on that site a five-level mixed-use building with the bottom two levels for commercial and top three levels for residential.

Calhoun Area Residents Action Group’s outgoing president, Aaron Rubenstein, said he has met with Calhoun Square officials to discuss the project. Rubenstein said he hopes there is more community discussion on the project before it goes to a vote by the City Planning Commission on Nov. 15.

He said he is concerned that the project might not fit with the Uptown Small Area Plan, which was adopted in 2008 and calls for taller buildings to be constructed in the heart of Uptown.

Calhoun Square is almost done with a $20 million renovation that started two years ago. Management is working on filling about 40,000 square feet of vacant space inside the existing mall.

The first CB2 opened in Chicago in 2000.


Chinese/Japanese buffet opens at Nicollet and Lake

As if a buffet full of delicious Chinese food wasn’t enough, Hibachi Buffet, 111 E. Lake St., is offering customers a full sushi bar and a Benihana-style Hibachi grill where you can pick out your own raw meat and watch it sizzle.

Manager Shuo Chen said combining Hibachi with a Chinese buffet has been gaining popularity.

The new buffet offers all the traditional Chinese and American options like General Tso’s chicken, crab rangoon, fried rice and a full salad bar. But it also offers some less common items like mussels, flavorful mayonnaise shrimp and walleye.

“We really feel like this area needed a buffet,” Chen said of the Nicollet Avenue-Lake Street intersection.

Lunch buffets cost $8.35 and dinner buffets cost $12.90. They include Hibachi, sushi and soda.


Kings Wine Bar & Restaurant hires new chef, unveils new menu

Kings Wine Bar & Restaurant, 4555 Grand Ave. S., announced Oct. 3 that they have hired chef Chad Reilander.

Reilander, according to press release, has re-made the Kings menu. It will feature food from local farms, serve grass-fed beef and in-house catsup and jams. Items on the new menu include P.L.T. sandwiches (pancetta, tomato, mixed greens and garlic aioli); small bites duck sausage blue corndogs; garlic shrimp; pot roast and fresh fettuccini with roasted brussel sprouts and carrots, smokes almonds and bacon.

Reilander learned under Chef Mike Phillips of Chet’s Taverna in St. Paul and has also cooked at restaurants in Pennsylvania, Wabasha and Winona.

For more information, visit


New nail/hair salon opens at 38th and Nicollet

Lupita’s Nails and Hair Salon, 3743 Nicollet Ave. S., held its grand opening Oct. 9–10.

The salon is the second for couple Eloy and Rocio Bravo, who also own a Lupita’s at 1311 E. Lake St. That location has been open for five years.

The salon offers a full range of hair and nail services. It is offering manicures and pedicures for $30 during October.

Walk-ins are welcome and appointments can be made by calling 612-827-2081.


Museum of Russian Art opening Mall of America store

The Museum of Russian Art, 5500 Stevens Ave. S., is opening a gift shop on the first floor of Mall of America.

The store, Izba, offers a wide range of Russian gifts, including hand-crafted decorative art pieces, fine collectibles, home furnishings, original paintings, jewelry, lacquer art, art books, specialty teas, matryoshkas (nesting dolls), and art-inspired children’s books and toys.

Uptown HallowEve Festival set for Oct. 30

The Uptown Association and Calhoun Square are partnering to hold the first ever HallowEve festival from 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 30.

Participants will be able to trick-or-treat at area businesses, take part in costume contests and watch a celebrity pumpkin-carving contest. The event also features face painting and live entertainment.

Attendees can check-in at the Calhoun Square atrium.

Reach Nick Halter at [email protected]