Biz Buzz // Naviyas Thai Brasserie opens in Linden Hills

Naviya’s Thai Brasserie, 2812 W. 43rd St., is now open for lunch and dinner.

Naviya’s is owned by Thailand native Naviya LaBarge and her husband Kim. The two have owned two other Thai restaurants in Minneapolis under Naviya’s name. 

Naviya works as the lead cook in the new restaurant’s kitchen. She said that the authenticity of her cooking sets her cuisine apart from other Thai options in the city.

“I haven’t lived in the U.S. a long time. What I know is the way we cook food in our country, and that is how I brought it over,” she said. 

Kim was living in Texas when he met Naviya during her last day in the country back in 2001. The two stayed in touch after she returned to Thailand and eventually got married.

Kim lived in Thailand with Naviya for a couple years after their marriage, but the couple returned to the United States and eventually opened their first Thai restaurant in Grand Marais.

After two years of running a restaurant on the North Shore, Kim said that the couple came to realize that most of their business was coming from tourists from the Twin Cities. Eager to move to a metropolitan area, the couple soon moved south and opened Naviya’s Thai Kitchen in Richfield. 

The new restaurant is in the midst of a soft opening that began on Dec. 17. Kim said they will make more of an effort to publicize the new restaurant once they receive a liquor license, which he anticipates will happen around the middle of this month. 

For more information, call Naviya’s Thai Brasserie at 276-5061. 

Muddy Waters on the move

After 20-plus years at the corner of 24th & Lyndale, the Muddy Waters coffee shop will be relocating to 2933 Lyndale Ave. S. this spring. 

Sarah Schrantz, co-owner of Muddy Waters along with Danielle De Pietto, said that the decision to move the coffee shop was not an easy one to make, but that a recent 66 percent rent increase left the owners with no other choice. 

“We either had to move or we had to close. The idea of closing was so horrendous and the idea of moving seemed impossible. The [24th and Lyndale location] is an icon, but we basically had to change our mind about moving being impossible,” Schrantz said. 

Schrantz and De Pietto recently signed a long-term lease at the new location, which was formerly the home of the Jon English Hairspa. 

The 2933 Lyndale building has about four times as much square-footage as the old location. Accordingly, Schrantz said that plans call for the new Muddy Waters to feature a full liquor bar and kitchen in addition to the coffee shop. 

Schrantz and Di Pietto tentatively hope to open the new Muddy Waters by April 1, though Schrantz said that the new space “is a hot mess” right now and that renovation work has just gotten underway. 

Barrio expands into Edina

The third Barrio bar and restaurant in the Twin Cities is now open at 5036 France Ave. in Edina.

General Manager Tyler Lineburg said that the newest Barrio places more of an emphasis on the restaurant’s Latin-themed cuisine, featuring large plates, salads, and ceviches, than do the bar-driven locations in Downtown Minneapolis and Lowertown St. Paul. But like the other two, the Edina Barrio features an impressive selection of tequilas. 

The Edina Barrio is characterized by “more of a sit-down atmosphere,” Lineburg said. 

To reflect this emphasis on food, the official name of the bar and restaurant is Cocina del Barrio, or “kitchen of the neighborhood.” 

Lineburg said that 50th & France was targeted by Barrio ownership because the area “is becoming a destination for food, shopping, arts and entertainment.”

For more information, call Cocina del Barrio at 952-920-1860.

Drunken driver crashes into salon

For four years the stylists in Juut Salonspa on the busy corner of Lake & Hennepin have speculated that some day a car was bound to come barreling through their big front windows.

On the evening of Dec. 15, while the stylists were finishing up on their last customers of the day, it finally happened. A driver — allegedly drunken — plowed through the salon’s Hennepin Avenue windows, sending two pedestrians through the glass and onto the floor of the salon. 

Luckily, neither the pedestrians nor any of the roughly 20 staff and customers inside were seriously hurt, according to Andi Tarte, who runs the stylist training part of the salon. 

The crash did, however, give a jolt to the remaining customers and stylists. 

“It was like a bomb going off when this car came flying through the window,” Tarte said.

Mohamed Hassan Ali, 31, of Minneapolis, is charged in connection with the incident for driving while intoxicated, three separate counts of hit and run and driving after he had his license revoked.

Tarte said Ali tried to leave the scene through the passenger side of the car — the side that wasn’t inside the store following the crash. 

“The valet at Chino Latino across the street, when this happened, he came running over. As the driver tried to leave, the valet guy said, ‘no, wait a minute, you can’t leave.’ And he kept trying to leave and finally the valet guy just sat him down in a snow bank,” Tarte said.

Tarte said the pedestrians, a couple in their early 30s, had several cuts from the broken glass. They were able to walk out of the store, but Tarte said the woman was taken to the hospital with a concussion. 

“Thankfully and amazingly, they were not hurt seriously,” she said. 

Tarte said the salon was able to get the mess cleaned and the windows boarded up before customers arrived the next morning. She didn’t think Juut lost any appointments, but she said the store had scheduled an Aveda product sale for the two days following the crash and it wasn’t as busy as last year, likely due to people thinking the store was closed. 

Juut didn’t forget about the couple’s terrifying night. 

“Once we got the police report, we got the names of the two pedestrians, because we were so worried about them,” Tarte said. “So one of the things we did was send them each a gift card [for a free massage] from Juut with a little note that just said ‘You were in our salon once, not by choice, now we’d love to have you come back and have a nice, relaxing experience with us.’”

Tarte said the salon is exploring the possibility of crash barriers outside the two-level building to prevent someone getting hurt, should something like this happen again.

Reach Nick Halter at [email protected]