Biz buzz

Harriet Brewing ready to roll out Belgian-style IPA

Linden Hills resident Jason Sowards is just about ready to introduce his West Side Belgian-Style India Pale Ale beer to Twin Cities bars and restaurants.

On Jan. 3, the city of Minneapolis held a public hearing regarding a microbrewing license for Sowards’ Harriet Brewing Company, which is set to become the first operational non-brewpub brewery in the city in over 30 years. Sowards said he expects to receive his license by the end of the month.

Sowards’ brewery will operate out of an industrial facility at 3036 Minnehaha Ave. in Longfellow, but he said that Southwest Minneapolis inspired him to pursue the brewery project in the first place.

“I started brewing in my garage in Linden Hills. The thing that got my confidence up about starting the brewery was being on the main thoroughfare down to [Lake Harriet]. People would come in on a regular basis and drink beer, and continually support me,” he said.

Of course, Harriet Brewing is named after the lake so near and dear to Sowards. In addition, the IPA that Sowards plans to introduce as the first publicly available Harriet beer is emblazoned with a view of the lake from the southwestern shore.

Sowards is a trained chemical engineer. Though he said he’s always had a passion for brewing, he worked as a project manager and lead engineer for a design firm after completing college. He was eventually laid off from his job, but used unemployment as an opportunity to develop a business plan for a brewery.

“When I started putting my focus into the brewery, I treated it just like any other engineering project in my life. It was the chemical engineering degree that made this all possible,” he said.

Of course, making the transition from brewing in a garage to an industrial facility has presented challenges. Sowards said he wasn’t able to scale-up his recipes proportionally, meaning that a couple trial-and-error batches were needed before he was able to identify a mixture that both lived up to his high standards and proved to be mass-producible.

A release event for the West Side Belgian-Style IPA is scheduled for Feb. 9 at the Blue Nile restaurant at 2027 East Franklin Ave. On Harriet Brewing’s website, the IPA is characterized as “an eclectic ale brewed to balance the brightest West Coast hops with a prolific Belgian yeast strain. It pours light copper with a vigorous white head. Subtle malt gives way to a fruity, citrusy and slightly spicy aroma and flavor.”

Sowards said that in addition to the IPA, he plans to introduce a Belgian-style Dubbel and a German-style lager under the Harriet label in the near future.

For more information about Harriet Brewing, check out the company’s website at


Nadeau furniture opens in Uptown

Minnesota’s first Nadeau furniture store is now open in the heart of Uptown at 2756 Hennepin Ave. S.

The store specializes in selling imported, hand-painted and hand-stained furniture from India and Indonesia at reasonable price-points. None of Nadeau’s products are manufactured using particle board.

Items sold at the store include chairs, cabinets, dressers and Asian ornaments, among others.

Trevor Peterson, general manager of the Uptown Nadeau, said that the company has direct relationships with vendors in Asia.

“We receive two container shipments a month, so it’s going to be an ever-changing array of furniture,” he said.

The company has 15 stores throughout the country. Founded in 1992, Nadeau’s started off in Los Angeles as a warehouse-style furniture wholesaler. The first retail location opened in 1999, and the business grew rapidly from there, with eight retail storefronts opening throughout the country within the next two years.

According to the company’s website, Nadeau is now the fastest growing independent furniture retailer in the nation.

Peterson said that he first became interested in Nadeau as a furniture shopper living in Miami.

After a three-year stint in south Florida, Peterson was laid-off from his job. Out of work, he decided he wasn’t a fan of the balmy Miami weather and ended up moving back to his childhood home of Minneapolis, where he hoped to open a Nadeau’s.

“I contacted [Nadeau ownership] to see if they franchise, but they don’t, all the stores are corporate-owned. But the closest store is in Chicago, and [ownership] ended up finding a location that best suits their style in the [Uptown] neighborhood,” he said.

For more information about Nadeau, including photos and prices of items sold at the Uptown store, check out the company’s website at


Jack’s open following remodel and expansion

Jack’s has reinvented itself as a full-service eatery serving wine and beer.

The coffee business that patrons got to know under the establishment’s former name of Java Jack’s hasn’t gone anywhere, but the name change was accompanied by a complete remodel and expansion of Jack’s 818 W. 46th St. building in East Harriet.

 “Chef Stephanie Hedrick’s menu features an interesting twist on classic Americana, with a focus on fresh ingredients in tribute to the bounty of local farms. We are smoking, salt curing and brining our own meats, cheeses, mustards, and preserves,” says a press release publicizing the reinvention.

“Staying true to its roots, Jack’s continues to be a pit stop for your daily caffeine fix with the usual delicious coffee drinks and a greater abundance of house-made baked goods, and then transitions throughout the day to include fresh-made lunch offerings and a full menu for dinner,” the release adds.

Sous Chef Adam Beal said that customers report that Jack’s burgers are “phenomenal,” though he modestly deflected all credit and instead attributed the burgers’ quality to the locally sourced meats used in Jack’s kitchen.

Beal emphasized that Jack’s is a chef-driven restaurant with no front-house management.

For more information, call Jack’s at 825-2183.


Rove Arounds shuts its doors, will continue online

Rove Arounds, a custom clothing boutique for women and children at 43rd & Upton in Linden Hills, has shut its doors.

Owner Tamah Burke will continue selling her handmade clothing online, but said that the demands of running Rove Arounds by herself combined with the store’s struggle to turn a profit forced her to close up shop.

“I’m production, marketing, retail, everything. I can’t clone myself. It’s a one person operation — thus the closing necessity,” she said.

The Southwest Journal tracked Rove Arounds throughout 2010 as part of the “Year One” series on local entrepreneurs. When we last checked in with Burke in December, she acknowledged that the store was struggling and said that Minneapolitans didn’t seem to support the shop-local ideology as much as she thought they might before opening the store.

Reached for comment a couple weeks before the store’s Jan. 22 closing, she also attributed the store’s demise to the broader economic downturn.

The closing “has a lot to do with outside circumstances that are hard to control, mainly the economy,” she said.

Burke will continue to sell children’s clothing at and women’s clothing at


New home improvement store opens in Windom

The Builder’s Choice Design Center is now open at 5460 Nicollet Ave. S.  

Cabinet Sales Manager Jessica Sybrant said that in terms of product selection, the store is similar to other home improvement stores such as Menards, but with more of an emphasis on customer service.

“We have nice cabinet displays, countertops, hardware, we specialize in Marvin Windows, and we also offer interior doors, exterior doors and do mill work,” she said.

For more information, call the design center at 767-7000.

Reach Aaron Rupar at