Biz buzz

Pearson’s closes, new restaurant opens

Pearson’s Edina Restaurant, a staple of the 50th & France area since 1973, sold and closed Feb. 7, then promptly reopened under new ownership.

On Feb. 10, the 50th Street Cafe opened in part of the space vacated by Pearson’s. John McCarty, the new owner, owns several other restaurants in the Twin Cities, including the New Uptown Diner in Minneapolis and the New Louisiana Cafe and Grandview Grill in St. Paul.

Pearson’s was known for Scandinavian fare such as lutefisk and Swedish meatballs. The new restaurant is keeping five of Pearson’s original recipes, at least for a little while, 50th Street Café general manager Deacon Eells said.

The first two days of business had a steady flow of customers and were “almost exactly what we’ve expected,” Eells said.

There are plans for a dinner-centric restaurant to open in the remaining space that the 50th Street Cafe is not using. Eells said several reputable restaurant owners in the Twin Cities have approached McCarty to talk about prospects, though he declined to talk specifics.


One Yoga celebrates new digs

One Yoga celebrated its new space with a grand opening party and free mini classes on Feb. 5.

The yoga studio has moved to a spot at 721 W. 26th St. — a more spacious location than its former home across the street from the Wedge Co-op on Lyndale.

One Yoga is a nonprofit studio with the mission of making yoga more accessible to people who typically wouldn’t have the means to practice. The studio offers classes on a sliding fee scale and also has an outreach program that brings yoga to other community nonprofits in the area.

“We work to make the deeper aspects of yoga available, too,” said Benjamin Vincent, one of the teachers at One Yoga.

The new studio, roughly 5,000 square feet, features two yoga rooms and artwork by local artists in the lobby. One Yoga accommodates between 65 and 100 students a day, Vincent said.

The studio has a wide variety of class offerings. For more information, visit


Blue Plate Restaurant Co. to make first foray into Uptown

The Blue Plate Restaurant Co. will be opening a new bar and grill this summer in the old Hollywood Video building at 2112 S. Hennepin Ave. in Lowry Hill.

Blue Plate co-owner Luke Shimp said the new restaurant will feature some of the Blue Plate favorites that patrons know and love from the company’s other restaurants, which include the Edina Grill, Groveland Tap in St. Paul, and the Highland and Longfellow Grills in Minneapolis. He added that ownership intends “to try and make [the new restaurant] a little more unique than the others,” though he said that the new spot’s concept and name haven’t yet been pinned down.

He did say, however, that Blue Plate’s first foray into Uptown will feature a full bar with an emphasis on craft beer, classic cocktails and kegged wine.

Renovation work on the old Hollywood Video building will begin soon. Shimp said that the building will be reduced from 8,000 to about 5,000 square-feet, a patio will be installed on the west side of the building, and parking stalls will be added.

Ownership is targeting an early July opening.


Haus Salon opens in Kingfield

Haus Salon is now open at 4240 Nicollet Ave. S. in Kingfield.

“We’re totally image-based and image-focused — we don’t have a spa. We have a photo studio and do before and after photos, so we keep a records of everyone’s look and the evolution of them,” said co-owner Charlie Brackney, who used to work as Juut’s creative director.

Brackney, 27, has risen up the ranks of the Twin Cities salon world in remarkably quick fashion.

“I kinda figured out what I wanted to do early in life, and started working at salons [in Fort Worth, Texas] when I was 15. And I’ve always wanted to own a salon so I just made it happen,” he said, adding that Haus’s financial and administrative operations are primarily handled by co-owner Jessica Reipke.

Haircuts range from $50–$100, color treatments from $50–$150. The salon also does hair extensions and smoothings.

A grand opening coupled with an in-salon art show is scheduled for the second weekend in May.

For more information about Haus, or to schedule an appointment, call the salon at 827-4287.


Wonderment closing; new craft store may soon take its place

Despite a strong six-year run at the store’s 4306 Upton Avenue S. location in Linden Hills, Wonderment is closing up shop at the end of the month.

Ultimately, Wonderment was dragged down by lackluster sales at the store’s second location off Grand Avenue in St. Paul. With the recession contributing to a decline in sales in Linden Hills, ownership decided to shut down both children’s stores.

“The Linden Hills location has been quite successful, though sales have gone down since 2007,” said Lisa MacMartin, one of the store’s three co-owners.

The store is discounting all remaining inventory — including handmade toys, games and store fixtures — in hopes of clearing everything out by the end of February.

MacMartin has been in dialogue with Wonderment’s landlord about opening a new craft store in the same location in April. She is still working to obtain financing, but said she is confident that the pieces will fall in place.

Regarding the new store, MacMartin said “it wouldn’t be Wonderment, but I envision that we would still have the hand-made wooden toys, and we’ll add artisan items and gifts for grown-ups.”


Improv meets bar trivia Sunday nights at the Brave New Workshop

Each Sunday, The Brave New Workshop, located in Lowry Hill East at 2605 Hennepin Ave. S, now hosts a night of improv and bar trivia.

“The Sunday Sunday Sunday Show” combines traditional bar trivia with the workshop’s unique brand of improv.

“We’ll have a round of trivia, then a round of improv for entertainment’s sake, then improv meshed with the trivia,” said Mike Fotis, host and director of “The Sunday Sunday Sunday Show.”

Fotis said that the “improv meshed with trivia” aspect of the show involves graduates from the workshop’s school of improv posing questions by using their skills to act out a day in the life of a historical person, reenact events, play air guitar, and so forth.

And shy people need not worry. While the show may involve some on-stage audience participation, Fotis assured prospective attendees that nobody will be forced to embarrass themselves by playing air guitar while humming “Open Arms” in order to answer the question, “what is Journey’s highest-charting single?”

The show begins every Sunday at 7 p.m. There is a $5 cover, but the comedy theater’s bar offers drinks specials during the show and the winning teams are rewarded with “uniquely mediocre prizes.”


Kitchen renovation tips at Warners’ Stellian

Nicole Curtis of the DIY Network’s, “Rehab Addict,” will be offering tips on kitchen renovations to improve a home’s chances for resale on Feb. 23 at Warners’ Stellian’s Edina location.

Curtis, an entrepreneur who rehabs old homes, will have five tips on kitchen improvement projects for those who attend her workshop at 5:30 p.m. at Warners’ Stellian, 3353 W. 70th St.

— Sarah McKenzie and Andre Eggert contributed to this report.

Biz buzz

Heidi’s reopens in Lyn-Lake

Almost a year after a fire destroyed the restaurant’s old building at 50th & Bryant, Heidi’s has reopened in the Lyn-Lake area at 2903 Lyndale Ave. S.

“We’ve slightly expanded and have a new hors d’oeuvres plate section, but otherwise we’ve kept the price points the same, and some of our signature dishes have remained on the menu,” said Steward Woodman, who co-owns the restaurant along with his wife Heidi.

One change is that the new Heidi’s features a full bar complete with “signature cocktails,” Woodman said.

The decision to move from Lynnhurst to Lyn-Lake wasn’t an easy one. Woodman said that he and his wife “started with a map with 50th & Bryant being the epicenter, worked outwards from there, looked for locations around the area, and found one that could fit our needs, as it were.”

Of course, the Lyn-Lake area that Heidi’s now calls home already features a number of established bar/restaurants like the Herkimer, Lyndale Tap House and Bryant Lake Bowl, but Heidi’s seeks to offer something a little different — fine-dining at a price reasonable enough where Uptown’s 20-somethings won’t be forced to sell plasma in order to pay for their lamb shank.

For more information, or to make reservations, check out Heidi’s website at


Liberty Frozen Custard building to become Tangletown Gardens restaurant

After almost seven years in business, owners Steve and Vicky Uhr shut down Liberty Frozen Custard and sold the store’s building at 5401 Nicollet Ave. in Tangletown.

Vicky Uhr thanked Liberty’s loyal patrons for making the store such a success, but said that she and her husband are “just kinda tired of it and need a break.”

The Uhrs sold the 5401 Nicollet property to the owners of Tangletown Gardens, and a new restaurant should be opening in the building this spring.

“It’s sad that Liberty is coming to an end, but as a company we decided to seize the opportunity,” said Scott Endres, co-owner of Tangletown Gardens.

Though he emphasized that the final conceptual details are still being worked out, Endres said that the plan is to source the restaurant’s vegetables from Tangletown Gardens’ plant farm, located about 40 minutes west of the Twin Cities.

“It’s going to be extremely farm-to-table orientated,” Endres said, adding that, like Liberty, the new restaurant will be “a neighborhood, everyday place.”

A formal announcement of the new restaurant’s name and lead chef will be coming soon, Endres said.


Urban Eatery set to open in old View space

Urban Eatery restaurant will begin a soft opening on Feb. 7 in the old View space at 2730 W. Lake St. in the Cedar-Isles-Dean neighborhood.

General Manager Rick Harpham said Urban Eatery’s menu is characterized by “taking basic traditions and giving them an urban-flare twist.” He cited roma tomato avocado pizza, lamb burgers and smoked-duck nachos as some of the “fresh and vibrant” menu offerings.

Like View, Urban Eatery is owned by Kaskaid Hospitality. Entrée price ranges remain in the $8-20 range. Urban Eatery, like its predecessor, features a full bar with happy hour specials during the late afternoon and night. The restaurant opens at 3:45 p.m. Monday–Wednesday, with lunch offerings Thursday and weekends.

Before coming to Urban Eatery, Harpham was assistant general manager at Crave’s Mall of America location. Crave is also owned by Kaskaid Hospitality.

Harphan said Urban Eatery “is completely different (from Crave) in terms of the look and feel of the environment,” though both restaurants share the same menu designer.

Urban Eatery’s grand opening is set for Valentine’s Day. For more information, or to make reservations, call the restaurant at 920-5000.


Latest Chino ad campaign is an eye catcher

Parasole Restaurant Holdings is rolling out a new Chino Latino advertising campaign involving a new level of technological sophistication and interactivity in the Twin Cities ad world.

The centerpieces of the new campaign are two large billboards located near Calhoun Square. Each features a giant, dilated eye with a smartphone-scannable QR code (QR stands for ‘quick response’) in the middle of the pupil.

Using the NeoReader smartphone application, scanning the QR code will open up videos profiling Chino’s new chef, Tuan Nguyen. Additional scans may provide coupons for free appetizers, drinks and other prizes.

Regarding the uniqueness of the QR code-centered campaign, Parasole Director of Marketing Jodi Schoenauer said “no one has done it here, and not that I know of in the Midwest either.”

Kip Clayton, Parasole vice president of business development, said the campaign represents a novel attempt to utilize increasingly popular smartphone technology as a means to engage customers.

“When you go into Chino on a Saturday night, it’s our belief that at least half of the people there are going to have smartphones. And if you look at the smartphone adoption rate over the past few years, it has gone up dramatically. There are all sorts of older guys like me who had Blackberrys but have now switched to iPhones or Droids.”


Double Danger Comics closing

Less than a year after opening its doors, Double Danger Comics & Collectibles will close at the end of February.

“It’s about not having enough sales, but mostly [closing] has to do with the harsh weather we’ve had the last couple weeks,” said Sage Spirtos, co-owner of Double Danger, located at 818 W. Lake St. in Lowry Hill East.

Though Double Danger did well during the holidays, as temperatures plunged in January, so did the number of prospective customers strolling through the store, Spirtos said. In the end, the costs associated with stocking new comics every week and leasing a commercial property near Lyn-Lake proved to be too much.

“I’m actually really disappointed, but it is what it is. I’m trying to keep it together,” Spirtos said, adding that he doesn’t yet know what he’ll be up to professionally once Double Danger closes its doors for good.

Everything at the store is being sold at a 50 percent discount through Feb. 28.


Lyndale boutique celebrates grand opening

Though it has been open since late November, the belle weather boutique celebrated its grand opening on Jan. 29, signaling to shoppers that the store “is ready to be out in the world for real,” said owner Crystal Zavada.

The store, located at 3404 Lyndale Ave. S. in CARAG, sells handmade jewelry, locally made bath products, journals, hats, scarves, bags and other “fun gifty stuff,” Zavada said.

Zavada serves as both owner and the store’s sole employee. She said her experience working at a small gift shop almost a decade ago inspired her to open belle weather.

Working at the gift shop “was one of my favorite times of my whole life,” Zavada said.

After bouncing around the corporate world and working from home as a graphic designer, Zavada decided to go “all in” and open her own store.

“Working at home was pretty lonely, but now I get to talk to people all day — or at least I got to in December,” Zavada said, alluding to the fact that January has been much slower for her store than the holidays were.

Despite the recent slowdown, Zavada said that CARAG “is awesome, everybody is so nice, and people really do try and shop local.”

For more information about belle weather, call the store at 825-2909.

Reach Aaron Rupar at [email protected]