New businesses slated for 26th & Nicollet redevelopment
Redevelopment of the northwest commercial corner at 26th & Nicollet is about to get underway in earnest.
Mark Krogh, leasing agent for Java Properties, confirmed that the owners of Northeast Social and Dunn Bros have recently finalized lease agreements and are slated to open businesses this summer in the properties that used to house Azia Restaurant and Bar and Morelos Mex-Grill. Fittingly, Northeast Social’s new location will be called Eat Street Social.
Vertical Endeavors, a St. Paul-based operator of large, indoor rock-climbing facilities, is still planning to open this summer in the renovated Cedar Lake Ice & Fuel Co. building. To create parking and visibility for the business, the old Hiep Thanh Oriental Grocery building along Nicollet Ave. was demolished early this month.
Krogh said that he has completed letters of intent with two other restaurant tenants interested in moving into the old Ice & Fuel building, though he declined to name names until agreements are finalized, which should happen within a week or two.
Last fall and winter, a number of sources reported that St. Paul’s popular Blue Door Pub was close to finalizing an agreement for a restaurant at 26th & Nicollet, but whether Blue Door is one of the two tenants Krogh referred to could not be immediately confirmed.
Sam Bonin, co-owner of Northeast Social, confirmed that he and partner Joe Wagner will try to replicate the magic of their Northeast location in Southwest.
Eat Street Social “will be the same concept [as Northeast Social], but it’ll be about three times the size, so we’ll have more freedom to have parties and things of that nature,” Bonin said.
As is the case with Northeast Social, Eat Street Social will be an American-style bistro with a full bar emphasizing a farm-to-fork mentality. Patrons will be able to enjoy dining-appropriate live music featuring instruments like accordion, acoustic guitar and piano.
Plans are in place to install a large patio adjacent to the restaurant, Bonin said, adding that he hopes Eat Street Social will be “an anchor of the new development.”
Josh Dexter, owner of the Dunn Bros at 1915 Lyndale Ave. S., 329 W. 15th St. and a skyway location, said he will move his Lyndale location to 26th & Nicollet in early July.
“We’ve just never been able to do business here,” Dexter said of the Lyndale location, citing the inaccessibility of the business to southbound taffic on Lyndale as a primary reason the coffee shop has struggled while other tenants in the building like Quiznos and Fantastic Sams have closed their doors.
Dexter said the owner of the Spyhouse Coffee at 24th & Nicollet isn’t thrilled he’s moving Dunn Bros a block and a half down the street, but added that he thinks there is room in the neighborhood for both coffee shops.
Muddy Pig owners opening bar/restaurant in Fulton
This summer, the owners of one of St. Paul’s most popular bars are coming across the river and opening their second tap beer haven in Fulton.
Mark van Wie and Paul Schatz, owners of the Muddy Pig, plan to open Pig & Fiddle late this summer in the old Peason’s building off 50th & Ewing, next to the 50th Street Café.
Though he now spends most of his time on the east side of the river, van Wie actually lived in Fulton for a spell.
“It’s still a great neighborhood — there’s a reason I lived there,” he joked. “Though it’s developed and changed a lot, it still has the same feel.”
Like the Muddy Pig, Pig & Fiddle will feature a robust selection of tap beers — 36 to be exact. But the restaurant will attempt to differentiate itself from its St. Paul sister with its food concept, which will emphasize home-style European dishes.
“What would your grandmother be making if you lived in France or England? Perhaps biscuits or cassoulet. I really don’t care about nationality, but I like to have a story behind each dish and have fun with it,” van Wie said.
And though he’s excited about the opportunity to again spend time in Fulton at his new joint, van Wie acknowledged that running restaurants on both sides of the river will present challenges.
“I’m going to need a little more time — that or an unpaid intern,” he quipped.
First Djib restaurant in Minneapolis opens in Lyndale
Moussa Doualeh recently opened Goda, the first and only Djib restaurant in Minnesota, at the intersection of 34th & Nicollet in the Lyndale neighborhood.
Djibouti is a tiny coastal country on the Gulf of Aden in Northeast Africa. Wedged between Ethiopia and Somalia, Doualeh described Djibouti as a “little oasis for those countries — particularly when they have problems.”
Since coming to the U.S. from Somali in 1991, Doualeh has bounced from kitchen to kitchen across the Twin Cities, working for a time as kitchen manager at Champps. Goda is the fruit of 20 years worth of labor and diligent saving.
Djib cuisine will taste somewhat familiar to those familiar with Ethiopian food. Staples include goat dishes and kk, and most all the Afro-Djib dishes are served with robust portions of vegetables.
But Goda, which is located in the old Joy’s Kitchen building, offers more than Afro-Djib cuisine. Those looking for more familiar items can order a quarter-pound cheeseburger for $4.20, tilapia for $8.99 or a grilled cheese sandwich for $2.99. Doualeh said he’ll soon introduce breakfast and lunch menus.
Corner Table, Mozza Mia expand hours
With spring here and Minnesotans emerging from an usually long winter hibernation, two area restaurants are expanding their hours of operation.
Following a four-year hiatus, Corner Table, 4257 Nicollet Ave. S. in Kingfield, is again open for Sunday breakfast. Opening at 8 a.m., Corner Table’s Sunday breakfast menu features seasonal foods and classic breakfast staple like French toast and scrambled eggs.
Parasole’s Mozza Mia at 50th & France is now open daily at 11 a.m. for lunch. The lunch menu features lighter options like salads and sandwiches, with dinner service beginning daily at 4 p.m.
And in a true sign that spring is upon us, employees at Mozza Mia announced that baring one of old man winter’s last-ditch blasts, the restaurant’s sidewalk café should be open for both lunch and dinner by the time you read this.
Heartfelt picks up where Wonderment left off
Heartfelt, a new craft and locally made goods store for all ages, is set to open at 4306 Upton Ave. S. in Linden Hills by the end of the month.
The new store is owned by Lisa MacMartin, who was one of three co-owners of Wonderment, a children’s craft store located in the same building that closed its doors at the end of February.
Heartfelt will carry many of the handmade wooden toys and artisan items that people came to know and love at Wonderment, but will also feature products designed for adults.
“We’re not just going to be a children’s store,” MacMartin said, adding that Heartfelt will begin hosting craft classes next month.
MacMartin utilized a unique “community of lenders” model to secure financing for the new store. She spent much of the late winter working the phones, calling friends, family and acquaintances in hopes of lining up lenders.
“It’s really hard to ask people for money, but the fact I was able to do it was how I knew I was meant to [open this store],” MacMartin said.
Ultimately, 13 private lenders agreed to help get Heartfelt off the ground.
“It’s one of those opportunities that as a pure investment doesn’t really make sense, but once people saw that I had my heart into it, they thought, ‘you know, I really want a store like that in our community,’” MacMartin said. “That’s why I think the name is fitting.”
Bread & Pickle coming soon
Kim Bartmann said that her Bread & Pickle eatery should be open at the Lake Harriet Bandshell sometime before the end of April.
Bread & Pickle will serve a variety of sandwiches, salads, frozen treats and snacks (popcorn and ice cream will stay on the menu) made from locally sourced ingredients.
The eatery will open at 7 a.m. to serve breakfast and caffeinate those of you who can’t manage an early morning walk without a cup of Joe for company.
“We’re just really excited about getting it fired up and running at 7, because so many people are out on that lake early in the morning,” Bartmann said, adding that a friend of hers will offer free yoga classes around the same time Bread & Pickle opens some mornings.
Reach Aaron Rupar at [email protected] Follow Southwest Journal news on Twitter @SWJournal.