Redevelopment of the northwest commercial corner at Nicollet Avenue South and West 26th Street is about to get underway in earnest.
Mark Krogh, leasing agent for Java Properties, confirmed that Northeast Social and Dunn Bros have recently finalized lease agreements, with the businesses slated to open 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. will be demolished, with demolition work slated to commence within days.
Finally, 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 Nicollet and 26th, but whether Blue Door is one of the two tenants Krogh referred to could not be immediately confirmed.
Eat Street Social
Sam Bonin, co-owner of Northeast Social, confirmed that he and partner Joe Wagner will open Eat Street Social at Nicollet and 26th sometime late this summer.
“It’ll 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 the Northeast location, 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.
Bonin added that plans are in place to install a large patio adjacent to the restaurant.
“We hope to be an anchor of the new development,” he said.
Josh Dexter, owner of the Dunn Bros at 1915 Lyndale Ave. S., 329 W. 15th St. and a skyway location near Marquette and 5th, said he will move his Lyndale location to Nicollet and 26th in early July.
“We’ve just never been able to do business here,” Dexter said of the Lyndale Ave. 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 shop at Nicollet and 24th 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.