Biz buzz: Urban Bean moving

Urban Bean moving into old Muddy Waters space

Muddy Waters is moving down the street, but it turns out the corner of 24th & Lyndale won’t be without a coffee shop for long.

Urban Bean owner Greg Martin confirmed that he now holds the lease for the old Muddy Waters spot at 2401 Lyndale Ave. S., which will be home to the second Urban Bean coffee shop.  

Urban Bean spokesman Kareem Ahmed said the menu at the new Urban Bean will feature Dogwood Coffee and the same premium coffee drinks as at the existing 33rd & Bryant locale.

Extensive renovations are already underway at 2401 Lyndale, but Ahmed said the idea is to make sure “Muddy Waters customers will be comfortable” with the corner’s rebranding.

The opening of the new Urban Bean is tentatively slated for sometime in July.

Meanwhile, Muddy Waters co-owners Sarah Schrantz and Danielle De Pietto are hard at work getting their new home at 2933 Lyndale Ave. S. (formerly Jon English Hairspa) ready for an early summer opening.

In addition to a coffee bar, the new Muddy Waters will feature a full liquor bar (open until 2 a.m.), food menu and enclosed patio seating.

Schrantz said she and De Pietto have already fully staffed the new coffee bar/liquor bar/restaurant with about 40 employees — a significant leap from the seven employees who worked at the 24th & Lyndale Muddy Waters.

A crew of about a dozen workers (Schrantz included) was hard at work installing a bar along the length of the building and getting the kitchen ready to accommodate appliances early in May at the 2933 Lyndale location.

Renovation work should be completed within a couple weeks, Schrantz said, adding that she and Di Pietto hope to open the new Muddy Waters later this month or early in June.

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ReGo will soon be kicking gas at new location

At the end of the month, ReGo Electric Conversions is moving down the street into a larger facility on the property of Dan’s Nicollet Car Wash at 5925 Nicollet Ave. S. in Windom.

There are two primary reasons for the move, said co-owner Shayna Berkowitz. First, Mulroy’s Body Shop — ReGo’s current home — will soon be undergoing significant renovations, which would’ve entailed at least a temporary disruption of business.

Second, with demand for plug-in hybrid vehicles rising along with gas prices, ReGo is ready to add staff and expand.

Berkowitz said that while she and co-owner Alex Danovitch were initially unenthused about the prospect of moving, “shortly after the conversations begun, we quickly realized [the opportunity to move] is a blessing in disguise.”

ReGo, which opened last summer and last month expanded into Madison, converts hybrid vehicles into plug-in hybrid electrics. Until very recently, the company only had the capability to convert Toyota Priuses, but ReGo now converts Toyota Highlanders, Ford Fusions and Ford Escapes as well.

For a Prius, conversion from hybrid to plug-in hybrid results in at least a 40 percent increase in fuel efficiency and reduction of the car’s carbon footprint by about 4,000 pounds.

ReGo’s new location is about one-third larger than the old one and features an additional bay, meaning staff will be able to work on more conversions at once. Berkowitz and Danovitch have already hired two new employees — an installer and technical customer service representative — in preparation for the move.

The Mulroy’s location will be open through the end of the month.

Berkowitz said she and Danovitch “are probably the only ones cheering every time gas prices go up,” but added that they celebrate not just because rising fuel costs means more demand for plug-in hybrids.

“We’re a triple-bottom-line business — we’re balancing the social, environmental and financial implications of being a business,” Berkowitz said.

“We’re creating green jobs, boosting the local economy and reducing carbon emissions, and that’s ultimately why we’re doing this.”

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Bike repairs from a vending machine

Twenty-four-hour service stations make it possible for motorists to top off a tank or pick up a bottle of window washer fluid any time of day or night.

But for bicyclists, there’s really no equivalent option for 24-7 service and repairs — an inconvenience Bike Fixtation co-owners Alex Anderson and Chad DeBaker hope to remedy by dealing spare bicycle parts from vending machines at two Southwest locations.

Anderson said they had tentative agreements with The Wedge, 2105 Lyndale Ave. S., and Metro Transit to install one machine outside the natural foods cooperative and another inside the Uptown Transit Station on Hennepin Avenue above the Midtown Greenway. In early May, Bike Fixtation (bikefixtation.com) was still seeking city approvals for both locations, but Anderson expected the machines to be in place as soon as June.

He said the vending machines would be stocked with items like inner tubes, tire-patching kits and lights. Other items could include ponchos, maps and some food and drink items.

“I know I’ve needed a tube at 11 p.m.,” Anderson said.

While the machine outside of The Wedge would operate 24 hours a day, access to the second vending machine inside the Uptown Transit Station would be cut off between midnight and 5 a.m., when the station is locked.

“We’re kind of testing out these two locations because one has a lot of bicycle traffic, and that’s The Wedge, and the other location, the Uptown [Transit Station] has a lot of bicycle traffic but it’s a little less convenient to get to,” Anderson said.

He said repair stands would be installed next to the vending machines, with hex wrenches, tire levers and other tools tethered to the stands and instructions for common repairs printed on the machines. The repair stations will also include electric tire pumps, he added.

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Gardens of Eagan introducing unique CSA program

This season, the Gardens of Eagan organic vegetable farm is introducing a new Community Supported Agriculture program giving customers more choices than ever.

For $50, Gardens of Eagan will allow customers at the Midtown and Fulton farmers’ markets to purchase $55 worth of the veggies they prefer in varying quantities.

Linda Halley, general manager of Gardens of Eagan, said the new program is a response to the “pre-packed box” mentality that often prevails at CSA farms, where customers “don’t get a lot of choice if (they) get any choice at all.”

“I really think that though we may be the only ones doing (the program) this year, in a few years you will see other farms at farmers’ markets incorporating this model, because there’s more choice for members,” she said.

Twenty crops are grown on Gardens of Eagan’s 100-acre farm, which is owned by the Wedge Co-op. The $50 shares can be purchased at the Midtown market, at the Fulton market when it opens May 21 or at the Wedge’s customer service desk.

For more information, visit gardensofeagan.com.

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Little Tijuana planning mid-summer reopening

A leaking, ice-damaged roof forced Little Tijuana, 17 E. 26th St., in Whittier to close at the end of January, but the restaurant should be back up and running by mid-summer.

Co-owner Deborah Dickson said work on extensive kitchen and roof renovations should begin before the end of month, with reopening tentatively slated for about six weeks later.

Little T’s entire roof needs to be replaced, and leaks damaged some of the kitchen equipment. But since little has changed in the kitchen since the mid-1960s, complying with city code requires almost everything to be replaced.

“We’ve been operating in an old kitchen,” Dickson said. “As soon as you start changing anything, other changes needs to follow because of code issues, so we’ve got a huge project ahead.”

Dickson added that she isn’t planning to significantly overhaul Little T’s menu, which combined American staples like burgers, malts and ice cream with Mexican cuisine. And she said fans of the restaurant’s Mexican-themed 1970s murals shouldn’t fret — they haven’t been damaged and will remain plastered to the dining room walls when the restaurant reopens.

And after a winter spent wrangling with her insurance company over the water damage claim, Dickson said the sooner she can reopen, the better.

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Amore Victoria patio receives city approval

Following a divided City Council vote on April 29, Amore Victoria received final approval to install a rooftop patio.

In a 10-3 vote, Council President Barbara Johnson (4th Ward) and Council Members Meg Tuthill (10th Ward) and Diane Hofstede (3rd Ward) voted against the patio’s approval.

Co-owner Jenna Victoria said she hopes Amore Victoria’s patio will open late this summer.

Dylan Thomas contributed to this report.