Biz buzz // Shorty and Wags closes

Closed after three decades: Shorty & Wags

KINGFIELD — When Harold “Shorty” Prebish served his first chicken wing from the corner of 38th & Nicollet, Jimmy Carter was president, disco was all the rage and the Minnesota Vikings were suffering through a frustrating losing season.

OK, so perhaps not much has changed about the local NFL team during the past 32 years. But Prebish’s Shorty & Wags Original Chicken Wings has certainly enjoyed a long and storied run serving some of the tastiest fried chicken in Southwest.

On Oct. 30, Prebish, 72, closed down Shorty & Wags. Sales remained strong until the end — in fact, as news of the imminent closing circulated, Wags occasionally ran out of wings before closing time — but Prebish is retiring from full-time work and decided to sell the commercial building at 3753 Nicollet Ave. S.

“I’m just getting burned out with the fast pace,” Prebish said. “We sell a lot of wings here, and go through a lot to make this happen.”

But don’t expect to find Prebish relaxing on a beach anytime soon. “Retirement,” for him, consists of moving north with his girlfriend to Longville, Minn., and opening a new chicken wing joint in Cass County perhaps as soon as next spring.

Prebish is unsentimental about the end of his three-decade-plus run at 38th & Nicollet.

Asked in mid-October what he anticipates feeling during Wags’ last day, he said he’s “not going to be crying.” In fact, Prebish said he’s looking forward to closing up shop and moving north.

But his girlfriend, Kerry Johnsen, said Wags’ closing is “sad for the customers,” many of whom have been enjoying Prebish’s wings for much of their lives.

Prebish surely hasn’t seen the last of many Wags’ regulars. He said numerous customers have approached him and said they look forward to again enjoying his fried okra, catfish, chicken gizzards and corn muffins while vacationing once he reopens in the north woods.

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Now open: India Home Décor and Gifts by Geetanjoli

CARAG — Mary Kumar’s unique path to entrepreneurial success began more than two decades ago when her young daughter, living in Minneapolis, decided to pursue traditional Indian dancing.

“There was no place to find costumes for her,” Kumar explained, so she began having Indian clothes either imported or shipped to town from places like New York City.

The clothes proved to be a hit, both on and off the dance floor.

“My daughter would tell me everybody wanted what she was wearing, and they would say ‘you have to bring these things to Minneapolis,’” Kumar said.

Sensing a business opportunity, Kumar began selling Indian clothes out of her house. Years later, she opened a store in Midtown Global Market. Strong sales allowed her to open Geetanjoli Sari Fashion on the second floor of Calhoun Square last year, and now she’s following up that success with the opening of India Home Décor and Gifts by Geetanjoli, her second store in Calhoun Square.

Kumar, reached for comment while on a buying trip in India, said her latest store offers authentic handmade chairs, rugs, pillows, custom curtains and cabinets. Books and CDs on culture, health and spiritual knowledge are also sold.

For more information, check out geetanjoilifashion.com.

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Opening soon: My Burger

WEST CALHOUN — My Burger is expanding out of the skyway and into Southwest.

Co-owner John Abdo confirmed that his restaurant has signed a lease in a newly constructed commercial property at 3100 Excelsior Boulevard. The site used to be the home of the Boulevard Gardens.

Slated for opening sometime in November, the Excelsior restaurant will be the second My Burger in Minneapolis. The restaurant’s original location opened in 2004 in the skyway at 6th & Marquette.

Running a 900-square-foot restaurant in the skyway presents unique challenges. For one, since most of My Burger’s Downtown clientele are workers on lunch breaks, the skyway restaurant only stays open until 3 p.m. and closes on the weekends. By contrast, the 1,700-square-foot Southwest location will be open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Although the Southwest My Burger is larger and will be open later than its Downtown counterpart, the menu will be the same. Abdo characterized his restaurant as “a classic burger, fries and malt joint.” My Burger serves never-frozen 100 percent Angus beef and buns sourced from a local bakery.

“To begin with, we want to make sure we’re doing something we know how to do,” Abdo said. “But as our customers look for it, we’ll slowly expand the menu.”

For more information, check out My Burger’s website at myburgerusa.com.

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Unveiled: New mural at South Lyndale Liquors

LYNNHURST — Erin Sayer has had her artwork displayed inside South Lyndale Liquors, 765 W. 53rd St., for two years, but now it can be found decorating the outside of the establishment, too.

The store recently took down its previous mural due to a conflict with city ordinance. Under the ordinance a business may not use any theme for a mural that relates to its merchandise, so the wine and vineyards displayed on the store had to go.

Sayer, owner of the Cult Status Gallery in Whittier, brought this into consideration when designing the new mural.

“I decided to go with a Prohibition theme,” Sayer said. “I really enjoy the style, fashion and colors of that era.”

Sayer painted four murals on the south side of the store, facing the parking lot. Along the street side of the building her artwork is more geared toward the owner.

“Tobias is the owner’s dog and a local legend,” she explained. “He had to make an appearance.

Sayer’s painting depicts Tobias riding in the sidecar of a motorcycle, in homage to activities done with the store’s owner.

The texture of the brick wall posed a bit of a challenge for Sayer. She used spray paint instead of a brush and it gives the building an authentic feel.

“It’s the first time I have used spray paint on such a big scale,” Sayer said. “I’m glad it turned out.”

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Now open: Two Little Free Libraries

LINDEN HILLS — Settergren Ace Hardware, 2318 W. 43rd St., recently became the second place in Southwest where you can find a Little Free Library.

The wooden, bird feeder-like structures feature a storage compartment designed to store books. Passersby can take and leave books at their leisure, free of charge.

Another Little Free Library can be found in front of the Soo Visual Arts Center, 2638 Lyndale Ave. S. in the Wedge.

Just days after installation, Settergren said there was already a mix of 14 eclectic books populating the curious wooden structure.

“I just like the whole concept of it,” he said. “To me, it’s what we’re missing in the world.”

Little Free Libraries is a Hudson and Madison, Wisc.-based nonprofit that aims to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.

Co-founder Todd Bol said his organization particularly focuses on installing free libraries in community where funding for public libraries is in jeopardy or declining.

“They’re a great way for books to come out of their dusty bookshelves and dance,” he said. “We’re always trying to find the best and smartest seed in a community to help with literacy.”

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Noted

— According to a number of reports, Greco property management is planning a mixed-use development featuring 170 market-rate apartments on the long-vacant 2900 Lyndale Ave. S. property in the Wedge. Greco’s plan has yet to be reviewed by the city.

— Pig & Fiddle is now open at 3812 W. 50th St. in Fulton. The bar and restaurant serves 36 craft and local taps and European-themed pub food. Co-owners Mark van Wie and Paul Schatz will be profiled in the next Southwest Journal.

Josh Wolanin contributed to this report.