Biz buzz // World Street Kitchen gears up for new restaurant

WHITTIER — The World Street Kitchen isn’t afraid of the word “fast food.” So in mid-November, the food truck is morphing into a brick-and-mortar fast-food restaurant in the Greenleaf building at 28th & Lyndale.

“There are a few items where if you take them off the menu you receive death threats,” said Sameh Wadi, who runs the food truck with his brother Saed. “Now we can solve that problem.” 

He said WSK fans typically split 50/50 over their allegiance to the Bangkok Burrito or the Yum Yum Rice Bowl, and both of them will be on the menu in Uptown as part of a limited, rotating menu. All dishes are prepped to serve in 15 minutes or less per ticket, and all will cost about $9 or less. 

One new idea for the menu is a falafel burger with sweet onions, sumac, Turkish pickles and tahini.

“It’s fine-dining cooking, but we’re cooking street food,” Wadi said, explaining that WSK will prepare everything from scratch, making its own yogurt and curing its own meats. Wadi said he also picked up a soft-serve machine that’s “more expensive than my car.”

The restaurant will feature a long counter with a view straight into the back of the kitchen. Lamplight above booths and a communal table is made from reclaimed materials:  old caps of CO2 canisters, champagne buckets and a stainless steel drum. The lumber is reclaimed as well, made from old highway dividers in Montana.

“It’s kind of a raw, urban industrial vibe,” Wadi said.

The restaurant’s new chef is Matt Eisele, formerly of Bulldog. He spent five years at Cosmos, starting on the line and working his way up. 

“I learned a lot and learned it fast,” he said. 

The restaurant is a long time coming. Wadi was looking at spaces even before he opened the food truck, and he started sketching restaurant layouts in 2011. He said this will be a definite departure from Saffron, the restaurant he also opened with Saed in 2007. 

“If Saffron is the real pretty girl, this is the brother, who is really rugged and manly and talks a lot of sh**,” he said.

Gallery relocating on Lyndale 

WHITTIER — Regla de Oro gallery is moving down the street to World Street Kitchen’s new block this month, relocating to a space at 2743 Lyndale Ave. S. 

The new storefront will offer an expanded inventory of fair-trade gifts, and it will have special event space for presentations, book-signings or even puppet shows.

The gallery will continue hosting special events that double as fundraisers to benefit nonprofits in social justice and arts education. 

National champion offers rowing classes 

TANGLETOWN — Dori Johnson is a U.S. National Champion in rowing, and she moved to Minneapolis in 1997 so her husband, also a rower, could train for the 2000 Olympics. So she is awfully qualified to teach new “RowSculpt” classes at Tangletown CrossFit, 4632 Nicollet Ave. 

“It will be interesting to see how this takes off,” said Johnson. 

You may have already spotted Johnson out on the water at Lake Nokomis or Lake Harriet last summer — she started “Paddle Sculpt” classes this year, in which participants stand on boards and paddle out into the middle of the lakes for push-ups, sit-ups and paddling exercises that work the core. By the end of the summer, Johnson joked that she was “farmer strong” from schlepping boards in and out of her Yukon for class. 

Johnson’s new hour-long indoor rowing classes teach efficient paddle strokes that create a full-body workout, stressing several muscle groups. The classes also use other parts of the gym to break up the workout. 

Johnson has a background in human resources. But as her young children started school, she was less than excited about heading back to an office environment. 

“I’m trying to make it work this way,” she said. 

Rowing classes are a local novelty at the moment, but they could become more common: an indoor rowing studio recently opened in an Atlanta suburb, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that rowing is becoming a nationwide trend in group fitness. 

Five-week sessions start Nov. 12. Instructors include Johnson and her husband, as well as James Dundon, a Southwest High School teacher. Dundon coaches the school’s Nordic Ski Team, and also coaches and competes with the Minneapolis Rowing Club. For more information, visit

Book publisher goes solar 

LYNNHURST — A children’s book publisher is installing solar panels on its roof — for the second time. 

Founder John Martin said he wanted to expand the business’s original system, which provided about 75 percent of the electricity for the building. 

“This new one will get us pretty close to self-sufficiency,” he said. 

Bellwether Media creates nonfiction books for school libraries, and its distribution reaches all 50 states, Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East. 

The company is a longtime environmental advocate. Martin owns an electric car, and the company’s electric car-charging station is available to the public at 5357 Penn Ave. S.

Martin said the investment in solar panels is environmental, but also economical. 

“When you purchase electricity at today’s rate forever, that’s a good hedge against future rises in energy costs,” he said. 

Bellwether currently has 130 books in production. That’s about 50 more than usual, feeding a high demand for books focused on struggling readers. Book topics range from “Mighty Machines” like big rigs and backhoes, to animals like sharks and horse breeds. A series on “The Unexplained” covers topics like ghosts and ESP. Martin said the hottest nonfiction topic is exotic animals. 

“A lot of boys really gravitate to non-fictional texts,” Martin said. “It’s the way I was as a kid, so it’s the perfect job for me to be in.” 

Goodwill adding new store on Nicollet 

WINDOM — Goodwill is moving fast to expand its reach in Minneapolis, announcing plans to open a second new store at the site of the shuttered Perkins at 6023 Nicollet Ave. 

“This is the first of several stores we are going to open in the Minneapolis area,” said Debbie Ferry, vice president of sales and operations. 

Goodwill recently proposed another two-story store at the 3000 block of Lyndale, the current site of a vacant home and the H Design Salon building. The company is reacting to new city rules allowing more closely spaced secondhand stores. 

The new Windom store would feature walls of glass looking into the sales floor. 

A driveway would lead to an enclosed drop-off area for donors. Bright lighting would illuminate the parking area and the Nicollet side of the site. 

Developer Stephen Wellington Jr. said Goodwill would strengthen the area’s retail environment.

“It’s important to draw people to that intersection,” he said.

Pending city approval, Goodwill expects to open the store sometime next summer, following the demolition of Perkins and six months of construction.

Windom residents were receptive to the plans at an Oct. 15 board meeting.

“I think this looks great, and it’s going to be welcomed in the neighborhood,” one resident said. 

Dessa unveils charitable lipstick line 

UPTOWN — Southwest resident Dessa of Doomtree collaborated with Northeast cosmetics shop The Elixery to develop a brick red lipstick released this fall. 

Dessa is donating her cut of the profits to CARE’s Power Within program, which educates girls in the poorest developing countries.

“In college, I wrote my final thesis on the philosophy of Martha Nussbaum,” said Dessa in a press release. “Studying her theories I learned about the surprising consequences of educating girls, consequences which compound and refract through entire societies. Educating women often changes marital age and birthrates, and employed women demonstrate different spending patterns than employed men. Ten years after having studied the philosophy of this stuff, I couldn’t be more excited to actually make a real-world contribution.”

The Elixery formulates and compounds its products in-house, and all of the vegan ingredients are free of animal testing.

According to The Elixery, Dessa wanted a red lipstick that wouldn’t look pink on her golden skin. The end result was a red lipstick with a yellow undertone, designed to be universally flattering.

Now open: LUSH cosmetics 

50th & FRANCE — LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics is now open at 3915 W. 50th St. in Edina. 

The shop’s original store is located at the Mall of America. At the new Edina store, customers are encouraged to sit down at a kitchen table with one of LUSH’s beauty experts for consultations.

LUSH has been around for 17 years, and it has more than 800 locations nationwide. Its cosmetics are made from organic fruits and vegetables, essential oils, and other sustainable ingredients.


Allure Magazine named Honeycomb Salon the best spot for waxing in Minneapolis, calling the work “meticulous, whether you want a full-on Brazilian or just a bit off the sides.” In the same “Best of the Best” list, Allure highlighted Bespoke Hair Artisans near 50th & France for best blowout, and the “pocket-size” Polished Nail Boutique for best nails at 4306 Bryant Ave. S. Sonja Eileen Aesthetics near 48th & Chicago earned best facials, and Haus at 4240 Nicollet Ave. took the best haircut.

Got a buzz tip? Email Michelle Bruch at [email protected]