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74 posts categorized "barfly buzz"

March 31, 2015

Newt's South ready to start cooking

Editor's note - Tip of the hat to Sean Baker of the Med City Beat for reporting on this opening first. Keep up the good work.

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The new Newt's South will open its doors at 11 a.m. Wednesday, which brings the Currie brothers tally of Rochester restaurants to nine.

Restaurateurs David and Mark Currie built their latest restaurant/bar in front of Rochester's Crossroads Shopping Center.

It's serving the same full Newt's menu that's served at the original downtown Newt's, Newt's North and Newt's Express. However, this new Newt's will have 20 beers oNewtssouthatcrossroadsn tap, more than the other locations. Plus it will not serve breakfast, like Newt's North does.

The Curries have a team of about 30 staffing the new Crossroads location. That's brings the grand total of their Rochester employees to 172. That includes the four Newt's, two City Markets, City Cafe, 300 First and the Redwood Room.

"People seem really excited about it. We've had a steady stream of people coming up to the doors, since we put the signs up," said David Currie.

They built this new Newt's on the former location of Tasos Psomas' Pannekoeken Huis restaurant between the Andy's Liquor store and Home Federal Savings Bank.

Tom Graf bought Pannekoeken and demolished it in 2011 with the intention to build a second Buffalo Wild Wings. However, a legal battle with the Crossroads Shopping Center over parked quashed that plan. That's when the Curries came into the picture.

This is the first restaurant they've built from the ground up, though it looks a lot like the unusual, angular Wallins West building that houses Newt's North. That Newt's opened at 5231 U.S. 52 Frontage Road NW in 2011.

"That was very purposeful," said David Currie on Tuesday. "It is our intention to create brand standard look."

While haven't decided anything yet, the brothers are mulling over the possibility of the opening a Newt's outside of Rochester. Of course, they still have plenty on their plates in Rochester at the moment.

"It keeps us busy," he said.

March 25, 2015

Upscale craft beer pub to open in northwest Rochester

A Crooked Pint Ale House is on tap to open soon in Rochester's former Green Mill Restaurant building.

Green Mill Restaurants CEO and Crooked Pint franchisor Paul Dzubnar announced this week that the "nouveau urban pub with a local neighborhood feel" is scheduled to open on April 21 at 2723 Commerce Drive NW.

Dzubner built the 6,800-square-foot restaurant in 2006 and still owns the building. The Green Mill operated there until it abruptly closed Jan. 1.

Place_18269"Even though the Green Mill closed, we still think Rochester is a great restaurant market. We want to get right back out in front of the market," Dzubnar said on Tuesday. "I think the people of Rochester have a very good palate."

He cited the poor timing of Green Mill's opening just as the recession started and the resulting development hiatus as contributing to the restaurant's failure. The resurgence of development along West Circle Drive and Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative makes it much more favorable to launch a new concept now, he said.

Construction crews have been revamping the restaurant for weeks. It is expected to employ between 65 and 70 people, about the same that Green Mill did.

This will be the third Crooked Pint in Minnesota and the first outside of the Twin Cities metro area. Jeremy Brown owns the Rochester Crooked Pint as well as one in Apple Valley.

“Everything at Crooked Pint is the real deal, from the menu to the furnishings to all of the local craft beers,” Brown said in an announcement.

Dzubner described the Crooked Pint concept as catering to the growing craft beer trend, while serving "upscale pub fare," like stuffed burgers, homemade tater tots and stuffed pickles.

"We think this concept is really good. While the food is upscale, it's very affordable. We offer a daily $6 burger basket lunch special," he said.

From the bar, the Crooked Pint offers 30 local and regional craft beers on tap as well as 20 wines available by the glass. It also will serve a variety of high-end bourbons and scotches.

Plans call for up to 10 more Crooked Pint locations to open in the next three years.

“Rochester is growing with a mix of business and residential, providing a great backdrop for this fabulous concept. We are excited for Crooked Pint to join the community,” Brown said.

March 17, 2015

O'Neill's Pizza goes dark before the wearing of the green

Instead of St. Paddy's green, things are blue at Rochester's O'Neill's Pizza Pub.

The popular Irish-flavored spot at 1201 S. Broadway in the Crossroads Shopping Center closed its doors for good on Saturday, after an early St. Patrick's Day party.

O'neill's"We've been happy there for 10 and half years. We've been happy with our customer base there," said Shannon O'Neill, one of the owners of the family business. "Our lease is done, so we decided to close."

She owns O'Neill's with Erin O'Neill, Brian O'Neill and Phyllis O'Neill.

O'Neill's Pizza Pub moved to that spot, the former home of the Face The Music store, in late 2004. The family originally launched the eatery in 1999 at 7 Second St. S.W. That's the former bank building, where Goonie's Comedy Club is located.

AfteroneillsOne of its pizza slingers, Cam Kvittem, made news in 2012 when he was named the second best dough slinger in Minnesota.

"If he had been able to use to the dough for our cracker crust, I'm sure Cam would have gone all the way to first," said Shannon O'Neill at that time.

Shannon O'Neill said this week that this latest closing might not be the final end of the business and it could possibly be re-kindled in Rochester. She said the family is considering starting looking for a new location, though it's too early to even consider that at this point.

March 06, 2015

10 years of blogging Rochester

On March 4, 2005, I wrote my first blog post. Kiger's Notebook blogo 2x

It was my sixth year at the Post-Bulletin. I created the "Heard on the Street" column about three years before the blog began. 

More  than 6,200 posts, stacks of columns, mountains of tweets and many gray hairs later, I'm still here writing about business and things vaguely related to businesPhoto on 2015-03-03 at 18.11s in southeastern Minnesota.

It'syou, the readers, who make this career such a fulfilling and entertaining one. Thank you everyone for your feedback, criticism and support over these past 10 years. 

10 years of blogging Rochester

On March 4, 2005, I wrote my first blog post.Kiger's Notebook blogo 2x

It was my siPhoto on 2015-03-03 at 18.11xth year at the Post-Bulletin. I created the "Heard on the Street" column about three years before the blog began. 

More than 6,200 posts, stacks of columns, mountains of tweets and many gray hairs later, I'm still here writing about business and things vaguely related to business in southeastern Minnesota.

It's you, the readers, who make this career such a fulfilling and entertaining one. Thank you everyone for your feedback, criticism and support over these past 10 years.  

February 19, 2015

Forager Brewing Co. on tap for Kutzky neighborhood

Here's some from my article today about a proposed brewery/coffee house/wood fired pizza shop and local market.

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A new project promises to bring a small batch brewery, wood fired pizzas, a coffee shop and more to Rochester's Kutzky neighborhood by this summer.

Foragersketch1The plan is to transform 5,000-square-feet of the former Good Food Store building at 1005 Sixth Street NW into The Kutzky Market. Spearheaded by majority owner Annie Henderson, the concept is to bring together a coffee shop, brewery/restaurant, a leasable commercial kitchen, and a local retail market.

"With everything going on with DMC (Destination Medical Center initiative) and the hype around downtown, we decided to look in the core neighborhoods," said Henderson. "We wanted it to be something community based and neighborhood based, but still walkable from a lot of people's houses."

The building has been empty since the Good Food Store closed in 2013 and merged with the People's Food Cooperative in downtown Rochester.

Kutzky Market has a lot of permits and construction yet to get through before it becomes a reality. She estimates it should be ready to open sometime this summer. Some interior demolition has already started and the hope is for construction to start in earnest in March.

The main piece of this new project is Forager Brewing Co. as well as its daytime counterpart, Kutzky Coffee. Head brewer and part owner Austin Jevne will run Forager, where he will produce small batches of beer using local ingredients. The name of the brewer comes from the fact that many of the ingredients that Jevne uses are foraged from the southeastern Minnesota countryside.

Jevne the brewer and Henderson the visionary were connected by the owners of the Thirsty Belgium bar, where Jevne worked.

"It's kind of a perfect match," she said. "Austin already had that name (Forager) in mind. We thought it was a really cool name and now it's become a big part of our identity.

The conversation started about mid-January and now about month later, Kutzky Market is moving ahead.

Forager will also be a full restaurant with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients. A large wood-fired oven will be used for many of Chef Jordan Bell's dishes, including pizzas. Bell comes to Forager from the popular Nosh Bar & Restaurant in Lake City.

Another owner, Rochester architect Adam Ferrari describes Forager as "the Farmer's Market approach to beer making and pizza."

During the day, the restaurant space will serve as the Kutzky Coffee shop.

Henderson's vision also includes The Kitchen, a commercial kitchen available for lease.

"Say you want to make things to sell at the Farmer's Market. You could lease the Kitchen for that and you could also sell your things in our retail market," she said.

The Kutzky Market will focus on locally created goods, including foods created by Chef Bell.

And then there's the artistic piece. Henderson is very active with various downtown Rochester groups, including the C4 art salon, so she intends to have periodic artists-in-residence as well as three walls for the display of local art.

Forager will also feature a piece of Rochester history. The group purchased the bar from Pappageorge Taverna at the recent auction of the furnishing, art and equipment from Michaels restaurant.

"This is a marriage of all of these different fun, entrepreneurial uses under one roof," said Ferrari of the whole project.

January 27, 2015

Options abound for one of Rochester's oldest storefronts

While many are speculating about the future of a 129-year-old building in the heart of Rochester's downtown, the owners say they haven't locked down a plan yet.

549b9e10ed075.imageThe long-empty former Paine Furniture store at 313 S. Broadway was purchased by local developers Hal Henderson and Grant Michelitz in November. The deal also included the attached 309 S. Broadway building now occupied by Big Brad's bar on Broadway.

Some renovation work and installation of new windows is being done on the second floor, said Henderson. They also hope to build a skyway across the alley to connect the Paine building to the 318 Commons building, also owned by Henderson and Michelitz.

The University of Minnesota Rochester leases space in the 318 Commons building for student housing, office space and classrooms. A connecting skyway could make the second floor of Paine building attractive to UMR.

"We do foresee space crunches in our growth plan prior to the development of the future campus," said Jay Hesley, assistant vice chancellor for institutional advancement. While no decisions have been made, Hesley acknowledged the university had looked at the second floor of the Paine building.

"We've certainly explored all of the different opportunities that are available, and that was certainly one of them on the list," he said.

Henderson said there have been preliminary talks with UMR officials about the Paine building. He also said an option is to demolish the Paine complex and put up a building that would be a sibling to 318 Commons.

"I do have more real estate on that block," he said. "In the future, we may have a plan that we may try to unveil or look at pretty seriously." Henderson owns the adjacent Cafe Steam at 315 S. Broadway and the Canvas & Chardonnay building at 317 S. Broadway. "It all depends on what transpires in the next three to six months" with Destination Medical Center and the university's plans, he said. "I think right now, everyone is still leaving their options open."

July 17, 2014

New plan: Newt's at Crossroads

After years in limbo, a plan to build a restaurant/bar in front of Rochester's Crossroads Shopping Center once again is moving ahead.

However, it won't be the long anticipated Buffalo Wild Wings. Instead, it'll be the latest version of Rochester's iconic eatery, Newt's.

Rochester restaurateurs David and Mark Currie are working on plans to build Newt's South as their ninth local restaurant. Their Creative Cuisine restaurants are the original downtown Newt's, the City Cafe, City Market Deli Downtown, City Market Deli South, the Redwood Room, 300 First, Newt's Express and Newt's North.

The project is in its early stages, so it may be a while before construction starts on the large rectangle of dirt and grass.

"If I could break ground today, I would," said David Currie, who owns and runs Creative Cuisine with his brother. "But I'm going to say it will be in the six-month range before it really gets going."

The sibl07162014bbwsignings are buying the site between the Andy's Liquor store and Home Federal Savings Bank from Tom Graf. Graf originally had hoped to build Rochester's second Buffalo Wild Wings there, but a series of legal disputes over parking eventually quashed that plan. The development plan, approved by the city, called for extending BWW's parking onto Crossroads property to have the required number of spaces.

Parking shouldn't be an issue for the new Newt's project because it will be smaller than Graf's proposed BWW. That means the restaurant and all of the required parking should both fit on the island of land in the Crossroads parking lot.

"I thought the Curries could make the best use of the space with the size of what they want to put on it," said Graf. "At the end of the day, it's a win for the shopping center."

07162014newtssouth1The first generation of Creative Cuisine dates to the 1960s with Jerry Zubay and Mike Currie, the father of Dave and Mark. Building a ninth restaurant will add to an already full plate for the brothers.

"The business is a lot of fun. We both love it and enjoy it. We're blessed to work with a ton of great people. That makes it super enjoyable," said Dave Currie of why they decided to open a new place.

Creative Cuisine employs 141 people. The Curries estimate Newt's South will need 20 to 30 employees.

This will be the first time the Curries have opted to construct a new building rather than adapt and renovate an existing site. They had shopped for a south Rochester spot for about a year before the Crossroads deal worked out.

"Building from the ground up took a lot more thought going into it. We're used to finding a 100-year-old building and then working with it," said David Currie.

They plan to build a restaurant similar in look and size to the quirky Newt's North location, which opened in 2011 inside the Wallin Building at 5231 U.S. 52 Frontage Road N.W.

The genesis for the project dates to 2011, when Graf purchased Tasos Psomas' Pannekoeken Huis restaurant and demolished it to make way for a second Rochester BWW.

Even though Graf decided "it just made sense" to have the Curries build on the site, it doesn't mean he's abandoning his own restaurant plans.

"There will eventually be another Buffalo Wild Wings in Rochester. It will happen. The city's big enough for at least one more," he said.

July 08, 2014

Cowboy Jacks now open on Broadway

The word is that Rochester's latest Western-themed eatery opened its doors and fired up the grill on Monday.

074After an extended build-out, Cowboy Jack’s is now cooking in the Wyndham Garden hotel at 1625 S. Broadway. That's the 145-unit hotel that was under the America's Best Value Inn and Suites brand from 2011 to November 2013.

Cowboy Jack's is a casual, American-style restaurant chain based in the Twin Cities.

The name and look of the hotel's bar and restaurant has morphed several times in the past few years. In 2008, it became Macho Nacho. Later it transformed into Ron's Place, which then became The Fieldhouse.

The Wayzata-based Bay Ridge Properties own the 40-year-old hotel. Bay Ridge purchased it in February 2012 for $4.8 million.

April 17, 2014

Ex-bar will soon house memorial services

The former Mickey's Irish Saloon building is getting a very different tenant soon.

Rochester Cremation Services is re-working the former bar building at 1605 Civic Center Drive N.W.

04162014mickeysMike Johnson, who owns Rochester Cremation, hopes to be in his new site by end of the month. It's located in a high profile spot on Civic Center Drive, just west of the Hy-Vee grocery store in the Barlow Plaza.

"It's a big project," he said of transforming the saloon into a funeral home.

Funeral Director Johnson explained that his cremation business simply has outgrown its current location at 14 Sixth St. N.W. After a long search, he picked the Civic Center building as the best choice. Johnson is leasing the building, which is owned by Gary Mattison.

"We simply need to have a bigger building for memorial services. A lot of people today don't have their own church any more, so they turn to us," he said.

While there will be memorial services there, the cremation process will not take place in the Civic Center building — it will be done elsewhere.

Mickey Clark opened Mickey's Irish Saloon there in 2004. The bar, which was known for its large St. Patrick's Day party and for hosting boxing/mixed martial arts bouts, closed its doors in May 2013.