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23 posts categorized "Burger wars"

March 05, 2012

Rochester's latest eatery closing is...?

Here's the scoop.

032708threethirtyone331jkThe 331 Bar and Grill at 7386 Airport View Drive S.W. in Rochester closed its doors last night and did not re-open today.

The owners Tom and Jimmy Karabatsos told staff last night that they unfortunately needed to close.

They bought the restaurant from developer Andy Chafoulias in 2009.

Chafoulias first started the restaurant under the name of The Hangar, then he sold it in 2006. He bought it back in 2008 and relaunched it as 331.

So will Andy step back in take another swing at running bar and grill in the Rochester Airport Business Park that he created?

I chatted with him this afternoon and asked that very question.

Stay tuned.


November 14, 2011

Where do you like to eat out in Rochester?

 Do you think you know best?

HogIf so, then go vote for your choice of the Med City's Manliest Meal, Best Happy Hour, Best Cup of Joe, Best Breakfast Spot, Best Steak Dinner, Best Waiter/Waitress and lots of other tasty and subjective categories in Rochester Magazine's annual Best Restaurant poll.

This annual poll decides who gets the always hotly contested titles of Best New Restaurant, The One Restaurant Rochester Needs Immediately and Rochester's Best Restaurant.

Go to this link at and tell Roch Mag's Steve Lange what you think.

September 16, 2011

Rochester's restaurant death row - demo to go

09152011apachemcdonaldsdemo1jk Brick dust and sound of crashing concerte was definitely in the air in Rochester Thursday as the Apache Drive McDonald's and the China Dynasty building on South Broadway both went down to rubble.

09152011apachemcdonaldsdemo2 Thanks to Todd Schwarz, my roving freelance (and free) photog for the McDonald's pics.

Courtesy Corp., which owns six McDonald's restaurants in Rochester, in clearing away its iconic Apache eatery at 1306 Apache Drive S.W. to build a replacement restaurant in a slightly different spot.

The new layout will have seating for 170 customers compared with the current 129. It will have a double lane drive-through like the newer McDonald's on Second Street Southwest, North Broadway and 48th Street Southwest.

09152011chinadynastydemo China Dynasty was scraped away to clear the way for the planned future University of Minnesota Rochester campus.

Its neighbor, the ex-Burger King/ Rico Mex will soon - if it hasn't already - go the same way.

And that just leaves the closed Pannekoeken Restaurant on Rochester's restaurant death row.

Please help me keep an eye for that demolition. And I'm always interested in pics, if possible.


July 07, 2011

Could Kim Kardashian flip burgers in Roch.?

So I was reading a column in the Strib by the fearless and entertaining C.J., when an odd vision started to form in my mind.

I wasn't aware (Yeah, I don't read People or watch TMZ much) that NBA star and beloved Minnesota son, Kris Humphries, was engaged to the Rubenesque Reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

Kardashian The state shutdown must have distracted me from that important news. Heh.

Anyway, C.J. wrote a July 4 column about a Twin Cities bash for the couple, which she has dubbed in fine tabloid, name mashing style as 'Humpdashian.'

That made me remember about my first interview with Will Humphries, the bridegroom's dad.

Will Humphries is the guy who opened Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Rochester as well as called Newt's out for a hamburger showdown.

Back in 2009, I asked Will about why he was cooking up a way to have his own piece of the fast food pie.

And this is what he told me:

The elder Humphries, who was a University of Minnesota football star, says establishing the statewide Five Guys franchise is a way to prepare for his son’s post-NBA career.

“My wife and I are working it now, and then we’ll hand it off to him. We don’t want him to become another statistic like ex-players who go bankrupt,” he says.


 OK, so he's a concerned dad preparing a safety net in preparation for the day when his son's fast break is no longer quite fast enough.


Using my jumping to conclusions ability that rivals the younger Humphries vertical leap, I envisioned a future when a retired Kris Humphries takes over the family fast food business.


That's how I became convinced that Med City burger fans will eventually see the famous Miss K working the counter and grilling up orders.


That makes sense, right?  Heh. 

June 23, 2011

New northwest Newt's ready to start pouring

06222011newtsnorthwestsignjk It is almost time to flip on the lights, fire up the grill and start pulling draughts from the tap.

The Creative Cuisine Corp. crew started running dress rehearsals Wednesday to prep for to coming opening of the eagerly anticipated new northwest Newt's bar and grill.

This younger sibling of Rochester's iconic downtown bar-restaurant fills the main level of the Wallin Building at 5231 U.S. 52 Frontage Road N.W.

Here's a video promo clip on this and a little from my column in today's paper.

Check out the print edition for the full piece.


May 31, 2011

Bacon Cheese Brat Burger + Rochesterfest

Glancing at the latest Rochesterfest newsletter, my hungry eyes fell upon an item that stopped me like a clogged artery.

The Med City's annual week-long bash is known for its selection of delicious festival treats, some healthy and most that are ... less than that.

 One new vendor called Berry Kabob will serve up a fruit pizza covered with bananas, strawberries, blueberries and white and dark chocolate. Then there’s the Berry Kabob, which is comprised strawberries and bananas on a stick.

Sounds like a pretty good choice for people looking for something a little better than fried cheese curds (My must-have fest food).

But the fruit treats are not all that Berry Kabob will be cooking up. This one tips the scale so far to the other side that it even intimidates a reckless devourer of fried foods like myself.

Here's the description from the newsletter:

If you’re looking for food that will fill you up, be sure to try a Meateater, one of the Meat-Eater-300x225
new items that will be served up on vendor row at Rochesterfest 2011. Berry Kabob, one of the six new vendors, takes a brat to a whole new level. Their brats are wrapped with cheese, a hamburger is wrapped around the brat and cheese, two slices of bacon are wrapped around the brat and then everything is deep fried to a rich golden brown finish.

Uh... yeah... Could I get some gravy on that, too?

April 04, 2011

Maid-Rite to go mobile

A Rochester restaurant is readying to roll this summer.

The Maid-Rite Diner is going mobile with a new lunch truck. Don Sanford — Mr. Maid-Rite — plans to take his diner's loose me06082010maidritejkat hamburgers and hot dogs directly to the Med City's lunch crowd.

 "Work is starting next week on my new truck. It'll be called the Maid-Rite Lunch Box," he says.
The plan is to cruise the truck to construction sites, offices or wherever to take orders, cook them up and serve hamburgers, hot dogs and chips.

"With gas at $4 a gallon, I think it will be a good deal for people who don't want to drive for lunch," he says.

Sanford already has a license from the state of Minnesota, which will allow him to sell food from the truck on private property, like a company giving him permission to cook and sell in their parking lot.

"If I pull off the street, I'm fine," Sanford says.

  City streets, however, are another story. At tonight's meeting, the Rochester City Council will discuss whether to issue a permit to allow the Maid-Rite Lunch Box to pull over anywhere and set up shop.

Sanford hopes the council will OK that, but he'll take the diner to the streets no matter what this summer, probably starting in June.

05122010maidritesign1 While a pair of staffers will run the lunch truck, he'll also have a Maid-Rite concession trailer working county fairs and festivals in the area.

And, of course, the original diner that he opened last year with his wife, Noreen Sanford, and their daughter, Reann Blumers, will keep cooking in Rochester's Crossroads Plaza.

"We've got some exciting stuff going on," he says.

March 23, 2011

Another Newt's is cooking

I had hinted at this deal before and then Matt34 broke this news earlier on here this week.

Now here are some more details.For the full piece, check out my column in today's print edition of the P-B.

If you can find it in today's snow, that is. Heh.


"We've thought about it for years and we've thrown the idea of another Newt's around for quite a bit," says David Curry, a member of the family behind Creative Cuisine Corp. "But we were always busy with other projects."

5079752136_c860d7d5e3 Dave and Mark Curry along with their sister, Denise Villeneuve, made plans to create a new Newt's in the Wallin's West building at 5231 U.S. 52 Frontage Road N.W.

The newest Newt's will fill the main level of the building known for once housing a western wear store.

The northwest Newt's, which will seat around 140 people, will be slightly larger than the original Newt's.

Curry estimates that the new place could open around mid-May.

February 15, 2011

Will Red Robin migrate to Roch.?

With the temps climbing and old snow piles starting to melt, some folks are looking for the arrival of the first robin of spring.

6a00d83451cc8269e2010536041389970b-320wi After I asked readers what restaurant brands they craved to have cooking in Rochester, it seems many of you are hoping for a specific robin — Red Robin Gourmet Burgers — to swoop into the Med City.

Here's a note that fluttered into my e-mail box today:

    "I was watching Food Network over the weekend and they did a     segment on Red Robin. I decided to look up their menu. Oh my, why     don't we have a Red Robin here?! Their menu looked great! I am     heading up to Plymouth to try one of their burgers! Thanks." - Terri

I have checked with the chain based in Castle Rock, Colo., before, but Terri's note spurred me to call to see if anything has changed in the past couple of years.

The spokeswoman Jamie Winter was happy to chat, but…

"Unfortunately, I don't have any news about Red Robin opening in your area," she told me. "And I didn't see anything on the radar for 2011."

Red Robin's nesting plan for this year is to build 10 or 11 new restaurants. It already has about 450 in operation across the U.S.

In Minnesota, you can get Red Robin burgers in Apple Valley, Plymouth and Shoreview.

The majority are corporate owned and about one-third are franchises.

Despite the melting snow, it doesn't look like this Robin will be flying into Rochester this spring. Sorry, Terri.

At least the roads should be clear for your drive to Plymouth.

November 11, 2010

Good, better…best

  Large347fd8aa8d Do you think you know best?

If so, then go vote for your choice of the Med City's Best Happy Hour, Best Cup of Joe, Best Breakfast Spot, Best Steak Dinner, Best Waiter/Waitress and lots of other tasty and Large001d51cb47subjective categories in Rochester Magazine's annual Best Restaurant poll.

This annual poll decides who gets the always hotly contested titles of Best New Restaurant, The One Restaurant Rochester Needs Immediately and Rochester's Best Restaurant.

Go to this link at and tell Roch Mag's Steve Lange what you think.