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582 posts categorized "Food and Drink"

January 23, 2015

WSN buying empty Home Design Studio on W. Circle Drive

After being empty for years, new life is on the way for a former home construction showroom in northwest Rochester. 

Widseth Smith Nolting, a Crookston-based engineering and architecture firm, announced this week it has signed a purchase agreement to buy the former Home Design Studio from Rochester's Event Studio LLC. The 32,000-square-foot complex is located at 3777 40th Ave. NW, along West Circle Drive.

HomeDesignDusk2-10x8_editedThe sale is expected to close in March with a build-out beginning in April, according to WSN. The plan is for WSN to move its increasingly crowded Rochester office into 11,000 square feet of the building by August.

"We are absolutely shoe-horned in here," said Brian Carlson, WSN's director of business development, of their current 4,500-square-foot office at 6301 Bandel Road NW. "We need to provide the space and resources for our team members to do what they do best."

WSN opened its Med City office in 2009, when it merged with QED Engineering. In 2014, it merged with Rochester's Kane and Johnson Architects. WSN now has 20 employees based here. WSN has a total of seven offices and 200 employees in Minnesota and North Dakota

The firm plans to lease the rest of the building to other tenants, probably to other professional offices. This is a very different fate than was expected for the Home Design Studio building. It opened for the first time in 2006 at the height of the construction boom, which imploded soon after.

It was designed by Kane and Johnson Architects as a home builders' showroom with model kitchens, bathrooms and other room layouts. Lead by local contractor Jerome Bigelow, a group of 13 owners optimistically launched the operation with a grand party attended by hundreds of Rochester business leaders. It had 59 people on staff working for a variety of construction-related businesses. The last occupants moved out in April 2012.

Event Studio LLC, of Rochester, then bought the unique complex from Partnership 10, of Byron, in 2013 for $1.3 million. Event Studio lists Rochester developer Dan Penz as manager on its incorporation documents.

Then in 2014, WSN began the search for a larger space in Rochester.

"We looked at lot of different buildings all around the city. We really like this building," Carlson said. "We liked the exposure. We liked the location and the ability to have our whole team in one spot."

January 12, 2015

Downtown coffee shop to re-launch on Tues.

The new owners of a downtown Rochester coffee shop are planning for a soft re-opening under a new name on Tuesday.

Press Coffee and Tea Lounge at 315 S. Broadway abruptly closed in late December when its then-owner, Chris Holloway, was arrested and charged with one count of felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Now, a group of local people have banded together to re-launch the popular downtown spot as Café Steam. The new owners include: Hunter and Traci Downs; Dr. Nathan Staff and wife Kaya Garcia; and David Hewitt.

Hewitt is known for being involved with a variety of Rochester businesses, like Mama Meg's homemade ice cream sandwiches and the nearby co-working site called The Cube. The Downses also own Area Ten Labs, a Rochester technology firm.

"It had become such a community meeting place. I've had so many business meetings there and have met so many friends there. Students go there to study, often in the evening," said Hunter Downs. "For us, this is about bringing that back to the community."

The former staff members of Press have been offered jobs at Steam, according to Downs. Some have accepted and will return.

"We still need more people," he said.

The new owners have been working feverishly in the past couple weeks to renovate the space and prepare a new approach. They hope to open the doors as Steam at 7 a.m. Tuesday, in time for the regular gathering of the BioAm biobusiness group. However, Downs cautions that it's still a work in progress with many details still being finalized.

"This is more about evolution than a revolution, at this point," he said.

The new owners are putting out a call for local artists to help them with artwork for the coffee shop's walls.

Like Press, Steam will serve a full array of coffee and tea. Though the new owners plan to eventually expand the food menu.

"We're taking it in a little bit of a different direction with more food options and some ice cream," he said.

The coffee shop originally opened in 2013, after Holloway raised the funds for it with a Kickstarter campaign. It's located in a 115-year-old brick building.

January 02, 2015

Green Mill restaurant closes

About 40 people lost their jobs unexpectedly on New Year's Day when Rochester's Green Mill Restaurant closed after eight years of cooking on the northwest side.

02012015greenmillclosedThe staff reportedly was not given any notice of the closing until company executives showed up on Thursday. They posted letters on the restaurant's doors stating,"It saddens us to inform you that the Rochester Green Mill will be closing its doors January 1."

Calls to Paul Dzubnar, CEO of the St. Paul-based Green Mill, were not returned this morning.

Dzubnar personally owned the Rochester franchise under the corporate name of G M P Rochester LLC. Citing long interest from Rochester diners to have a Green Mill of their own, he built the 6,800-square-foot restaurant at 2723 Commerce Dr. N.W. in 2006. 

"It finally came together," said Dzubner, who was then a vice president of Green Mill.

The Rochester location seated 240 people and employed more than 100 staffers when it opened. It was built in a commercial development that was spearheaded by Merl and Dan Groteboer.

After the closing, Green Mill now has 27 locations in the Minnesota and Wisconsin region. The closest to Rochester is in Winona.

In 2011, Dzubnar launched a second line of restaurants called Crooked Pint Ale House. There now are locations in Apple Valley and Minneapolis. Twin Cities media has reported that deals to open more Crooked Pints in and outside of Minnesota are in the works.

December 30, 2014

Strip mall with Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe sold

A 68-year-old commercial center in northwest Rochester recently sold for $765,000.

The strip mall at 902 Seventh St. N.W., anchored by Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe, was purchased by Song H. Hong on Dec. 1. HonYeoldebuildingg also owns Safechoice Insurance Agency, which is based in the center.

Other tenants in the Seventh Street plaza include Catering By Design and Jakobson Management Co. The brick-and-concrete center was built in 1946, according to Olmsted County property records.

Hong bought the building from HRB LLC, which state records list as being based at 1830 Second St. S.E. HRB purchased it back in 2001 from RC Properties of St. Paul for $900,000, according to county records.

December 09, 2014

Work on 2nd Aldi store really rolling along

Workers braved the chilly weather today to start putting up the big sign for the new Aldi grocery in northwest Rochester.

09122014aldistoreThe 17,000-square-foot store has went up quickly by McDonalds and Costco.

Aldi officials from their Faribault division have previously said they expect to open by April. That estimate was calculated on breaking ground by the end of 2014.

I'd say work is running quite a bit ahead of that schedule.

Aldi is also renovating its exisiting Rochester store at the Crossroads Shopping Center.

December 08, 2014

Ex-Hardee's/Indian eatery flattened

The former Hardee's/Indian restaurant at 7 12 St. S 08122014exhardees2.E., that's at Rochester's corner of U.S. 14 and South U.S. 63, is being scraped away today.

No sure yet what the plans, if any, are for the site.

That 31-year-old business was where one of Rochester's Hardee's fast food places operated. In Dec. 2001, that restaurant and two more in Rochester plus one in Stewartville abruptly closed their doors.

The franchise owner went bankrupt in 2000 and DORO InHardeesc. of Eau Claire, Wis. was named as reciever. Eventually, they had to close the doors.

It was later used as Natraj's India Kitchen/ C08122014exhardees1uisine of India for a few years.

It has sat empty and moldered for quite a while since the Indian eatery moved out.

Now the site is cleared for a new future, whatever that may be.

Hopefully, that will include better access.

November 17, 2014

Buckeye Liquor to stay in downtown Rochester

Much like peanut butter and chocolate getting together, a downtown Rochester liquor store is moving in next to a pizza place in early 2015.

11172014buckeyeliquorRobert Satterwhite, who owns Buckeye Liquor with his wife Diane Satterwhite, plans to scoot the store a few dozen yards from its spot on the corner of Third Avenue Southeast and Fourth Street to the Domino's Pizza building at 438 Third Ave. S.E.

The shift is expected to happen in February or March 2015.

"We're pretty excited to be moving next to Domino's. Who doesn't like a beer or a nice wine with pizza?", said Satterwhite.

The coming development of a $15 million, 110-unit apartment complex on that corner is spurring the move of the 49-year-old liquor store. Stencil Homes of Sioux Falls, S.D., has purchased three buildings — Buckeye Liquor, the empty Flowers By Jerry shop and the 3rd Avenue Pet Hospital — on Third Avenue. The Satterwhites now lease their corner building from developer Nate Stencil and his partner, Sean A. Kaufhold.

While there is not a deadline for Buckeye to move, it's clear that the current building will be demolished to make way for the coming project.

"They are not pushing out us or anything. We just wanted to make sure to secure another space in downtown as soon as we could," he s11172014dominoson3rdaid.

Satterwhite and two employees will have more room once they move in next to Domino's. The new 1,800-square-foot space is about 500 feet larger than the original Buckeye store, which Stanley Mohn, built in 1965. An international grocer was the last tenant next to Domino's.

Marty Gritz, who owns Domino's as well as the building, renovated it in 2013. He re-divided the building into two equal parts to give his dough makers an additional 600 square feet

The good news for Buckeye is that Domino's location is often the busiest of  the 120 Domino's franchises in the Midwest region.

November 12, 2014

New specialty grocer to build in S.W. Rochester

A new specialty chain is on its way to Rochester, joining an already crowded grocery scene.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, based in Golden, Colo., has filed plans with city to build a 14,000-square-foot store on an open lot in southwest Rochester by the TJ Maxx Plaza and the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center

Get_photoThink Mutual Bank owns the store site, which is at the corner of Greenview Drive and Salem Road Southwest. Think had planned to build there, but recently the bank announced it planned to offer the plot for development.

This will be Natural Grocers first store in Minnesota, though the 59-year-old public company currently operates 84 stores in 14 states, with 10 more expected to open soon.

While it generally is described as a specialty food retailer, Natural Grocers is very different than Hy-Vee, Trader Joe's or Aldi. It sells only organic foods as well as an extensive selection of vitamins and dietary supplements. The chain's website says its stores devote about 30 percent of their shelf space to vitamins, which in turn generate about 30 percent of its revenue.

"It looks like it goes deeper and more narrow than a mainstream grocery store. It is much more like a Whole Foods or a co-op," said Jonathan Seltzer, a St. Thomas University business professor.

Seltzer, who previously worked at the Supervalu grocery chain, doesn't think the addition of Natural Grocers to Rochester should hurt any one retail competitor more than others.

"It will probably draw some customers from many different players," he said.

This new store is just one factor in what is becoming a very competitive grocery scene in Rochester. Discount grocer Aldi is building its second store here and Hy-Vee plans to start construction of its fourth location in early 2015. The city's other food retailers include Cub Foods, Fareway Foods, Zzest, Walmart and Target.

"It seems that you are getting more square footage devoted to food retail in Rochester than the population would warrant," said Seltzer. "That probably speaks to the strength of Rochester's economy and its draw from nearby areas."


Groceries on the way
  * Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage is proposing to build a 14,000-square-foot store in southwest Rochester. No projected opening date.

* Hy-Vee is planning to build a fourth Rochester location, a 90,000-square-foot store at 4200 West Circle Drive N.W. The goal is have it completed and open by late summer or early fall of 2015.

* Aldi is building a 17,000-square-foot store, its second in Rochester on the northwest side. The goal is to open in April 2015.

November 03, 2014

Loop creators to build new restaurant in NW Roch.

Four Rochester restaurateurs plan to follow up the success of The Loop by building a new family place.

Ryan Brevig, Todd Jensen, Derek Link and Josh Paulsen opened The Loop in 2012 in downtown Rochester. It was their third restaurant, though their first in Rochester. Now, the quartet of 1997 John Marshall alumni are ready serve up a new restaurant concept to the Med City.

11032014citizenrestaurant"We've wanted to do this for a long time. We're in a place where we want to expand in Rochester," said co-owner Brevig. "Now, we have a green light to go ahead."

They've purchased land in the northwest development anchored by Costco, with plans to build a 7,800-square-foot restaurant to be called Citizen Kitchen & Bar. It will be positioned near the northeast corner of 19th Street and West Circle Drive.

The tentative plan is "to move some dirt in two weeks" and then get the building framed up before winter hits. If all that happens on schedule, they hope to open in April or May.

While this new creation will have some of the flavor of The Loop, it will have its own identity, explained Brevig. Many of the four partners now have young families, and they wanted this new restaurant to be more welcoming to families than their three restaurants that tilt toward a young adult crowd.

The menu will cover familiar territory for Loop fans. He describes it as "contemporary casual American food."

Opening Citizen is also about giving back to the city they call home.

"That's why we decided on Citizen as a name. All four of us are citizens of Rochester. It seemed to make sense to us," said Brevig.

This will be the fourth upscale restaurant the Loop team have opened in the last eight years. 

Their two Minneapolis eateries, the original Loop and Bar 508, were built in historic buildings in very urban settings. The Rochester Loop was different because it was part of the new construction of the 318 Commons complex. However, it also is a very downtown operation based on a busy city street.

"It will have a little more of a suburban feel," he said. "And this will be the first really stand-alone building we've built," he said.

That means they can do some things that weren't possible in the other properties. Citizen will include a private dining room that will be available for reservation for events. It also will feature a larger kitchen, which will allow Citizen to offer catering.

Making "a significant investment" into Rochester like this means Brevig and his partners also will be adding to the already large workforce they employ. They have 167 people working at the three current properties. The expectation is to add another 47 people to the team when Citizen starts cooking in 2015.

September 23, 2014

Paint store, coffee/bagel shop may be coming to N.W. Rochester

If a few final details can be hammered out, a Sherwin-Williams paint store and combination Dunn Bros Coffee/Bruegger's Bagels shop could be coming for northwest Rochester.

TJL Development of St. Paul is planning to build a 4,000-square-foot building for Sherwin-Williams and a 2,500-square-foot building for the co-branded Dunn Bros/Bruegger's. They are slated for a parcel near Kwik Trip and Costco in the 108-acre commercial development at 19th Street and West Circle Drive. The development plans include other businesses, such as McDonald's, two hotels, an Aldi's grocery store and an Associated Bank branch.

This is not TJL's first foray into Rochester. It built a 4,000-square-foot paint store in 2013 for Sherwin-Williams in south Rochester, in front of the south ShopKo and Menards stores. That store replaced Sherwin-Williams' former south store, which was located in the defunct Rochester Market Square, which later became Rochester Public School's Alternative Learning Center.

If the northwest project moves ahead as planned, it is expected to replace Sherwin-Williams' current location at 19 Seventh St. N.E.

While TJL Principal Jim Lavalle says there are some aspects of the project that still need to be finalized, the company is moving ahead and has filed building plans with the City of Rochester.

"We're hopeful to start construction yet this fall," he said.