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626 posts categorized "Food and Drink"

April 01, 2016

Bleu Duck Kitchen cooking in downtown Rochester

Two area chefs are creating a downtown Rochester restaurant to offer "an eclectic mix of adventurous and innovative comfort food" in a historic building.

Chefs Erik Kleven and Erik Paulsen are fulfilling their dreams of opening their own place, the Bleu Duck Kitchen, by taking over the entire first floor of the 115-year-old Conley-Maass building at 14 Fourth St. SW. That's the brick building being renovated by owners Traci and Hunter Downs

15.006_Final Model - Restaurant Image 1 (1)"This is a great chance to break out on our own," said Kleven, currently the executive chef at Four Daughters Vineyard in Spring Valley.

Creating a 60-seat "New American Bistro"-style restaurant with a separate special events space in the Conley-Maas building is a particularly good fit, said Paulsen. who also worked at Four Daughters as Riverside on the Root and Vintage in Lanesboro.

"The building is in tune with we're doing," he said. "We're going to serve classic dishes with new novel twists. We want to make interesting, but approachable food."

That translates into possible menu items, like chicken roulade with waffle bread pudding stuffing, maple syrup and collard greens or ratatouille with parmesan funnel cake and hollandaise whipped potatoes. They plan to use fresh, locally grown ingredients.

If everything goes according to plan, the duo hopes to have the Bleu Duck cooking by mid- to late August. Kleven plans to wrap up his transition from Four Daughters. They expect to have a staff of 25 to 30 working at the Bleu Duck.

Rochester architect Adam Ferrari of 9 Square is designing the restaurant with an emphasis on "letting the historic building talk." The plan is for exposed brick, mute tones with an emphasis on the kitchen.

"We'll have the focus on a bright, clean, white kitchen at the center," said Paulsen.

A small "Chef's Counter" will located by kitchen. Customers sitting there will be served special, chef-chosen dishes.

The front portion of the main floor of the building will house the dining room, bar and kitchen. The back area will be used for special private events with room to seat up to 100 people.

The pair chose the name to represent an adventurous approach to cuisine. While they were both at Four Daughters, they would have "Blue Duck" days for the staff to experiment and try out new dishes and techniques. The name cames from the Adam Sandler move, "Billy Madison." As an adult in a first grade classroom, Sandler's character drew a blue duck, "because I've never seen a blue duck." 

"We try to not take ourselves too seriously," said Paulsen.

The Conley-Maass renovation project has been lauded as an example of the kind of development that many hope Rochester's Destination Medical Center initiative attracts. The Downs see this new restaurant as being of the same spirit as their transformation of the older building into an innovative technology office center.

"We've been in discussions and talks with several interested parties about the space and it wasn't until we met the duo that we knew had the right match for the building," said Traci Downs.

 

March 29, 2016

Downtown #rochmn liquor store to move to new home

After about a year in the Shops at University Square shopping center, City Wines and Spirits is moving to a new downtown Rochester home as well as taking on a new name.

City-wines-and-spiritsCity Wines and Spirits is tucked away on the mall's first floor between Lenscrafters and the former Michaels Restaurant. Now the shop that bills itself as "Rochester's Only Downtown Wine, Beer and Liquor Store" is planning to move across Broadway to the lobby of the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, according to Sheila Thoma.

The liquor store is slated to move into the retail space at the corner of Broadway and Second Street Southeast. It was last occupied by Deb Frederick's Tableside Manor gift shop, which has moved to another downtown spot.

"We are looking forward to this new location with it being right on the street and in the hotel. We are waiting to solidify a couple last steps. If all does go as intended, we plan to open early April," Thoma said via email on Monday.

Thomas is the marketing director for Titan Development & Investments, which owns University Square, the Doubletree Hotel as well as City Wines. Titan also owns Andy's Liquor, which has four Rochester locations.

As part of the move, Thoma says the store is "rebranding as Andy’s Liquor Downtown."

That will bring the number of Andy's stores in Rochester up to five.

 

March 24, 2016

Eastwood Plaza expansion set to open in June

After many months of on again, off again construction, it sounds like a new southeast Rochester commercial center could be ready for business soon.

Construction of a 5,040-square-foot retail building began last summer in front of the Eastwood Plaza at 1513 12 St. S.E. A variety of issues, including an easement dispute, have slowed the progress of the project.

EastgateplazaBut that is all in the past now, according to Ari Kolas. Kolas is one of the owners of Eastwood Plaza under the name of Athena 2004 LLC. He also is an owner of Rochester-based Apollo Wine & Spirits, which has one of its six Rochester stores based in Eastwood Plaza. It also has a franchised store in the Shoppes on Maine development in the southwest quadrant and a store in Austin.

"It should be done sometime in early June," he said.

The new building has three retail spots, two of which already are leased. When completed, Cricket Wireless and Little Caesars Pizza are slated to move in and open for business.

The third space, which includes a drive-up window, still is available, according to Kolas. He is hoping to find a food establishment of some sort as a tenant.

This Eastwood project is one that Kolas has been thinking about for a long time.

"I always wanted to do something on the outlot. I was just waiting for the proper opportunity to do it. The climate is good for it now with the growth of Rochester," he said previously. "It's been in the back of my head forever. It's got awesome visibility."

Kolas is enthusiastic about the intersection of 12th Street Southeast and Marion Road, which Athena 2004 bought for $1.6 million in 2004.

"It's a great corner that people forget about. It really is a great neighborhood," he said. — Jeff Kiger

 

March 09, 2016

Customers celebrate return of Indian cuisine downtown

The return of Indian cuisine to downtown Rochester has some fans celebrating.

"Some customers were so happy to see Indian food again that they were just dancing around in circles," said Anuradha Dhumne of the opening of Blue Diamond Indian Cuisine in the First Avenue Food Court in Rochester's downtown skyway.

Anuradha and her husband, Anil Dhumne, launched Blue Diamond on Monday in a food-court spot last occupied by Azteca Mexican restaurant. 

08032016bluediamond"We serve authentic Indian food, sometimes with a twist," said Anuradha Dhumne.

In addition to traditional Indian meat entrees, they have a wide variety of vegetarian dishes for people looking for that option. The menu includes favorites of Indian cuisine such as tandoori chicken, curries, kabobs, samosas and fresh naan bread.

Blue Diamond has three on staff, including Anuradha Dhumne.

"There's a lot of interest. There's a gap here that we are filling," said Anil Dhumne. "People are finding our food is a festival of taste and flavor on your tongue."

Blue Diamond is settling in this week. The Dhumnes plan to ramp things up soon by offering a morning breakfast next week, an afternoon "snack" of tea and samosas and catering services.

They have been looking for a spot to open for about a year. Some people might remember the Blue Diamond booth at area farmer's markets and festivals.

"This has long been her dream," Anil said. "Location is key. I think we got a good spot." 

March 08, 2016

Old Country Buffet closes in Rochester

Rochester's Old Country Buffet has served its final serving of mashed potatoes and gravy.

Officials the chain's parent company, Ovation Brands, confirmed Tuesday morning that the Rochester location is closed for good.

20160308_081044This is despite signs on the door stating that the restaurant at 1300 Salem Road SW is closed for "an asset inventory." Employees said on Monday that they had been told that after the "asset inventory" that the restaurant would re-open on Wednesday.

The sign on the front door states an employee meeting is scheduled for this afternoon. Presumably, details about the closing will be shared then.

This closing is just one of many for the Greer, South Carolina-based Ovation Brand, which is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the third time in eight years. In February, the company closed about 30 percent of its various 243 brand restaurants. It also operates HomeTown Buffet and Ryan’s.

OCB recently closed its restaurants in Maple Grove, Coon Rapids and St. Cloud, along with Rochester. The only two Minnesota restaurants now listed on OCB's website are Burnsville and Mankato.

Old Country Buffet got its start in Minnesota in 1983 and as recently as 2008 had 626 stores, before declaring bankruptcy twice. In 2014, the corporate office in Eagan had about 125 employees.

March 03, 2016

Indian cuisine on way to downtown food court

IMG_0362It looks like a new Indian cuisine place will soon start cooking in the First Avenue Food Court in Rochester's downtown skyway.

The sign recently went up for Blue Diamond Indian Cuisine in front of the vendor spot last occupied by Mexican eatery.

I haven't talked to them yet, but I pretty sure Blue Diamond is vendor some people might remember from summer events at the Squash Blossom Farm in Douglas.

I should have more on this soon.

March 02, 2016

Coffee and Bagels on way for N. Broadway

A new Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels shop is slated to be built along North Broadway this year.

Coffee-and-bagels-logo-620x291Dr. Ajay Nehra submitted plans Monday for a 2,500-square-foot building to be constructed in the parking lot of the River Center Plaza shopping center. That's the mall formerly known as Northbrook, located across Broadway from the Silver Lake Shopping Center.
Cariboucoffeeplans
The proposed plans place the new coffee and bagels place it near the Broadway entrance to River Center and near the Fiesta Café & Bar end the shopping center. The
new shop is slated to have a drive-through window to attract morning commuters looking for a caffeine and bagel fix on the way to work.


These plans are very early in the permitting process, so there is no timeline yet for the project.

When this River Center location starts serving up lattes and frappes, it will be Rochester's 10th Caribou Coffee shop.

This Caribou/Einstein Bros. location will mirror a 2,500-square-foot one built last year in the Costco development area off of 19th Street Northwest. That shop was built by TJL Development, of St. Paul.

March 01, 2016

NW Rochester retail center sells for $5.2 million

A high-profile northwest Rochester commercial center sold for $5.2 million last week.

The 16-year-old retail center at 2870 41st St. NW was purchased by San Diego, Calif.-based HW Rochester LLC on Feb. 23. That center houses Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Scrubs & Beyond, Sushi Nishiki and other businesses at the entrance to the Rochester Marketplace area.

MarketplacebuildingThe sale shows how Rochester's commercial real estate market is heating up. Olmsted County estimated the building's market value at $3.48 million for 2016.

Sara Investment Real Estate of Madison, Wis. under the corporate name of Rochester Marketplace Property Group LLC sold the 17,920-square-foot center. The Wisconsin group purchased it in 2013 for $4.5 million.

That commercial strip at 2870 41st St. N.W. was built in 2000 as part of the overall Rochester Marketplace development by the Twin Cities developer Ryan Cos. US Inc. The building stands in front of Rochester's SuperTarget North and the nearby Home Depot store.

Bishop Management Co., of Rochester, bought that piece of the development from Ryan Cos. for $4 million in February 2003. 2B Rochester Market Place, LLC, which is a Bishop company, made the sale to Sara Investment, according to Olmsted County property records.

Ryan sold the rest of its property in Rochester Marketplace in September 2003 to The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, of Oakbrook, Ill.

February 25, 2016

Grocery still could be on way for Miracle Mile, but not Whole Foods

A national grocery chain could be on the way for Rochester's Miracle Mile mall.

5553522a8afe9.imageHowever, it won't be Whole Foods as previously predicted.

Word that the popular organic grocery chain was talking to the owners of the mall at 115 16th Ave. NW popped up last year, soon after Miracle Mile sold for $10.4 million. In the end, that deal was not done. 

Another brand now has stepped in and has taken negotiations with the owner of Rochester's oldest mall farther down the road than Whole Foods did.

"We're working with a national grocery chain. They have submitted a letter of intent, and we have responded," said Rochester Realtor Merl Groteboer of Re/Max Results. "Whole Foods is out of the picture at this point."

Whole_Foods_Market_logo.svgHe represents the mall owners, Miracle Mile LLC. There are no public details about the unidentified owners, but Groteboer previously has described them as a Twin Cities couple.

Miracle Mile LLC purchased the mall along U.S. Highway 52 and Second Street Southwest in March 2015 from Jordan Realty Corp. of Dallas. Jordan had owned it since 1988.

While the deal is progressing forward, there is no guarantee it will happen in the end. That's why Groteboer is keeping quiet about the name of the grocery store. He does say it is a national chain that is not in Rochester now, but does have a presence in Minnesota.

In December, two high-profile tenants — The Mouse Gift & Home store and the Bread Baker bakery — closed. That seemed to fit with the possible development plan to demolish the south end of the mall to make space for a new stand-alone grocery store. The tenants on that end, such as Arrow Ace Hardware and Plaza Morena, could be moved into open spaces in the north end of the mall.

"Any tenants displaced would be offered another space in the center," Groteboer said last year.

February 19, 2016

A second scoop of Flapdoodles is on the way

A double scoop of Flapdoodles Ice Cream is on the way for Rochester.

Flapdoodles-homemadeMatt Tierney, who launched his original hand-made ice cream shop in 2011, has decided to open a second location at 1710 South Broadway. That's the former Wheeler's Autobody Supply building.

While this will be another full restaurant site, Tierney said this is not just about reaching more customers.

Flapdoodles.1jpg1"What really drove the whole decision was a lack of production space (at the current 3525 22nd Ave. NW)," he said. "We've been growing every year and we just don't have enough room."

That means the back of the South Broadway store will be devoted to making ice cream for both stores. During the busy days of summer, Flapdoodles makes about 400 gallons of ice cream per week.

Tierney hopes to have the new store ready to open by early to mid-summer. He has about 20 employees on staff at the 22nd Avenue location and expects to have a similar crew at the new store.


"We really like the feel of South Broadway with a lot of hotels and Graham Arena nearby. And we're close enough to downtown, that you can see Mayo Clinic from the windows," he said.


He purchased the 38-year-old building from Wernimont Properties on Feb. 12 for $500,000. Darci Fenske of Paramark Real Estate represented Tierne Wheeler's Autobody Supply y in the deal, and Jay Christenson of Braasch Commercial Real Estate represented Wernimont. Wernimont Properties bought the 1710 South Broadway building in April 2015 from $389,900/

In the few years since it opened the former Subway sandwich shop, Flapdoodles has attracted a growing crowd of fans.

"Our customers are nice combination of local people, visitors to Mayo and people here for sports tournaments," said Tierney. "I'm really happy with how things have gone."