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641 posts categorized "Food and Drink"

August 24, 2016

Ex-Michaels restaurant sells for $5.5 million in downtown Rochester

More than a year and a half after one of Rochester's most beloved restaurants closed its massive doors, the prime downtown property has unexpectedly sold for $5.5 million.

The buildings which housed Michaels restaurant at the corner of South Broadway and Center Street for 64 years were purchased by Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors of Illinois on Friday. The sale included four properties — 11, 13, 15 and 17 Broadway.

08242016michaelsOlmsted County estimated the total market value of the properties at $1.17 million, which means it sold for almost five times its estimated value.

Harbor Bay bought the buildings from 15 South Broadway LLC, which is described as a joint venture owned 50-50 by the Chafoulias and the Pappas families. That group bought the property on Jan. 6, 2015, from the Pappas family for $1.4 million, almost a fourth of what it sold for last week.

The high profile 2015 sale and emotional closure of Michaels was described as clearing the way for redeveloping the land and then connecting the new building to Gus Chafoulias' proposed Broadway at Center tower via a skyway across Broadway. Michael Pappas described the plan in late 2014 as involving closing the restaurant, demolishing the buildings and developing a new retail center that would connect with both the Shops at University Square and the planned Broadway at Center project, both Chafoulias properties.

Why change the plan and sell the buildings to an outside developer?

"There are many family members on each side and they felt it was a very fair price and preferred selling to developing the site," wrote Sheila Thoma, spokeswoman for the Chafoulias family's Titan Development and Investments company.

No member of the Pappas family was available for comment on the deal.

Thoma added that Gus Chafoulias still plans to connect whatever is built on the Michaels site to his long-delayed $145 million Broadway at Center on the southeast corner of Broadway Avenue and Center Street. Broadway at Center is the first high-profile project approved by the Destination Medical Center Corp. in 2015 to count toward Rochester's DMC commitment to the state.

"We have an agreement with the group that purchased and they want a skyway as well," she wrote.

Mark Bell and Tom Lund, the partners who run Harbor Bay, were not available for comment on Tuesday, so it is not known what their plans are for the Michaels property. However, the duo already have a housing development under construction in Rochester.

Harbor Bay is the company behind the 211-unit Preserve on Maine apartment complex at 4010 Maine Ave. SE. The developer describes Preserve on Main as "a place where luxurious residences and resort style living meet." Rents for the 17 styles of apartment range from $975 to $1,995 a month.

Chafoulias' Broadway at Center project has been stalled for months awaiting a financing deal to be finalized before starting demolition and construction. In July, Chafoulias announced that his team was terminating its relationship with Saudi Prince Turki Bin Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and Anas Abukhadra, of Minneapolis, because they had failed "to fulfill (their financial) obligations."

The project is still awaiting financing to clear the way for a needed $105 million loan to help finance the 23-story complex.
Could this latest deal with Harbor Bay be connected to financing Broadway at Center? Thoma says definitely not. She wrote that the Michaels sale has nothing to do with Broadway at Center other than the proposed skyway link.

August 22, 2016

New coffee shop brewing on South Broadway

More caffeine is coming to Rochester's South Broadway.

Dennis and Lynn Wong have found a new place to open a third Rochester Dunn Bros. Coffee shop. The Wongs are leasing a 1,500-square-foot space in the 2550 South Broadway building in the Broadway Commons commercial area. That's the former home of Papa John's pizza, which closed at the start of June.

22082016newdunnbrosDennis Wong said the goal is to open the new coffee shop in October. It will have four full-time and eight part-time employees. The location will replace the downtown skyway Dunn Bros. shop, which closed earlier this month.

This shop will feature on-site coffee roasting, expresso beverages and a food menu, including fresh baked pastries, all-day breakfast sandwiches and box lunches with sandwiches and wraps. The Wongs also have Rochester Dunn Bros. shops at 120 Elton Hills Dr. NW and 1340 Salem Road SW.

Why this spot for a third location?

"It has good visibility, easy access off and on Broadway for dine-in or the new drive-thru window. It is convenient for south and southeast Rochester," he said.

Mike Haley, of Braasch Commercial Real Estate, handled the real estate deal.

This marks the return of coffee to the 14-year-old building. Soon after the building was completed, Doc's Coffee Co. opened on the end opposite Dunn Bros.' new space. It was followed in 2013 by the Sanus Bosnian Cafe and Grill, which served very strong Bosnian coffee.

August 17, 2016

Miracle Mile project to be unveiled soon?

579781715a9e4.imageWhile there has been no official word about the proposed grocery/apartment complex project at Rochester's Miracle Mile Shopping Center, it looks like it is on the agenda of Thursday's meeting of the Committee on Urban Design and Environment.

CUDE is slated to hear about the "Miracle Market Mixed-Use Project," according to the agenda. No other details are listed. This project is expected to involve the mysterious, unnamed owner of the Miracle Mile shopping center and Nate Stencil of Stencil Homes, who has a number of apartment complex projects in Rochester.

No word yet on what grocery chain will occupy this possible building.

August 15, 2016

Bleu Duck Kitchen taking reservations for Aug. 26

It looks like the 08152016bleuduckBleu Duck Kitchen is ready to fly in downtown Rochester.

I hobbled over to the almost completely renovated 115-year-old Conley-Maass building at 14 Fourth St. SW. this morning for the open house for the Collider business incubator on the second floor. 

I'll put up more about the Collider soon. But first, I thought I'd share that Chefs Erik Kleven and Erik Paulsen say that they are accepting reservations for Aug. 26 for the public opening of their Bleu Duck Kitchen on the main level of the building.

08152016bleuduckcounterConstruction on the 60-seat "New American Bistro"-style restaurant is mostly complete, though some fine-tuning of the private event space is still underway  in the back.


Front of the house staff showed up at the new eatery today to meet for the first time. 

Pro tip - the chefs say the tables in the front window space are already the most popular spots. So if you want one of those high-profile tables, make your reservations earlier.


August 11, 2016

The end is near for Rochester's Nelson Cheese

After more than 30 years of selling sandwiches on Rochester's Broadway, Nelson Cheese Factory is planning to call it quits.

LsHowever, the exact closing date of the small deli at 210 North Broadway still is being determined.

"I'm not sure yet when it will close … maybe next week," owner Ed Greenheck on Wednesday. "I do know that soon there will no longer be a Nelson Cheese Factory in Rochester."

Greenheck is hoping to find a buyer to step in and re-open it as a di Nelsoncheeseclippingfferent eatery. The deli has two employees in the small spot in the Disons Cleaners building on North Broadway.

He cited several reasons for the closure, including the high
er costs of doing business in Rochester as well as Minnesota, competing with Mayo Clinic to hire employees and focusing more on the growth of their Wisconsin locations.

Rochester's Nelson Cheese is a satellite of the 158-year-old cheese factory in Nelson, Wis. The Greenheck family opened the Med City shop in the 1980s. It was located at 506 N. Broadway until an expansion of Marigold Foods, now Kemps, forced them to move.

The deli reopened at 210 N. Broadway in 1988, where it has served Mr. T and Old Fashioned sandwiches ever since.

July 26, 2016

Golden Corral has not tied up a Med City spot

Don't expect a return of the Golden (Corral) age in the Med City.

An announcement about the Golden Corral all-you-can-eat restaurant chain taking over ex-Old Country Buffet spaces in the Twin Cities had local buffet buffs celebrating last week. Rochester was mentioned as a candidate because it has its own empty ex-OCB spot.

Old-country-buffet-2While it looks as though the restaurant going into the open spot at 1300 Salem Road SW will be a buffet, the word is it won't be a Golden Corral.

Darci Fenske, of Paramark Real Estate, says she has brokered a lease deal for the restaurant space in the TJ Maxx & More Plaza. It sounds as if Golden Corral might have put in one of the nine bids for OCB space. If so, it didn't win.

4fc28fb6f45f1467382372-golden-corralThe Twin Cities restaurateur who has locked up the spot still is working out his plan for the future restaurant, so he is keeping his plans under wraps for the moment.

The unconfirmed buzz is that he may be working on some version of an American/Chinese buffet.

Old Country abruptly shuttered its Rochester eatery in Chamberb 044early March, along with a number of ones in the Twin Cities area, as part of its bankruptcy. The large restaurant at 1300 Salem Road SW has stood empty since then.

That left a hole in Rochester's food lineup similar to what happened when the beloved Golden Corral closed its restaurant at 2775 43rd St. NW in 2007.

The popular buffet chain had operated there for six years, until the owners revamped it into Gorilla's Sports Bar and Grill. After some attempts to change and find more customers, Gorilla's closed in 2010.

July 11, 2016

Taco truck owners follow dream to open restaurant

This is the second food truck/cart to lock down a brick and mortar home in Rochester in recent days.


Sometimes a dream becomes reality.

Earlier this year, Mario and Maria Mollina launched a taco truck on Rochester's North Broadway with their daughter, Jennifer Gordon. They call it Tacos El Sueno. El Sueno translates to The Dream.

Now the family is working to take their dream to the next level. They are opening a permanent Rochester restaurant called El Sueno Tacoreria at 1203 Seventh St. NW. That's across from the Northgate Center retail plaza.

07112016elsueno"This has been my father's dream for a long time," said Gordon. "Hopefully, we'll open within a month or so."

The Tacos El Sueno truck now serves a basic array of tacos and burritos, but Gordon said that menu will expand significantly 

"With the food truck, we're limited with what we can do. We'll be adding a lot more choices in the restaurant. My mother has a lot more homemade recipes," she said.

Once the restaurant opens, it will seat about 50 diners. The Molina family will staff it.

What will happen to their popular taco truck at 1005 N Broadway Ave. when the restaurant opens?

That's not clear yet, said Gordon. They really enjoy operating the truck, but the first priority will be staffing the restaurant. If they can't staff both, the truck will go dark until they can do both.


July 08, 2016

Old Abe Coffee to park the cart, open a shop

A high-profile member of Rochester's small food/drink cart community has lined up a permanent home.

Old Abe Coffee Co., which serves cold brew coffee and unique food, is a familiar sight in downtown Rochester. Now Abe Sauer is planning to set up shop in a fixed address near Rochester's Cooke Park. He eventually will move into a house-turned-commercial building at 832 Seventh St. NW. Westwood Realty last occupied that spot.

Old+abe+serving+4The new place will be called Old Abe at Cooke.

"I am very happy to announce Old Abe is playing fair and is now a property tax-paying Rochester business," stated Sauer via email. "Old Abe at Cooke will be an extension of what I have been doing on the trike. Fun and food and fun food (and our popular cold brew coffee). It will be goofy. Maybe a little unpredictable."

Beside serving coffee and food, he wants to create a bike-friendly, fun spot for families near a park and the growing Cooke Park arts district.

"I hope to create a social space for the neighborhood and Cooke Park users. Activating Cooke Park will be a goal as it’s one of Rochester’s best located parks, on the bike path, and canopied in shade," he wrote. "In particular, I want to create a place for young families that will, if all goes as planned, include a dedicated kids playroom so parents can enjoy their meal without fighting a toddler at the table. It will also include an expanded menu influenced by both my own vegetarian-leaning diet and my many years in Asia."

Sauer doesn't have a timeline for parking the cart and opening the new shop. The first step will be renovating the 1950s house with the help of Rochester architect Adam Ferrari of 9.Square. He estimates the earliest he'll be able to open is later this fall.

So why the decision to park his anachronistic coffee trike/cart?

"First and foremost, I needed space to grow. But also I want to create something distinctly geared for the thousands of younger families in Rochester that often get lost in the food and beverage landscape. I also want to create a fun space for Rochester residents that are NOT focused solely on the downtown and immediate area," said Sauer.


July 01, 2016

Charlie's Eatery to move in with Elks

After decades in the shadow of Saint Marys Hospital on Rochester's Second Street, Charlie's Eatery & Pub is heading north this fall.

ImgresCharlie Brannon, who has owned the popular bar and grill since 1987, says he is signing a lease to take over space in the Elks Lodge No. 1091 at 1652 U.S. 52 North in the Hillcrest Shopping Center.

The plan is for Charlie's Eatery & Pub to move into the space currently occupied by Wong's Café as well as the Elks bar and dining room area. Wong's is moving out on July 27.

The Elks will retain use of the large space the service club uses on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays for popular bingo games. 

Part of the forces driving this change is the membership and financial challenges that classic service clubs, such as the Elks, are facing these days. This deal allowed the Rochester lodge to sign a new five-year lease with the owners of the Hillcrest Shopping Center, according to the Elks latest newsletter.

Ec30b3d1-04ee-4337-ae9b-d8ce141f967c_d"This was a very tough decision as they (Wong's Café) have been a very wonderful and loyal tenant, but our Lodge would cease to exist if we didn’t make changes immediately to cover the costs of our building," wrote current Exalted Ruler Jim Holman in a letter to the lodge.

While the lodge will not control the bar as in the past, Brannon plans to offer discounts and specials for Elk members.

"I've been an Elk member for 25 years. The lodge is important to me," Brannon said. "We'll still take care of them. With the larger kitchen space, I think we'll be able to expand our menu some there."

After Wong's moves out, that will clear the way for renovation for the new Charlie's.

Brannon says he needs to be out of the Brentwood on 2nd Hotel at 1406 Second St. SW by the end of August. The hotel is slated to be demolished to make way for a proposed $100 million,13-story development. It's unclear if other commercial tenants such as City Market, A Shared Smile and the Healing Touch Spa also will be leaving then.

Bingo is proving to be a bright spot for the Elks in the midst of difficult times. The lodge has hosted charitable bingo games in its previous Rochester home, but they stopped when the Elks moved into Hillcrest in 2006. Then in 2014, the Rochester Senior Center moved its Flamingo Bingo operation into the Elks lodge. 

The Senior Center closed up shop in December 2014, but the Elks launched their own bingo hall last summer. It has proven to be popular and has helped stabilize the lodge's finances.


June 10, 2016

More Dunkin' Donuts coming southern Minnesota

Two years after making a flashy return to Minnesota with a Rochester shop, Dunkin' Donuts has signed a franchise agreement to bring three more locations to the region.

The Massachusetts doughnut maker announced Thursday that it has signed a deal with new franchisees Oliver Schugel and David Schooff to open three new restaurants in Mankato. The first one is slated to open in 2017.

06232014dunkindonutsMankato is leaping ahead of Rochester, which was expected to have about five locations by now. 

Rochester Retail Services, a division of the Kahler Hospitality Group, opened a shop here in June 2014 at 15 First Ave. SW in its Kahler Grand Hotel complex in the heart of downtown. It was the first one in Minnesota since 2005. Dunkin' said then that Rochester Retail Services would be opening five more shops in the next few years.

That changed last fall, according to Dunkin' Donuts Senior Director of Franchising Patrick Cunningham.

"Rochester Retail Services, the franchisee of record, will continue to own and operate the existing restaurant in the Kahler. However, they will not develop more Dunkin' stores as we previously reported," he said in October.

When announcing the coming Mankato shops, Dunkin' said franchise opportunities remain available in Rochester. Plus, "to help fuel additional growth in the market, special development incentives are available."

In Mankato, the new franchisees have more than 45 years of combined experience in business and real estate development.

“We have a passion and loyalty for the Dunkin' Donuts brand and look forward to opening our restaurants in the years to come," stated Schooff.