News Business Sports Entertainment Life Obituaries Opinion
Jobs Homes Cars Classifieds Shopping
Local Bloggers Cheap Tech Eco-Confessions Faceoff Furst Draft Heard on the Street Med City Movie Guy Pulse on Health Political Party

Search PB Blogs

Loading

Categories

602 posts categorized "Food and Drink"

August 11, 2015

New SW grocery store to open in September

The latest entry in Rochester's grocery scene plans to open its doors in mid-September.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage has been working on a 14,000-square-foot store at 1507 Greenview Drive SW by Kwik Trip and TJ Maxx Plaza for the past few months.

08112015naturalgrocersThe Golden, Colo.-based specialty grocery chain is planning to open on Sept. 15. Expect a large grand opening event with a couple preview days before for local VIPs.

Natural Grocers built its new store at the corner of Greenview Drive and Salem Road Southwest on a site once slated for a Think Mutual Bank branch. Think changed its strategy and opted to renovate its nearby branch.

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

Natural Grocers features 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 generates about 30 percent of its revenue.

The new store is the latest player in the increasingly competitive grocery scene in Rochester. Discount grocer Aldi recently opened a second store near Costco in northwest Rochester. Hy-Vee is working on its fourth location, which is slated to open later this year, and it will have a grand reopening of the remodeled 37th Street Northwest store on Aug. 20.

 

August 07, 2015

Apollo Liquors Express opens Oronoco location

Apollo is coming to Oronoco.

968825_549948038406056_1931891568_nThe Oronoco Gas N Go convenience store on the east side of U.S. Highway 52 North is popping the top on a new store-within-a-store today. The Gas N Go is opening up an Apollo Liquors Express store today.

To launch the new venture, the Gas N Go is hosting a grand opening celebration today and Saturday with music, food and prize giveaways.

August 04, 2015

Thai eatery closes, hopes to hit road as food truck

A northwest Rochester restaurateur has closed the doors of his eatery, but he hopes to eventually take his menu on the road.

Over the weekend, Pativath "Vot" Louprasong closed Sok Dee at 4180 18th Ave. NW in front of the Cedarwood Plaza shopping center. He said expenses had just gotten too high keep it open there.

That's the building which previously has housed Far East FusionJohn Hardy's Bar-B-Q and Roscoe's Root Beer & Ribs.

08042015sokdeeclosedLouprasong opened the Thai restaurant in 2013. In the past two years, his family's Thai food earned him a small but loyal group of fans in Rochester. He said he wants to thank those customers for their business. That's part of what is driving his plan to follow the hot national trend and start up a Sok Dee food truck.

"I have a good following of people. I'd like to start a food truck by early next spring," he said. "This won't be the last time they hear from me."

In 2013, Louprasong, the youngest of 10 siblings, said opening a restaurant was something he's wanted to do, "since my family came to the U.S. in 1979."

He thinks he'll have good luck with a truck — and Sok Dee means, basically, "good luck" in both the Thai and Laotian languages.

Why start a truck instead of looking for a new restaurant location?

"The freedom," said Louprasong. "But eventually, I would like have another sit-down restaurant."

 

July 28, 2015

New pizza place cooking for NW Rochester

Pizza is returning to Rochester's Northgate Plaza neighborhood.


A new carryout franchise called $5 Pizza is gearing up to open in the former Pizza Hut space at 1105 Seventh St. NW, says co-owner Doug Howe. Construction is underway, and he hopes to have the new eatery open by late August.

They expect to have a team of five to 10 employees on staff.

Darci Fenske of Paramark Real Estate brokered the deal to bring $5 Pizza into that spot.

UnnamedHowe and his partner, Rod Bailey, believe the pizza chain, which has 13 Minnesota locations, is a good fit for Rochester and that neighborhood in particular.

"We tried it up in the Cities. We loved the product and we loved the concept. We bake it and you carry it out," he said. "With this economy, it's always not always easy to feed a family."

The $5 Pizza approach is to keep costs down by not offering restaurant seating or delivery. Customers pick up pizzas. All one-topping pizzas cost just $5.

It offers a full menu, which includes specialty pizzas such as Cheeseburger and Inferno Chicken. It also serves breadsticks and a variety of chicken wings.

That spot puts $5 Pizza in the heart of a busy northwest Rochester neighborhood.

"We liked the fact it's a block away from John Marshall High School. And there's a lot of housing right behind us," said Howe. "Geographically, it's a great location for us."

July 24, 2015

A new burger chain plans to 'smash' into Rochester

Could the flames of Rochester's always simmering burger wars soon flare up from the heat of competition?

Possibly. Another national gourmet burger chain is planning to smash into the Rochester market.

Smashburger, a trendy burger juggernaut, is expanding rapidly its footprint across the U.S. and now Rochester is on its radar. The chain is known for "smashing" its fresh hamburger patties to sear in flavor.

Bigburger_situational_960x394_home_page-cactusSmashburger Marketing Manager Christine Ferris said they hope to be cooking in Rochester by late March 2016.

"To answer your question, we do have a site picked out according to our real estate sheet and it’s going to be a corporate restaurant, not franchise. It looks like the projected opening date is for late March of 2016," she wrote in answer to an inquiry about their plans.

This could bring a competitor into a city already dominated by hometown favorite and local burger champion Newt's.

In 2009, Five Guys Burgers arrived and threw down the burger battle gauntlet. Newt's has kept its title as the top burger power, but plenty of skirmishes continue between Five Guys, Culvers and the usual lineup of fast-food suspects.

SmashBurger_logoReaders have been clamoring for burger specialists White Castle, Red Robin and/or Sonic Drive-in for many years, but none of those players have ever gotten serious about cooking in the Med City.

The Denver, Colo.-based company already has 13 restaurants in Minnesota and is ready to start construction on a new one in Shakopee, according to an article in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal this week.

If Smashburger does open in Rochester in March, it will be the first new big national name to jump into the local fray, since Five Guys arrived six years ago. 

July 10, 2015

Jersey Jo's is open and selling Philly cheesesteaks

In case you missed it yesterday, Jersey Jo's is now officially open for business in Rochester.

This is Joe Phillips' new East Coast flavored restaurant, just a couple of blocks from Mayo Clinic’s Saint Marys Hospital. It's located at 187 16th Ave. SW in the Shoppes on Second commercial center spot that was last occupied by Cousin’s Subs. Cousin's closed and sold its equipment to Phillips.09072015jerseyjos

Jersey Jo’s menu is built around “authentic Philly Cheesesteaks and more.”

Phillips, a software programmer who will continue that profession remotely from the restaurant, said this new project started very simply.

“I couldn’t get a cheesesteak anywhere around here that I liked,” he said. So after years of looking, he finally decided to open a place of his own.

In addition to Philly cheesesteaks, Jersey Jo’s also will serve cold hoagie sandwiches, chicken wings and a trio of specialty burgers. The meat will be sliced on-site, deli-style for each of the made-to-order sandwiches.

June 26, 2015

A taste of the East Coast coming to Med City

The flavor of the East Coast is on its way to southwest Rochester.

Joe Phillips is cooking up a new eatery called Jersey Jo's to serve up "authentic Philly Cheesesteaks and more."

FireShot Capture - Order Online - http___jerseyjos.com_order-onlineHe hopes to be able to open Jersey Jo's by mid-July at 187 16th Ave. SW. Cousins Subs is moving out of that 1,600-square-foot spot in the Shoppes on Second commercial center at the end of June. That address will put him just a couple blocks away from Mayo Clinic's St. Marys Hospital and many hotels.

Phillips, a software programmer who will continue that profession remotely from the restaurant, said this new project started very simply.

"I couldn't get a cheesesteak anywhere around here that I liked," he said. So after years of looking, he finally decided to open a place of his own.

Phillips plans to "import" many of the ingredients for the Jersey Jo's signature cheesesteak sandwiches from the East Coast to create as authentic of a flavor as possible.

In addition to Philly cheesesteaks, Jersey Jo's also will serve cold hoagie sandwiches, chicken wings and a trio of specialty burgers. The meat will be sliced on-site, deli-style for each of the made-to-order sandwiches.

While he has long worked in the technology industry, Phillips knows his way around a kitchen from years in restaurants during college.

Phillips' vision for Jersey Jo's is to create a laid-back place like the small mom-and-pop corner shops he remembers from growing up in New Jersey.

"I want to offer a nondiscriminatory place for people to come and feel welcome while they have some good food," he said.

He expects to have about eight people on staff.

 

June 12, 2015

Checking in with Sonic

Hopeful rumors of a Sonic Drive-in opening in Rochester have been buzzing around… again.

I called Oklahoma City, Okla.-based burger and shake chain in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 to see if car hops and cherry limeades might be on the way to the Med City.

Sonic-drive-inI've never received an answer that made local Sonic fans happy. And unfortunately, the 2015 call did not turn out any differently.

"We do not have any signed contracts or any under construction drive-ins there," said Sonic's Communication Manager Jason Acock. "I don't see any plans right now of opening up in Rochester."

However, there's always a possibility. Sonic has opened a number of drive-ins in the Twin Cities and in nearby Wisconsin in the past eight years.

"We're open to looking all over the county right now. We're looking to expand everywhere," said Acock. "Hopefully, somebody will step forward and a franchisee will want to open a location up there."

May 18, 2015

The hot dogs of spring to return to downtown Rochester

Spring has officially arrived in Rochester with the annual return of Rick "Murph" Murphy and his hot dog cart.

6a00d83451cc8269e2017eea981e83970d-250wiAfter a long winter of eating indoors, the return of Murphy's cart is a significant milestone for downtown lunch crowd.

This is year marks the tenth season of the jovial Murphy selling hot dogs downtown in the Peace Plaza. Weather permitting, he's planning on putting up his umbrella in front of the Wells Fargo building and open for business on Tuesday.

To celebrate his tenth anniversary, he's rolling out some spice to his menu with some new items.

In addition to his usual hot dogs, chips and soda, Murphy will be serving a new cheddar and jalapeno sausage with salsa, a new turkey dog with barbecue sauce and onions and a new Italian beef sandwich cooked in au jus sauce.

For the really hungry diners, he will also have new larger sizes of drinks and bags of chips.

April 14, 2015

New barbecue place is cooking in southwest Rochester

The smoke signals say that a new flavor is on the way for southwest Rochester.

Dickey's Barbecue Pit is slated to fill the remaining 2,000-square-feet of the new Aspen Dental building at 1300 Salem Road SW in front of the TJ Maxx Plaza, says franchise oDickeysaspenwner Josh Laber.

Dickey's is a quick casual chain known for its smoked meats and Texas-style barbecue. The Dallas, Texas-based restaurant firm has about 470 restaurants in U.S. with eight in Minnesota.

"We're hoping to be able to open the doors by mid-summer," said Laber.

He'll be ready to launch "his second career" as soon as he wraps up his current one with the Rochester Police Dept. Laber has served as a Rochester police officer for the past nine years. He's slated to work his last shift as an officer this week.

While Rochester does already have several barbecue choices with Roscoe's, John Hardy's and Famous Dave's, the Labers believe Dickey's brings something new to the mix.

"My wife and I (Natashya) have been looking for something for the past few years. We always thought something was missing," he said. "Dickey's serves up good slow cooked meat at a fast pace that's good for the lunch crowd and for dinner."

Now the Labers and their five children cooking up a new restaurant, which will have its own drive-through window. They estimate that they'll need about 20 employees to staff the new Dickey's.

Expect to see Josh Laber at Dickey's as the owner and operator. Natashya Laber will continue to teach at John Marshall High School. Laber said he knows he has a lot of work ahead of him, but at least it will now be for his own business.

The Aspen Dental building is owned by Rochester's Forsons Investments, which also owns the TJ Maxx Plaza.