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1423 posts categorized "Food news"

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.

September 10, 2014

Workers at Lakeside Foods to lose jobs when Hormel ends contract

PLAINVIEW — About half of the year-round workers at Lakeside Foods workers learned last week that their jobs at Plainview's largest employer will be ending soon, as Austin's Hormel Foods pulls its contract with the plant.

4965162612_d023537c6b_oWhile the Manitowoc, Wis.-based Lakeside isn't releasing the number of jobs being cut, insiders are estimating that between 75 and 90 workers will lose their jobs when Hormel Foods pulls its production contract at the 650,000-square-foot plant.

Lakeside executives have previously said the Plainview plant employs about 80 full-time people, plus about 85 others that work solely on the Hormel contract. The Hormel contract with Lakeside to produce its Top Shelf products was a year-round contract.

Hormel says it plans to move that production to other facilities by late fall.

“This was a difficult decision to make, but moving the operations to other facilities within our company will provide greater production, purchasing and distribution efficiencies," said Donald J. Temperley, Hormel's vice president of Grocery Products operations, in a message this morning.

When the plant is packing seasonal vegetables, Lakeside's employment swells to a temporary peak of about 270 workers, who work 60 to 70 hours a week to get the fresh vegetables canned and frozen.

Plainview Economic Development Director Judith O. Jordan said when the community's largest employer loses such a major contract and needs to cut positions, it's a serious situation.

"We are all concerned about how this impacts Plainview. We hope Lakeside will be able to identify a new co-packer to work with to replace the Hormel production," she said.

The Lakeside Foods facility in Plainview is just one of eleven food processing plant in the Lakeside system. The Plainview facility is also one of six distribution facilities.

August 19, 2014

Work on Holiday's new Valleyhigh station is cruising along

It looks like construction of the new Holiday Station c-store at Valleyhigh Drive and 40th Ave. N.W. is pumping right along.

08182014valleyhighholidayWork on this station is further along than Holiday's other new station project at 19th Street and U.S. 52, but both mark a major push by the Bloomington-based Holiday to try claim part of the Rochester market from the ubiquitous Kwik Trips.

Holiday moved back into Rochester last year when it purchased seven SuperAmerica stations here. It already had one station here. Holiday closed and sold two of the SAs. However, Holiday will have eight stations total with these two new C-stores being built.

Wisconsin-based Kwik Trip has 13 stations in Rochester with plans for more in the works.

August 15, 2014

Mama Fu's Rochester eatery is 'indefinitely' postponed

Mama Fu's Asian House still wants to open an eatery in Rochester, but don't expect to try General Fu's Chicken here anytime soon.

The Austin, Texas-based "Asian-centric" restaurant chain says its plans for a downtown location near Mayo Clinic are "indefinitely" postponed at this point.

Mama_Fus_logo_V_rgbBuzz about the quick Asian cuisine brand has been simmering since last year when the PB's insatiably hungry Answer Man wrote a column in November that said Mama Fu's had marked off a space in the Kahler Grand Hotel for a Rochester restaurant. Building permit applications were submitted to the city. Signs went in up in the Kahler promoting the future arrival of the franchise.

In recent months, Mama Fu's CEO still was mentioning the future Rochester location in news stories about the chain's plans to open smaller places as well as it's expansion into the Middle East.

Mama Fu's was slated to part be of the Kahler Hospitality Group's growing portfolio of franchise food spots including, Dunkin' Donuts and Freshens.

However, the signs came down and talk of Mama Fu's eventually faded. Albert Im, marketing manager for the Austin company, cleared up the situation in email this week.

"Mama Fu's and our franchise partner were looking forward to opening this year in the Mayo Clinic area. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances and logistical issues associated with the site, we have postponed plans to open in Rochester indefinitely until our next steps are identified," he wrote. "While we have every expectation that Rochester will be a fantastic market for Mama Fu's Asian House, we are unable to determine a time frame for our emergence into the community."

So, it may be a while longer until the local franchise partner opens a Mama Fu's in Rochester. However, work is progressing quickly on the Kahler Hospitality Group's second Freshens cafe. It will be located in the Marriott Subway in the former home of The Crate.

August 12, 2014

Sale results in a double shot of juice for downtown Rochester

The result of a recent deal is a double shot of fresh juice plus new food offerings in downtown Rochester.

On Aug. 6, Ann Chafoulias sold her Essential Juice in the First Avenue Food Court to David Hewitt. He also owns Mama Meg's Parlour and co-owns Johnny Mango's Pita Cafe in the same food court.

12082014juicetonictooChafoulias originally opened Essential in December with the goal of introducing downtown to healthy, fresh cold-pressed juice. She says the new business quickly earned many loyal regular customers and it was building a strong foundation. She developed a staff of about five employees.

"It's a beautiful product," she said. "It's the perfect spot for it. I believe in Rochester and in downtown."

Then during the last brutal winter, Chafoulias was offered a very appealing opportunity in Phoenix, Ariz., where she had attended college.

That drove her to find a buyer for Essential with the hope that the new owner would continue what she had built. Hewitt bit on the juicy offer and he brought in Nikki Sylvester, who opened a cold-pressed juice bar and organic food eatery called Tonic in southwest Rochester last fall.

On Monday, Hewitt and Sylvester unveiled a "co-branded" place under the name of Essential Cold-press Juices and Tonic Too.

In addition to Essential's bottles of freshly pressed juice, the new blended business now also serves luncheon options from Tonic's menu and smoothies.

Look for the Tonic/Essential mix to be serving at the popular Thursdays on First and Third street market from Sylvester's distinctive orange-shaped cart. Mama Meg's and Johnny Mango's Pita Cafe also are food vendors at the weekly events.

For her part, Chafoulias is glad that her juice business is still adding a fresh flavor to downtown.

"I'm excited to see what happens next," she said.

August 08, 2014

Cherry Berry on Maine closed, but original Roch. shop still busy

It looks like the fro-yo is no longer a go in Rochester's Shoppes on Maine commercial enclave, though it's still flowing right along at Shoppes on Second.

07082014cherryberryonmaineThe doors at the Med City's second Cherry Berry frozen yogurt shop, which just opened last year, were locked up this week. A sign in the window of Suite 307 at 4662 Maine Ave. S.E. said, "CherryBerry on Maine has closed, Thank you all of our customers." No other details seem to be available about the closing.

Editor's Note: Thanks to Josh Banks of Banks Photos for snapping this pic and giving it to me.

This shop was owned by a separate franchisee and had no connection to Rochester's original and always busy Cherry Berry frozen yogurt shop at Second Street Southwest and U.S. 52. Joel Granberg and his wife opened that Cherry Berry in 2012. That shop is still open for business and serving up lots yogurt.

Of course, Pat Carroll, known for his iconic Carroll's Corn popcorn shop in downtown, was the first to really bring the most recent wave of frozen yogurt to the Med City in 2012.

Carroll's Cup is next to his popcorn shop in the subway under the Kahler Grand Hotel. He also has a Carroll's Cup in the food court of the Apache Mall.

August 06, 2014

New northwest Rochester McDonald's to open next week

Courtesy Corp., which owns the six McDonald's restaurants in Rochester, plans to open its new northwest location on Aug. 14.

05082014newmcdonaldscostcoThe still under-construction McDonald's stands in front of the Costco warehouse store, facing West Circle Drive Northwest.

It will replace Courtesy Corp.'s long-time restaurant on the U.S. 52 North frontage road near 19th Street Northwest. That location closed earlier this week in preparation for the opening on the new restaurant.

When plans for the new restaurant were announced last year, Courtesy Corp. President Rick Lommen said the old McDonald's had about 65 employees on staff. He anticipated that number could grow to 80 or 90, when the new one opens.

The company spent $1.32 million to buy the land in the 108 acre commercial development, which is owned  the real estate development arm of the Kwik Trip convenience store chain.

Lommen explained that McDonald's thought the restauran05082014closingmcdonaldst would do much better in the rapidly growing area at the corner of West Circle Drive and 19th Street Northwest.

"I just believe that long-term that is going to be an outstanding development, and it will show significant growth for years to come," he said.

Conversely, the longtime location on the U.S. 52 Frontage Road lost much of its visibility and customer traffic when the highway was updated a few years ago.

Courtesy Corp. is not the only company that's banking on the growth in that northwest development that's exploding around Costco and a Kwik Trip station.

A 77-room Comfort Inn and Suites and a 109-room Staybridge Suites are both under construction near the new McDonald's. Discount grocer Aldi also recently announced its own plans to build a second Rochester store in the same area.

A St. Paul-based developer,TJL Development is working on plans for a 2,500-square-foot building to be occupied by a co-branded coffee and food business as well as a 4,000-square-foot store for a national retailer.

July 30, 2014

Developer working on new projects in N.W. Roch.

A St. Paul-based developer is looking to follow up its first Med City project with a couple more in the increasingly active northwest quadrant.


TJL Development recently built a new 4,000-square-foot paint store for Sherwin-Williams in south Rochester, in front of the south ShopKo and Menards stores.

Now the firm is working on projects by the Costco complex in northwest Rochester.

"We're hopeful to soon finalize transactions for two free-standing buildings," said Jim Lavalle, principal of TJL Development.

If the deals work out as he hopes, TJL will construct a 2,500-square-foot building to be occupied by a co-branded coffee and food business as well as a 4,000-square-foot store for a national retailer. The developer would own the buildings and lease them to the tenants.

"Rochester is a great place to do business, is what we've found, and we'd like to do more business down there," said Lavalle of why his firm is working in the Med City.

These plans would just add to the flurry of construction already underway in front of Costco and Kwik Trip.

A new McDonald's restaurant is being built there to replace the older one on the U.S. 52 North Frontage Road. Construction also is buzzing along for a 77-room Comfort Inn and Suites and a 109-room Staybridge Suites in the same area.

Discount grocer, Aldi, also recently announced plans to build a 17,000-square-foot store within the same development, at the corner of 22nd Street Northwest and Commerce Drive.

The whole 108-acre area on the northeast corner of West Circle Drive and 19th Street Northwest is being developed by Northwest Investments, the real estate arm of Kwik Trip Inc. For years, Hans Zietlow of the La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip has said that spot is the "key property" on Rochester's west side.

With all of the dirt moving and walls going up, it looks like a lot of people agree with him.