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1460 posts categorized "Food news"

January 27, 2016

Snack maker buys Dexter facility for $1.5 million

Rochester's Reichel Foods is expanding its operations and is bringing 14 jobs to Dexter by buying a long empty facility for $1.5 million.

Reichel Foods bought the 54,000-square-foot complex on Nov. 18 from the Development Corporation of Austin, according to Mower County records. It had been used by McNeilus Cos. of Dodge Center from 2003 to 2009 to manufacture cement mixer drums. McNeilus vacated the facility in 2013.

214 Industrial Park Drive, Dexter“We're growing. This gives us an opportunity to do what we need,” Reichel owner and president Craig Reichel said. “The building fits our needs really well.”

He said the snack-foods company is using the Dexter building for a combination of storage and distribution. While his company already is using part of it, he said remodeling is underway. Once that is complete, Reichel will be able to fully use it and add the new jobs.

ImgresThe Dexter building is an addition for Reichel Foods' Rochester facilities, which employs more than 400 employees. Reichel Foods makes snack foods, including the popular line of Dippin’ Stix products used in many vending machines and sold in stores such as Walmart. 

"It's a good fit for Dexter, " said DCA president John Garry.

The Austin DCA is a nonprofit corporation focused on economic development in Austin and greater Mower County. The DCA built the facility in 2003 for McNeilus in the Dexter industrial park just northeast of the I-90 juncture with Minnesota Highway 16.

The building has been on the market since November 2014, when McNeilus pulled out. When it closed the facility, almost 30 people worked there.

“These are good jobs for Dexter. I’m excited for the community, Reichel Foods and our region. I think it will work out really well," stated Garry in an announcement of the deal.

 

January 13, 2016

Knives are coming out again at Sushi Nishiki

Look for the knives to come out again at Rochester's Sushi Nishiki.

01132016sushinishkiOwner Sammi Loo says the sushi shop will re-open its doors for lunch at 11 a.m. Monday. This follows a short hiatus at the restaurant at 2854 41st NW that started in November. The previous closure was rumored as a transition to a new owner, but Loo remains as owner of the popular sushi eatery.

Loo says sushi fans will find familiar faces and a familiar menu at Sushi Nishki when they walk back in the door. However, she does plan to offer some special deals to welcome back her customers.

Sushi Nishki has a team of 8 to 10 employees on staff.

Loo and Lawrence Wong originally opened Sushi Nishiki in the Northwest Plaza, near IBM's hungry campus, in 2008.

In 2011, they also opened Impiana Kitchen and Sushi Bar at 318 S. Broadway — the former home of Sushi Itto/Katz's. Impiana Kitchen didn't find a niche on Broadway and that restaurant closed in 2013. Mango Thai soon moved into that spot and started cooking.

Thanks to my ever alert reader and Man About Town Jim Miner for taking the pic.

December 29, 2015

Rochester 'Smashburger' fans will stay hungry in 2016

A national gourmet burger chain has taken Rochester off the menu for a while.

Smashburger, a trendy burger juggernaut, confirmed earlier this year it was planning to open a shop here by late March.

"We do have a site picked out, according to our real estate sheet, and it's going to be a corporate restaurant, not Smashburger_herofranchise," said Smashburger Marketing Manager Christine Ferris in July.

However, not every plan works out.

When checking with Ferris this week to see if a specific location had been locked up, she offered a less optimistic answer than before.

"Unfortunately, it looks like that site is no longer in the plans for the next several years," she wrote. "We’ll be in touch if any of this changes in the near future."

So fans shouldn't expect to bite into any Smashburgers in the Med City any time soon.

Of course, Rochester burger lovers still have hometown favorite and local beef champion Newt's as well as the tasty and fast Snappy Stop.

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.

Readers also have been clamoring for burger specialists White Castle, Red Robin and/or Sonic Drive-in for many years.

However, none of them have ever moved up Rochester plans from their back burners.

 

December 08, 2015

Change is on the menu for Lost Cajun

Looks like change is on the menu at Rochester's only Cajun eatery.

Joe and Theresa Peplinski's Lost Cajun restaurant at 2025 S Broadway didn't open its doors Monday. Signs out front and posted on the windows said the restaurant said, "Sorry. We're closed for remodeling. Stay Tuned..."

12072015lostcajunHowever, employees said they were notified by email Sunday night that the restaurant is closed for good. The Rochester restaurant is no longer listed as a location on the national Lost Cajun website. The Peplinkis also canceled advertisements by email, saying that the restaurant had "closed its doors."

The owners were not available for comment on Monday.

If the Lost Cajun is done, it's possible that another restaurant concept under new owners is in the works. That could explain the "remodeling" signs. At this point, it seems Rochester diners will need to do as the sign says and "stay tuned."

In the early summer of 2014, the Rochester couple was very optimistic when they opened The Lost Cajun. The southern flavored restaurant is a franchise based on the original Lost Cajun in Colorado.

They transformed a 19-year-old former SuperAmerica convenience store into a 1,900-square-foot  restaurant with a bayou decor.

The Lost Cajun is known for serving up gumbo, beignets, chicory coffee, po' boy sandwiches and other authentic Louisiana dishes. 

November 11, 2015

Sushi Nishiki goes dark … temporarily?

Rochester sushi fans noticed last week that the door was locked, the knives were put up and the lights were out at Sushi Nishiki.

11112015sushinishiskiHowever, it might not be the end of the Crouching Tiger roll or the Crazy Monkey roll.

A sign in the window says the closure is only temporary.

Word is the business at 2854 41st NW might be closed just as part of a transition to a new owner. However, no one is discussing details of the deal, because the sale is reportedly still being hashed out.

Lawrence Wong and Sammi Loo originally opened Sushi Nishiki in the Northwest Plaza, near IBM's hungry campus, in 2008.
11112015sushinishikisign
In 2011, they also opened Impiana Kitchen and Sushi Bar at 318 S. Broadway — the former home of Sushi Itto/Katz's. Impiana Kitchen didn't find a niche on Broadway and it closed in 2013. 


Mango Thai
 soon moved into that spot and started cooking.


Insiders say that a similar change in owners is the story behind the Sushi Nishiki closure. I'll keep an eye on this to watch what happens next, because that's the way I roll. Heh.

 

November 09, 2015

Which Frontage Road restaurant building sold? Not the one you'd think.

While the empty restaurant next door is the one with a "For Sale" sign out front, it's Rochester's northwest Pizza Hut that recently sold for $1 million.

PRN10-PIZZA-HUT-LOGO-1y-4-1-1-1HighThe 29-year-old brick restaurant at 2001 U.S. 52 North Frontage Road was purchased by ERFK LTD of San Antonio, Texas on Oct. 28. It purchased the property, presumably as an investment, from San Antonio, Texas-based Muy Brands.

Given Muy's $168,000 investment in making over the building in early 2014, it seems likely that Pizza Hut will keep cooking there under the new landlord.

Muy Brands, one of the largest Pizza Hut franchisees in the U.S., acquired the three Rochester Pizza Huts as part of the purchase deal with Sky Ventures of Golden Valley. Sky Ventures sold 54 Pizza Huts to Muy at the end of 2013.

The Frontage Road Pizza Hut sold for $986,733. The Pizza Hut that shared a building with Taco Bell at 4000 Marketplace Drive NW closed this summer.

Muy also owns the Pizza Hut location at 840 S Broadway.

Now that this deal is done, it seems a safe bet that the next sale in the area will be right next to Pizza Hut.

The ex-McDonald's restaurant next door to the Frontage Road Pizza Hut has been empty and up for sale, since it moved to the new McDonald's restaurant by Costco, off 19th Street Northwest.

October 26, 2015

How about owning a Dunkin' Donuts shop?

Want to own a Dunkin' Donuts shop in Rochester?

The Massachusetts doughnut maker is making a major push into Minnesota with 24 new locations planned in the Twin Cities area. But its plans don't end at the metro area's boundaries.

Dunkin' is also looking for a new franchisee to open about five more shops in Rochester.

06232014dunkindonutsRochester Retail Services, a division of the Kahler Hospitality Services hotel group, opened a shop here in June 2014 at 15 First Ave. SW in the 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.

Dunkin' Donuts Senior Director of Franchising Patrick Cunningham says that plan has now changed.

"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 on Friday. "At this point, (Rochester) is open for more entrepreneurs. We're seeking franchisee candidates for Rochester, Mankato and southern Minnesota." 

Cunningham said he couldn't comment on how sales have been for the Kahler's Dunkin' shop, since it opened last year with 40 employees.

Patrick Short, Kahler Hospitality's managing director of operations, said the Rochester shop is doing well.

"Dunkin sales are steady with visitors to downtown Rochester and to Mayo employees. There are currently 18 employees, but I understand that they are looking for more counter help in the store just like many other businesses in Rochester today," he wrote in response to questions last week.

October 15, 2015

Is the Thickburger returning to Rochester?

It's been a long 14 years for Rochester fast food fans with a taste for Hardee's.

The restaurant known for its outlandish hamburger creations such as the Mile High Bacon Thickburger closed its doors in the Med City abruptly in 2001. Three Hardee's in Rochester and one in Stewartville closed their doors after franchisee Andris-Crawford Enterprises re-organized during bankruptcy. The four restaurants had 95 employees when they closed up shop.

HardeesADHowever, the over-the-top TV commercials still play locally, teasing people with gigantic mash-up burgers they can't have unless they drive to Winona or Austin.

And then the buzz started this summer that Hardee's and its smiley face star logo might be ready to make a comeback in Rochester.

Some calls to CKE Restaurants Inc., which owns St. Louis-based Hardee's and its California sibling Carl's Jr., eventually got a response in the form of a short email.

"We do have plans to open a Hardee’s in the Rochester area in the coming future, but at this time we cannot share any specifics on an opening date. We will keep you updated," wrote Melissa Penn of Hardee's.

So they are coming back to town … soonish. There's no word on where in Rochester or if there might more than one coming.

Whenever and wherever Hardee's opens, it will find a much more competitive Med City than when it left 14 years ago.

Many local spots in Rochester are well-known for their burgers such as hometown favorite Newt's, Wildwood Sports Bar, Fat Willy's and Rooster's Barn and Grill. The number of McDonald's, Burger Kings and Culver's locations have grown.

In 2009, Five Guys Burgers arrived and threw down the burger battle gauntlet. This summer, the trendy Smashburger chain also confirmed it has plans to be in Rochester sometime in 2016.

I guess we'll see just how big of an appetite Rochester has for fast food burgers. 

October 09, 2015

West Circle Drive Hy-vee by the numbers

 

Some numbers to know about Rochester's fourth Hy-vee grocery storeopening at 4211 W. Circle Drive NW.

09102015hyvee6• Oct. 20 - Opening date.
• 550 - Total number of employees.

• 125 - Part-time employees still to be hired.

• Oct. 12 - the next employee hiring event from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

09102015hyvee3
• 94,0000-square-feet - the size of the largest of Rochester's four stores.


• 67,000 - the number of product items on the shelves.

• 8,500 - the number of products in the Health Market section, more than any other Hy-vee.

• 2 - Windmills in parking lot that generate energy for the electric car charger stations.

• More than 150 - Number of cheeses in the Charcuterie (Shar-coot-er-re) department.

• $100 or more - Minimum online grocery order Hy-vee will deliver to your home for free. Delivery charges will apply to smaller orders.

October 06, 2015

Rochester co-op manager moves up to CEO job

People’s Food Co-op has named the Rochester store manager Lizzy Haywood to serve as the organization's CEO and general manager.

Haywood, who has led the Rochester store since it opened in 2013, took over the role on Sept. 28. She is now based in La Crosse, Wis. at the People's Food Co-op headquarters and original store. 

115840_7644_339_lizzy_haywood"The Rochester store manager position has been posted and we are accepting applications," said People's Marketing Director Ann Mull on Tuesday.

Haywood had been serving as interim CEO and general manager since Aug.19, when the previous CEO Michelle Schry resigned to take another job. Prior to coming to Rochester, she was the general manager at the Bluff County Co-op in Winona.

The People's Food Co-op in La Crosse merged with Rochester's Good Food Store in 2011. The organization then moved the cooperative into downtown Rochester.  The almost 27,000 square-foot People's Food Co-op opened on the main level of Rochester's Metropolitan Market Place complex at 519 First Ave. SW in 2013. 

The La Crosse organization is one of the 25 largest food cooperatives in the U.S. It has more than 8,000 member families in Rochester and La Crosse and annual revenues of $25 million.