News Business Sports Entertainment Life Obituaries Opinion
Jobs Homes Cars Classifieds Shopping

Search PB Blogs

Loading

Categories

1479 posts categorized "Food news"

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. 

June 03, 2016

Forager spreading out into market space

After less than a year in operation, Rochester's popular Forager Brewing Co. gastropub is outgrowing its space.

The hipster-friendly beer, coffee and food place plans to take over space within its 1005 Sixth St. NW building that now houses the Kutzky Market retail area.

"We just need more room, so we're going to re-organize," said co-owner Annie Henderson.

Kutzky-market-logoThe plan is to close the 1,200-square-foot market area at the end of June and start moving beer-aging barrels into the space in July. Beside beer storage, the space will be used as a customer waiting area as well as a public art space with a small retail piece.

The market, which features many local handmade items and antiques, has eight vendor booths. 

"A lot of them already have new homes. Some are moving into the Dwell Local (store)," she said.

The shift also opens up room for Forager to host a local art galley and music performances.

"There will be a lot of new programing over there. After C4 (nonprofit Rochester art collective) closed, it has been tough for local artists to find free space for events," said Henderson. She previously served on the C4 board with her Forager co-owner, Sean Allen.

May 20, 2016

Rochester's south Chipotle to re-open after hot water issue

I received several messages last night from taco bowl fans about Rochester's south Chipotle Mexican Grill at 1201 S. Broadway being closed. Chipotle-mexican-grill
 

It was just closed on Thursday, due to a water heater problem. I checked in with a manager today and he said they expect to re-open the eatery in front of Crossroads Shopping Center at noon today.
 
So Med City Chipotle addicts can relax and go get their fix.
 
 
 

May 18, 2016

Chefs to upgrade Kahler's Lord Essex into a prime steak house

Here's some from my column on the culinary changes at the Kahler hotels. 

Local food fans in the know may recognize the names Tommie Tran and Duc Le. Tran used to own and operate The Lunch Box in the old downtown food court, previously on the third floor of the Galleria Mall, now University Square. Le comes from the Canadian Honker and Powers Ventures.

----------

 

Rochester's Kahler Hospitality Group is cooking again, with a new pair of executive chefs, who are turning the classic Lord Essex restaurant into a prime steak house.

Chefs Tommie Tran and Duc Le recently were promoted to take over the duties of Chef Stewart "Shefzilla" Woodman, who recently left after a short run at the Kahler hotels to return to the Twin Cities.

Image001"Both are banquet savvy and restaurant savvy," said Tyler Kase, area director of food and beverage for Kahler Hospitality Group, of the two Rochester chefs.

Tran and Le now are in charge of the culinary operations of the Kahler Grand Hotel and its sister hotels, which includes Lord Essex, The Grand Grill, Salute, Martini's, CB3, Freshens and Dunkin Donuts.

The hotels and restaurants are controlled and owned, in part, by local health-care executive and real estate developer Javon Bea and his family.

Kase, area director of food and beverage for Kahler Hospitality Group, says the first project for the culinary duo is upgrading the fabled Lord Essex in the Kahler Grand Hotel into a steak house serving only USDA prime cuts of beef.

With the closure of Rochester's beloved Michaels restaurant, he said it was decided there was a need for a classic steak house.

The change is underway and the plan is to officially re-launch Lord Essex this summer. It will serve eight prime cuts of steak in different portions, according to Kase.

Diners should expect an opportunity to "meet the meat" before getting their menus. Servers will roll a cart up to the table to display the prime cuts as well as lobsters and examples of Lord Essex's jumbo, one-pound baked potatoes.

"We're going for the 'wow factor,'" he said.

While the Lord Essex will feature many new menu items, it also will be serving long-time local favorites. That means the Duchess potato soup plus the French onion soup, which is being brought back by popular demand.

After the relaunch of Lord Essex, Tran and Le will turn their attentions to Salute in the Marriott hotel to more finely "hone" the Italian cuisine there.

Kahler Hospitality Group has an estimated 50 to 70 employees staffing its food venues.

May 16, 2016

Hot dogs of spring migrate back to Peace Plaza

Getting hungry waiting for food trucks to finally get the green light to be in downtown Rochester?

Largeb75124341eAs of Tuesday you can enjoy a hot dog on the Peace Plaza while you wait. 

The spring winds have spurred Rick "Murph" Murphy and his hot dog cart to migrate back to Rochester. Weather permitting, he's planning on putting up his umbrella in front of the Wells Fargo building and open for business on Tuesday.

While he has mixed up his menu some over the years, he plans to focus on the basics - hot dogs, chips and pop - this season.

"Whatever I tried in the past hasn't gone over big. Customers just want the same best all beef wiener that they have enjoyed for a decade," stated Murphy in an email.

This is the Pine Island's 11th season hawking dogs to the herds of hungry downtown workers looking for a quick lunch and some fresh air.

That means he has been around downtown longer than the University of Minnesota-Rochester, Grand Rounds, Chester's, the Minnesota BioBusiness Center, 300 First, Social Ice, 318 Commons, Big Brad's, Hot Shots! and lots of other changes.

He was already selling dogs when people started saying "Rah-Rah" about Rochester. He was downtown long before it became "The Place To Be." He was here back when DMC was just part of the name of an '80s rap group.

Quite simply, downtown is Murph's turf.

May 13, 2016

Celebrity chef leaves Kahler hotels

Chef Stewart "Shefzilla" Woodman's short tenure in Rochester is over.

The award-winning chef and cookbook author came to the Med City in September to take the reins of the culinary operations of the Kahler Grand Hotel and its sister hotels. The Kahler Hospitalit5672b9df89d09.imagey Group'srestaurants include The Grand Grill, Salute, Martini's, Crossings Bistro, Lord Essex, Freshens and Dunkin Donuts.


The hotels and restaurants are controlled and owned, in part, by local health-care executive and real estate developer Javon Bea and his family.


While it seemed last fall that the high-profile chef was planning for a long run in Rochester, Twin Cities media is reporting that Woodman started a new job this week as executive chef at Lela. Lela is a high-end Minneapolis eatery located on the northwest corner of Interstate 494 and Highway 100.

Mpls.St. Paul Magazine is reporting that Woodman is excited about the new role, because his gig in Rochester did not allow him much time to actually cook or manage a kitchen.

Michael Henry, Kahler's managing director of human resources, didn't return either a call or an email  today asking for details about the change and if Woodman has been replaced yet.

Kahler Hospitality has been tweaking its restaurants in recent years to keep up with the increasingly competitive Rochester food scene. Woodman's departure could set that process back a bit.

Prior to Woodman, Kahler Hospitality employed Chef Pasquale Presa from 2011 to 2015 to spice up its menus. Chef Pasquale is now the executive chef at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions in the Wisconsin Dells.