Biz buzz // Insert Coins opens Oct. 26

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October 8, 2012 // UPDATED 5:48 pm - December 27, 2012
By: Jeremy Zoss
Jeremy Zoss

WAREHOUSE DISTRICT — Video game-themed nightclub Insert Coins, 315 1st Ave. N., has announced a grand opening date of Oct. 26. 

According to co-founder Stefano Sinicropi, the grand opening celebration will kick off a week of Halloween-themed events that will culminate with a major party on Oct. 31.

The nearly 11,000-square-foot club is the second location for Insert Coins after the original Las Vegas location. It combines elements of traditional arcades and nightclubs for an experience Sinicropi said can be enjoyed by everyone. 

“What kind of better, cleaner fun can you have than a place like this?” he asked. “It’s not just ‘let’s go out.’ It’s ‘let’s go out and do something.’”

Around the central dance floor are various booths and play areas, most with their own unique hook. One area is focused on 3D gaming. Another features a four-sided 43-inch “jumbotron” television set up. There is a private room devoted to motion gaming experiences like those offered by the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Kinect. An upstairs area is devoted to classic arcade machines. 

Insert Coins also does not skimp on the club elements. One end of the dance floor houses a large stage for DJs and live music. A VIP area with a separate entrance and bathroom can be rented for private parties. The dozens of high-definition televisions around the club can be programmed to pulse in time with music, display live feeds of hot spots in the club or broadcast any of 180 different channels. The club will be staffed by both cocktail servers and “game runners” who will bring patrons requested video games and answer any questions they might have on how to play.

“We’re going to try to provide world-class service to everyone that comes in,” said Sinicropi. “If you’re sitting down in front of [the boxing video game] ‘Fight Night,’ it’s not fun if it takes you three hours to figure out how to throw a left hook.” 

Insert Coins will feature all-ages time during the day and switch to a 21+ format at night to keep the business accessible to all audiences. Sinicropi hopes to reach customers who don’t frequent clubs with another selling point: the food. Insert Coins has hired former Caribe Carribean Bistro owner Tony Panelli as his executive chef. Panelli’s restaurant earned many rave reviews, but did not survive the light rail construction outside its St. Paul location. At Insert Coins, Panelli plans to serve Carribean food and more.  

“I’m going to do fusion, but I want to work with my strengths,” said Panelli. “I didn’t get enough time to grow and for people to try the food.”

Insert Coins has also partnered with the Minnesota Vikings to bring a taste of the nightclub to the Metrodome. A “miniature” version of the club, featuring both classic arcade games and modern video game consoles, opened in the stadium’s Gridiron Club on Sept. 23.

ElseWarehouse’s restaurant tenant debuts at “Überfest”

NORTH LOOP — Greco Development’s ElseWarehouse apartment building, 730 Washington Ave. N., is scheduled to open on Dec. 1, but diners will have a chance to preview food from its restaurant tenant on Oct. 13 during the block party “Überfest.” 

Bear Cheese is the new venture from veterans of Robbinsdale’s popular chef-driven restaurant Travail.

Along with music and drinks, the event will feature a food sampling from Bear Cheese Restaurant, the business launching in ElseWarehouse’s 6,500-square-foot retail space. 

A Greco Development representative said more information about Bear Cheese would be revealed soon. The Überfest event runs from 4–10 p.m. on Oct. 13 and features music by BloodNstuff, The Honeydogs, Hookers & Blow and DJ Strangelove. Überfest is free and open to the public, but a commemorative Überfest beer stein can be reserved on ElseWarehouse’s Facebook page for $10, which includes three beers. 

World of Beer coming to Minneapolis

National craft beer bar chain World of Beer is coming to downtown Minneapolis. According to World of Beer’s Adam Chwala, the Tampa, Florida-based business will open its Minneapolis location sometime in spring of 2013.

World of Beer currently has around 30 locations, mostly in the southeastern part of the country. However, the locations are all unique, thanks to a program that focuses on serving local beers. 

“World of Beer is an upscale craft beer bar, typically featuring over 500 craft beers from all around the world and anywhere from 30 to 50 taps,” said Chwala. “A lot of our beers are regionalized, so we’ll be featuring a lot of Minnesota and Midwestern taps. Midwest people are very loyal to Midwest beers. We want to feature as many Midwest beers as possible.”

Another aspect that makes each World of Beer location unique is the chain’s approach to food. Most locations are only around 3,000 square feet and have no kitchen. “What we do is we partner with our neighboring restaurants to create a World of Beer menu,’ said Chwala. “Our neighboring restaurant partners will deliver to our guests.”

Chwala said he’s not quite ready to reveal where the downtown Minneapolis World of Beer will be located. 

Each World of Beer location also features live music on weekends and during special events. Chwala said the combination of craft-only beer, food from nearby restaurants and live music is unique to the Minneapolis market and should provide an experience that can’t be found at other bars.

“The popularity of craft beer and local taprooms is pretty exciting,” he said. “It has been building momentum for the last couple years. Downtown Minneapolis doesn’t really have anything like it.”

Jax Café and Bulldog NE launch catering efforts

On Saturday, Sept. 22, the Northeast Riverfeast was held at the Grain Belt Brewery. The event featured food from several Northeast-based restaurants and food vendors, including two new catering services from established restaurants Jax Café and Bulldog NE. 

Jax Café owner Bill Kozlak said Jax has been doing some catering for a while, but the Riverfeast was an “unofficial formal” debut of the service. 

“We’ve been doing it for a little bit. We’ve been doing some concessions at TCF Bank Stadium and Mariucci Arena and some graduation parties and stuff,” said Kozlak. “So we added some equipment and a vehicle to make it official now.”

Kozlak said Jax’s catering is available for everything from backyard parties to formal events. It can provide everything from bacon-wrapped hot dogs to poached salmon and carved tenderloin.

“A lot of it is tailor-made menus for each event,” he said. “We’ve done informal parties and formal stuff like board meetings.” 

Bulldog NE owners Chris and Amy Rowland also debuted their new company, Stray Dog Catering, at the event. Stray Dog is a separate business from the Bulldog NE, but will serve burgers from the restaurant’s menu. 

“We’re going to have the same great burgers we have at the Bulldog, but we’re also going to have these great flatbreads, porkbelly paninis and things like that too,” said Amy Rowland. “We’re going to try to do a food truck eventually and we’re just going to try to do some fun stuff with off-site catering.”

Rowland said she and her husband have been planning the catering business for about a year and a half, and the idea was born out of Amy Rowland’s desire to launch as private wine label for the Bulldog NE. She wanted to serve the wine at both the restaurant and through the catering service, but legal issues will only allow it to be served in the restaurant. Like the catering company, the Bulldog NE’s private wine label is called Stray Dog.

Revolution Cycle + Fitness celebrates grand opening

BOTTINEAU — Revolution Cycle + Fitness, 1828 Marshall St. NE, celebrated its grand opening on Sept. 29 with a party at Urban Eatery. The fitness studio opened in May after founder Dawn Doll’s previous fitness business, 501, outgrew its space inside of 501 Fit on Washington Avenue. Revolution Cycle + Fitness is more than just a larger version of 501 Spin, said Doll. Revolution Cycle is built around a form of exercise called metabolic training.

“It’s the reason behind why we call ourselves Revolution,” said Doll. “It means you think different about how you exercise. When you metabolically train, you burn way more calories after you exercise.”

Doll has been working in the fitness industry for nearly 10 years and said Revolution Cycle was the first fitness studio in the Twin Cities to offer equipment like the RealRyder, an indoor cycle that moves like a real road bike, causing the user to burn more calories. The studio also features equipment like the Krankcycle for upper-body workouts, as well as classes in non-cycling workouts like, yoga, pilates, kettlebells and more.

Doll said one reason Revolution offers a variety of workout classes is that members of specialized gyms often have more than one membership to meet all their exercise needs. She said 95 percent of Revolution clients work out exclusively at the studio, most three or four times per week.

“We’re here to bring something different to the Twin Cities,” she said. 

For more information, visit 


Food truck The Twisted Sister House of Hunger now delivers in downtown from Hennepin Avenue to 5th Avenue and Washington Avenue to 10th St. To order, call 715-9272. There is a minimum charge of $10 and a $2 delivery fee.

Cool Cups Yogurt is scheduled to open in early October in the skyway level of One Financial Plaza.