Biz buzz // The Belmore coming to Warehouse District

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August 27, 2012 // UPDATED 5:48 pm - December 27, 2012
By: Patrick Roche and Jeremy Zoss
Patrick Roche and Jeremy Zoss

WAREHOUSE DISTRICT — A new neighborhood café and music venue is coming to the Warehouse District by mid-September. Owner Ben Hill said the restaurant would likely be called The Belmore. The new venture will take over the former home of City Billiards, 25 4th St. N. 

The Belmore will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, with nearly everything made in-house, from scratch. Hill said The Belmore would likely offer fresh cookies and a variety of breakfast pastries, pizzas, sandwiches and more.

“Kind of like a fancy diner, that’s what we want to call it,” said Hill. “Fancy bar food slash hippy food.”

Hill said the restaurant will seat about 40 and offer both dine-in and deli-style options. He said they plan to sell coffee and breakfast and lunch sandwiches to go. They are shooting for a very relaxed feeling that brings in residents rather than the weekend Warehouse District party crowd.

“We just want to be a cool hangout for the neighborhood,” said Hill.

The Belmore will feature live music, but the venue is taking a very different path than others in the area. The Belmore will host small-scale concerts on weekends only, with a maximum capacity of around 300. 

“Right around 300 is a good kind of number,” said Hill. “There are not a lot of places of that size.”

Devil’s Advocate details expansion plans

Back in May, Erik Forsberg opened Devil’s Advocate at 89 10th St. S. At least, he opened the front bar section.

Since then, Devil’s Advocate has drawn attention with its menu, which focuses primarily on various styles of meatballs. The rear dining room has remained closed, except for a few special events. Now Forsberg is preparing to open the dining room, and as with the bar side of the restaurant, its menu will focus on one core menu item.

“What we’re going to do is steak frites,” said Forsberg. “It’s $20 a head, and you get salad, steak and fries.”

Forsberg said steak frites, or steak fries, is an affordable way to enjoy what is commonly one of the most expensive items on a restaurant menu. As with the bar’s meatball menu, focusing on one core menu item will allow him to serve it at an affordable price. Forsberg said he plans to roll out the steak frites program in early September from Wednesday through Saturday. If it proves popular enough, he plans to expand it to other nights.

The dining room section will launch with at least one other program: Sunday dinners. On Sunday evenings, the restaurant will offer a rotating selection of family-style meals for two or more. Forsberg said the price of Sunday dinners will vary based on the menu, but the first Sunday dinner will likely be priced as low as $16 a person.

“It’s our way of doing something different, experimenting with some different stuff,” said Forsberg. “It’s not just meatballs.” 

For the time being, Monday and Tuesday nights in the dining room will primarily be reserved for special events, such as the beer and whiskey dinners the restaurant has featured over the last few months. Forsberg said he had several breweries lined up for beer dinners and many even run the program weekly through September and October.

Stanley’s celebrates anniversary with beer fest

Stanley’s Northeast Bar Room, 2500 University Ave., will celebrate its two-year anniversary with an outdoor beer festival on Saturday, Oct. 6. Running 2 p.m.–5 p.m., the festival will feature over 75 beers from more than 20 breweries.

Tickets will be on sale soon for $25. Confirmed breweries include Schell’s, Summit, Finnegan’s, Deschutes, Surly, Goose Island and more.

Stanley’s marketing coordinator Luke Derheim said the event would feature several special firkins, hand-rolled cigars to pair with specific beers and advocacy groups Minnesota Beer Activists and Barley’s Angels.

Stanley’s also recently added a new program Derheim called “date night for beer geeks.” For $35, the program includes two entrees and a bottle from Stanley’s collection of rare limited-release beers. 

The Mill opens retail space

MID-CITY INDUSTRIAL — The Mill, a “maker space” where members can create anything they can imagine using various high-tech tools and equipment, has opened a retail space, through which members can sell their creations.

Brigette Mathiason, who teaches sewing classes at The Mill, said she was looking for a space to sell her crafts and The Mill had wanted a retail space since it opened in April. After discussing the concept with The Mill’s president Brian Boyle, Mathiason agreed to lead the project and started rounding up members to participate.

“We just talked about the philosophy of the Mill and I said I’ll do it,” said Mathiason. 

Within days, The Mill’s retail shop had five participating members. The first round of products includes handbags and laser-cut wood jewelry from Mathiason, magnets from artist Boxy Mouse, acrylic jewelry, handmade soaps and more. The store will also sell Mill-branded shirts, which are printed on The Mill’s new vinyl press. 

Mathiason said the retail shop has been a great way to bring together the strangers working together in the communal space. 

“I didn’t know all these people, and now we’re all trying to figure out ways to help each other,” she said. 

The Mill, 2300 Kennedy St. N.E., is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.

–10 p.m.

Indian food in the Lumber Exchange building

DOWNTOWN WEST — A new Indian restaurant called the Copper Pot will open soon in the northwest corner of the Lumber Exchange Building, located at the corner of 5th Street and Hennepin Avenue.

Owner Sree Yeruva said he signed the lease in May and has been going through licensing since then. Yeruva has been doing recon at other Twin Cities Indian restaurants for the past several months to see what he will be up against and how to improve Indian cuisine here. 

“We are buying the natural spices and blending them in the restaurant,” Yeruva said. “That is the main difference.”

He added that the Copper Pot would be using only fresh ingredients and fresh food, compared to other local spots that he said serve two-to-three-day-old food in their buffets. 

Yeruva has been in the restaurant business for years, starting as a waiter and working his way up to management to get a feel for all aspects of the business. He plans on bringing Minneapolis food that can be found in homes across all regions of India, rather than restaurant-style foods.

“Most people think Indian food is spicy food. It is not spicy food, it is a spice food,” Yeruva said. “Everyone will love the food.”

He plans on tailoring some of the menu to local tastes by adding cheese and meat to traditional recipes.

The expected hours of operation are weekdays 11 a.m.–11 p.m. and weekends 11 a.m.–2 p.m., with a lunch buffet every day. Happy hour starts at 4 p.m. with special drinks and appetizers, and dinner service follows at 5:30 p.m.

Yeruva decided to call the restaurant Copper Pot after traditional dishware found in India to let people know that his restaurant features traditional fare. In keeping with tradition, the restaurant has copper plates for the buffet and pots for the cooks.

The head chef at Copper Pot has 15 years experience in Indian cuisine. Besides having a full bar, Yeruva has handpicked different wines from across the globe and boasts a variety of beer options.

The Sample Room celebrates 10 years

BOTTINEAU —Small-plate restaurant The Sample Room will mark its 10th anniversary with a 10-day celebration running from Aug. 23 to Sept. 1. The celebration will feature multiple special deals for customers, including all-day happy hour and an ongoing deal that prices the restaurant’s popular Bottineau Burger at $5, including a Grain Belt Nordeast. 

Prior to the opening of The Sample Room, the building at 2124 Marshall St. NE was known as the Polish Palace. However, when the building was originally constructed in the 1890s, it was known as The Thies Hotel and Sample Room. The first floor was used to sample beers from the Gluek Brewery, which was located next to the building.

When the Polish Palace was purchased by co-owners Darren Ennis, Cathy “Sheba” Fideler, James Rosenberg and Christine Bravo, the plan was always to rename it The Sample Room, even before the small-plate menu was developed.  

 “We knew we wanted to keep the name because we wanted to pay homage to the history,” said Sheba. “The concept fit the name.”

Upon opening, Sheba and Ennis leveraged their backgrounds in marketing and event production to attract local and national media attention. An early write-up in The Wall Street Journal led to a visit by chef, author and television personality Anthony Bourdain. With the publicity came the customers.

“People were just pouring in,” said Ennis. “We had three-hour waits sometimes.”

While the business had ups and downs since then, Ennis said The Sample Room has remained both a neighborhood bar and a destination restaurant. The small-plate concept helped during the recession, and the low staff turnover made it a place where frequent customers could easily feel like regulars. 

“When we started, we were told to expect chef turnover every six months,” said Sheba. “We’re on number three in 10 years.” 

Those regular customers might find themselves receiving special gifts or unannounced deals during their visit to the anniversary event. Anyone who stops in will have the opportunity to try some anniversary specials, such as a roasted turkey leg, deep-fried Orea and Mexican corn on the cob, as well as a rotating selection of items from the restaurant’s original menu. The celebration will also include several live music performances and other entertainment. 

For the owners of The Sample Room, the celebration is a great opportunity to share how they feel about being a part of the neighborhood for a decade. 

“It’s fantastic,” said Ennis. “It’s awesome.”

Noted

The Falafel King location at 1851 Central Ave. N.E. has closed.

The Godiva Chocolate store in IDS Crystal Court is closed as of Aug. 25.