Biz buzz :: New grocery store fills niche in Loring Park

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August 31, 2009 // UPDATED 8:29 am - August 31, 2009
By: Elizabeth Sias
Elizabeth Sias

A new grocery store called Groceries and Deli on Harmon opened Aug. 21 on 13th Street and Harmon Place.

Kent Thomas, one of the owners of Metro Market on 5th in the North Loop neighborhood, teamed up with four others to open the new shop.

He has plans to open four or five more grocery stores in Downtown Minneapolis, but chose Loring Park as the first location because he said the people in the area were not being served. The next store will open in Mills District within a year or two.

“We want to serve the Downtown residents,” Thomas said. “It’s approaching 39,000 living Downtown, so we feel that there’s a need for a nice market.”

The stores, like Groceries and Deli on Harmon, will be relatively small — between 2,600 to 3,200 square feet — but Thomas said they chose items from the 1,500 to 2,000 most popular products found in grocery stores, and they also take requests from customers to provide additional items they’d like to see.

“We want to let people know this is their store,” Thomas said. “It’s not our store. It’s the store to serve the community.”

Some of the items they offer are Soluppa, which are organic soups from a local company, pet food, pasta, fruits, vegetables, breads, crackers, cookies, milk, soy milk, juices, health and beauty aids, and cooking and grilling utensils.

In addition to baking muffins and cookies to sell fresh, the store’s kitchen cooks rotisserie chickens. Next to the kitchen is the soup and salad bar, with tables set up so customers can enjoy in the store or take to go.

Thomas may have been right about the store filling a niche in the area. Just three hours after the doors opened, the new grocery store was already filling with customers. Two girls who came into the store said they lived nearby and would be visiting again soon.

“I’ve been in the business since 1980,” Thomas said. “It’s a business that serves the communities and I really enjoy it.”

Groceries and Deli on Harmon is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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A new restaurant called OM makes its grand opening on Sept. 10.

Located in the Warehouse District at 401 1st Ave. N., the restaurant will serve contemporary Indian cuisine.

Jennifer Lueck, sales and marketing manager, said the restaurant’s menu will be available online when the redesigned website launches Aug. 24.

The idea for the restaurant began when Vik Uppal, co-owner of Uppal Enterprises, partnered with local restaurateur Randy Norman of The Capital Grille and now-defunct Bellanotte.

They decided on contemporary Indian because the two owners saw a demand in the Twin Cities that was not being met.

“I know food, and I know people,” co-owner Norman stated on the website. “Interest in Indian cuisine and culture are at an all time high. My business partner, Vik Uppal, and I want to make this rich and diverse culture accessible and approachable to everyone.”

They chose Raghavan Iyer, who has more than 20 years of experience as a cookbook author and culinary educator, as chef.

Lueck said OM is a universal word meaning “absolute, complete sense of peace.”

“We want people to feel comfortable,” she said. “We’re taking that to the next level when we say ‘state of peace.’”

Happy hour will be from 4:30–6:30 p.m. The restaurant will be open for dinner starting Sept. 11 until 10:30 p.m. Sunday–Thursday and until 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Lueck said people can sign up at the website to become an “OM enthusiast” to receive invitations to special events, including an opening event.

For more information, visit omminneapolis.com.

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Hotel Ivy, an upscale hotel property in Downtown Minneapolis, has been placed under court-appointed receivership, effective Aug. 17.

Chuck Paton, the hotel’s general manager, said the receivership affects the 136-room hotel at 201 S. 11th St. and its restaurant, Porter and Frye. The Ivy Spa Club and the complex’s 92 condominiums are unaffected.

Paton said the court appointed Turnstone Holding as the receiver, and the company will manage Ivy Hotel for an indefinite period of time.

While the legal battles unfold, Paton said the hotel would operate as usual.

“Everything is the same for our guests, our staff and our clients,” he said. “It’s business as usual.”