Biz buzz :: Ichiban turns 30

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April 26, 2010
By: Gregory J. Scott
Gregory J. Scott
The name means “number one,” but the restaurant is turning the big three-oh.

Ichiban Steak House & Sushi Bar,1333 Nicollet Mall, celebrated 30 years of operation this April, capping off a month’s worth of birthday festivities with a gala dinner on April 22.

Ichiban opened its doors for business on April 13, 1980. But the restaurant was officially christened 10 months before. On June 19, 1979, before construction had even begun, the Reverand Fumio Matsui performed a traditional Shinto ground purification ceremony on the site. Jack Levit, CEO of Lakeview Management, the Winnipeg-based hospitality group that manages Ichiban, invited Matsui to Minneapolis for the occasion.

“Jack Levit was the inspiration behind the Ichiban,” said Henry Traa, Lakeview’s vice president. “He recognized the importance of creating a dining experience and not just a place to eat. His dedication to honoring Japanese traditions was visionary.”

Levit, who remains active in the restaurant’s management, is a well-known fan of Japanese culture. His attention to the traditions of Teppanyaki cuisine originally informed the design of the restaurant, which features floating boats that carry à la carte sushi and maki-roll orders along a stream of water emanating from the kitchen.

A second Ichiban location currently operates in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Seven launches catering service

Seven, the four-level sushi restaurant and night club, is introducing a new catering service. Through Seven in the City Catering, clients can have sushi and other specialty entrees delivered to any event. Or, if they choose, they can request to have one of Seven’s sushi chefs come to them to prepare a meal on-site. Gourmet sandwich options are also available for lunch.

Those interested in planning an event can call 612-746-1714 for a consultation.


Rock Bottom Brewery expands sidewalk café

The Downtown location of Rock Bottom Brewery has won permission from City Council to expand its sidewalk café, boosting its capacity from 32 to 84 seats.

The expansion extends the outdoor seating area along Hennepin Avenue and 9th Street, providing patio sitters a fuller view of Downtown foot traffic, especially during Twins games. Stanchions and planter boxes will surround the area. Regular table service and a full menu will be available for patrons, and the sidewalk seating area will keep the same hours as the bar, which is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days per week.


Tamale joint opens in Northstar Center

The famed specialty of Mercado Central’s La Loma Cafeteria and Midtown Exchange’s La Loma Tamales, both located on East Lake Street, has finally come Downtown.

The latest La Loma Tamales location has opened in the Northstar Center food court, taking over the old El Burrito space on the street level. The lunch counter offers traditional Oaxacan favorites for cheap, serving up tamales wrapped in cornhusks for three dollars or less. The small menu features tamales in various meat and vegetarian varieties, with a diverse selection of salsa and mole.


French boutique opens in Colonial Warehouse

C’est Chic, a French-inspired boutique specializing in women’s accessories, opened this month in the Colonial Warehouse building, at 212 3rd Ave. N., Suite 109.

Owner Pam Pappas Stanoch, a former French teacher, launched the store as an homage to the attention to detail that the French famously bring to their fashion. The boutique is not so much a place where you might build a new wardrobe. It’s a place where you’ll find the accents to rejuvenate the wardrobe you already have. Wispy scarves and charming hats abound, as do foreign brands like Italy’s Kitchen by Nimés (straw hats and bags),  Japan’s Acrylic (purses) and France’s Royal Tapisserie (more purses).

And if you’re not sure how to wind your scarf in that effortless-yet-secure, oh-so-French style, don’t sweat it. Boutique director Audrey d’Assignies can give you some hands-on pointers. C’est Chic also plans to offer workshops on how women can maximize accessories in their current wardrobe.

Store hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.