Biz buzz :: Fulton Beer to open brewery

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September 13, 2010 // UPDATED 9:20 am - September 13, 2010
By: Gregory J. Scott
Gregory J. Scott
Fulton Beer to open brewery in North Loop

A burgeoning Minneapolis microbrewery wants to move its craft beer operation to the Warehouse District.

Fulton Beer, a hobby-turned-business launched last October by four college friends living in the Fulton neighborhood of Southwest Minneapolis, has signed a lease for a 6,000 square-foot space at 414 6th Ave. N., just blocks from Target Field. According to co-owner Ryan Petz, the site is intended to be used as a brewery and could open as soon as this winter, depending on financing.

Costs for equipment and renovation could range from $250,000 to $500,000, Petz said.

Fulton Beer is currently brewed in Black River Falls, Wis., and is served in 70 to 80 bars across the Twin Cities.

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Bar La Grassa honored as one of Bon Appetit’s top new restaurants

Not only is Bar La Grassa one of the best new restaurants in Minneapolis, it’s one of the best new restaurants in the country, according to Bon Appetit magazine.

In its August issue, the national dining publication included La Grassa, 800 Washington Ave. N., on its list of Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America. The trendy North Loop eatery was the only non-Chicago Midwestern pick on the prestigious list.

La Grassa — Italian for “the fat” — opened in October 2009, the brainchild of chef Isaac Becker and his wife Nancy St. Pierre (the two also own 112 Eatery), and restaurateur Josh Thoma (La Belle Vie, Barrio, Solera, Smack Shack, etc.). The menu features authentic Italian cuisine inspired by the Emilia Romagna and Bologna areas of Italy, which is where tortellini comes from.

Bon Appetit hailed the restaurant’s 24-seat pasta bar and listed both the gnocchi with cauliflower and orange and the crab ravioli as “must order” dishes.

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American Burger Bar adds Downtown location

American Burger Bar, the St. Paul gastropub known for its vintage supperclub swank and its gourmet burgers, plans to open a new Downtown location. According to owners Erick Sandroc and Brad Ireland, the Burger Bar hopes to open in the former Manhattan’s Restaurant space, 800 LaSalle Ave., by mid-October.

The Downtown location is just one piece of an expansion that includes two other new ventures: another American Burger Bar in St. Joseph’s, Minn., slated to open early September, and a coffee and ice cream parlor in Blaine called American Joe, which will open mid-September.

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Wine shop coming to skyways

An upscale bottle shop specializing in best-value wines is likely coming to the skyways, moving into a second-floor suite in the Six Quebec building, 601 Marquette Ave. S.

Linda Mason, who had previously operated a few liquor store in the western suburbs in the early 2000s, hopes to open Skyway Wine & Spirits by Oct. 1. The shop will take over a snug, 650-square-foot space. Mason is currently applying for an off-sale liquor license.

It could be the first skyway liquor store in at least a decade, according to city inspector Craig Eliason. Eliason says that neither he nor his colleagues, whose collective experience goes back eight years, have ever issued an on-site liquor license for the skyway.

Mason, whose liquor store experience led to a great interest in wine, was bored selling “jugs of vodka and six-packs of Bud Light.” She envisioned a store stocked with good wine that isn’t overly pricey. Her daughter, who works Downtown, noticed the available space in the skyway and talked Mason into checking it out.

Mason’s shop will offer a limited selection of liquor and beer. She also says she will welcome requests from customers as to what type of wine she should carry. A wine club may also be in the works.

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Gluek’s to debut new beer garden during Oktoberfest

Gluek’s Restaurant & Bar plans to convert an unused parking lot behind its building into a full-service beer garden, according to owner Linda Holcomb.

Holcomb expects to open the garden Oct. 1, just in time for the bar’s month-long Oktoberfest celebration.

“We’re going to do grilling and have beer for sale out there. We’ll also have table service,” said Holcomb.

The parking lot had previously been reserved for Gluek’s owners and management. But construction at the next-door Cowles Center for Dance and Performing Art has blocked the only entrance into the lot, from Hennepin Avenue South.

Once construction moves to the west side of the Cowles Center, crews will line the lot with a black chain link fence and a privacy fence, and then repave the surface.

Holcomb plans to grow vines along the fences, she said, as well as install high-top cocktail tables and bench seating.  Heaters will allow the patio — which she estimates to be about 30 by 60 feet — to stay open all year.

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Target seeks liquor license for private café


Target is one of the very first corporations in Downtown to secure a full liquor license.

According to city business licensing documents, the retailer wants the ability to offer a full bar in its Café Target, a private hall used to entertain employees and corporate guests located at its headquarters, 1000 Nicollet Mall.

Café Target has a great room and a fireplace, according to Eliason. Bon Appetit Management Co., which operates cafes and catering services, was the official applicant for the license.

City Council voted to approve Bon Appetit’s request on Sept. 3.