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February 28, 2011 // UPDATED 8:45 am - February 28, 2011
By: Gregory J. Scott
Gregory J. Scott

20.21 out, D’Amico in at Walker

LORING PARK — This April, Richard D’Amico’s popular local restaurant group will replace Walker Art Center’s Wolfgang Puck-run eatery.

Puck’s 20.21 has served as the Walker’s house restaurant since the museum underwent a $135.6 million renovation in 2005. But after six years, the contract with Puck is up, and the museum is looking for a change.

The new restaurant will be called Gather and will specialize in American cuisine. It will be a lunch-only spot — the Walker has a long tradition of restaurants that do not offer dinner — reserving evenings for catered events. One exception will be Thursday nights, when the museum stays open until 9 p.m. as part of its Target-sponsored Free Thursday Nights. On these nights, Gather will offer a dinner menu designed by a rotating cast of guest chefs.

Restaurateurs Richard and Larry D’Amico already operate in high art venues around the Twin Cities, with restaurants in the art-focused Chambers hotel and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

According to the Walker, the change-over will take effect on April 18.

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CoraZon closes Downtown location

DOWNTOWN EAST — The arts-minded gift boutique CoraZoN, a Downtown destination for the handmade crowd, enjoyed its last day of business on Feb. 24, closing its doors after nearly three years in the Bridgewater Building.

A second CoraZoN location, at 4646 E. Lake St., will remain open.

“We’re consolidating our two stores down to one,” owner Susan Zdon wrote in an e-mail.

A store-wide sale, with discounts cutting as deep as 70 percent, liquidated a good deal of the Downtown location’s merchandise.

Zdon moved CoraZon from its original location, 204 Washington Ave. N., in March of 2008. At that time, the store’s building, the Lowry Mason building, was pegged for an ambitious mixed-use development promising a hotel, condos and commercial space. The project never came to fruition.

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New digs for Look + See Eye Care

ST. ANTHONY MAIN — After six and a half years on East Hennepin, Dr. Sarah Jerome’s stylish eye care boutique has moved. On Feb. 21, Jerome settled into two retail spaces at 3rd Avenue SE and Main, in the same building where Ollu Self-Serve Dog Wash is currently located.  

The growing business needed roomier digs, Jerome said. She’s added a second doctor to her practice, Dr. Noumia Gill, who will offer Wednesday appointments for the first time. There will also be a larger showroom, with expanded offerings of eyewear.

But the big draw of the new space is the upgrade in parking.

“We have an attached indoor parking ramp for our patients, which is free,” she said.

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Beauty lounge throws grand opening party

EAST HENNEPIN — Smart and Chic Beauty Lounge, a full-service beauty boutique located across the street from Surdyk’s, celebrated its grand opening on Feb. 16, throwing a 1940s-inspired soiree for the occasion.

The Lounge is a spin-off of Smart and Chic Bride. Owner Julie Swenson’s initial business focused on wedding styling, and she focused on home services for brides and bridesmaids, dispatching hair and makeup teams directly to clients. Until recently, Smart and Chic also operated an appointment-only studio in the Warehouse District. The Beauty Lounge, at 20 University Ave. NE, is the company’s first full-service boutique, offering styling services for special occasions.

The grand opening party debuted the Lounge’s elegantly styled space, accented with vintage furniture and ornate flourishes. Guests were encouraged to don vintage glamour attire. Frank Sinatra tunes rounded out the theme.

The Beauty Lounge is open to retail shoppers on weekends only, from 12–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Services must be scheduled by appointment.

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Urban Garden shuts its doors for good


NORTH LOOP — After two and a half years of helping urban dwellers bring a little green to their condo spaces, Urban Garden, 415 N. 1st St., is closing shop. The store’s final day will be March 26.

Urban Garden’s goal, owner Sharon Toll said, “was to bring container gardens to every balcony in the North Loop, adding summer color and texture to the urban scenery.” The shop specialized in container gardening and window boxes. Toll, a former technical writer, started the business with help from the nonprofit Women Venture.

“I’ve had this great opportunity to try something new and different,” Toll wrote to her customers, in an e-mail announcing the store’s closure. “But it turns out I’m better at other things, and so I am closing Urban Garden to return to ‘those things.’”

From now until March 26, everything in the shop will be on sale, with most prices reduced by 30 percent. Toll will have fresh flowers, marked down 25 percent, for sale until March 12.

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Aloft to host pre-curtain barbecue receptions for Guthrie show

MILL DISTRICT — During the month of March, aloft Minneapolis, the boutique hotel at 900 Washington Ave. S., will host “BBQ & the Bard” events prior to productions of the Guthrie Theater’s “The Winter’s Tale.”

Just before each performance, from 6–7:15 p.m., the hotel’s chic w xyz bar will offer a barbecue buffet to theatergoers, stocked with burgers, brats and vegetarian options.  Curtain time for the show is 7:30 p.m.

Dates for BBQ & the Bard are March 3, 10 and 17.

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Thom Pham resurrects popular Azia dance lounge


DOWNTOWN CORE — Thom Pham’s Caterpillar Lounge — a longtime hub for the local house music scene, tucked into an intimate side room of Pham’s now defunct Azia restaurant — is back open for business.

The dance nights were the only thing missing from Pham’s Wondrous Azian Kitchen, Azia’s Downtown reincarnation, which Pham opened in August of last year. But the beats returned on Jan. 29, when resident Caterpillar DJs Fourfeet and Bryan Gerrard played the grand opening party.

Regular dance nights have since resumed, with prominent local DJs picking up regular gigs: Gerrard on Wednesdays, Get Cryphy’s Plain Ole Bill on Thursdays, Clubhouse Jäger’s Dory McKenzie on Fridays and the former Nicollet Avenue Caterpillar resident Fourfeet on Saturdays.

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Another Len Druskin to open Downtown

DOWNTOWN CORE — A new Len Druskin retail store, called Len Druskin Outlet, is scheduled to open in City Center on March 10.

The new location will serve as a clearinghouse for sale items at the full-priced Druskin stores: the flagship Len Druskin shop in Edina’s Galleria, Gaviidae’s Len Druskin Man and women’s boutique L.D. Len Druskin, which is also located in Gaviidae.

The retailer also operates a 7,000-square-foot Len outlet store across from Brooks Brothers on the skyway level at City Center.

The new City Center store will be the fourth Downtown. 

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Fulton Beer, North Washington Café team up for ‘Neighborhood Nights’

NORTH LOOP — Fulton Beer, a start-up brewery that last August signed a lease for a headquarters in the Warehouse District, has teamed up with Tower Lofts’ North Washington Café for a series of “Neighborhood Nights.”

The Wednesday-night events happen once a month and feature live music and new Fulton brews for $3.50. As a bonus, the Fulton boys, 20-somethings who started the business out of a Southwest Minneapolis basement, will be on hand as guest bartenders.

The event will take place on the third Wednesday of every month, from 6–9 p.m., at the North Washington Café, 700 Washington Ave. N.

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Ivy Spa Club adds salon


DOWNTOWN WEST — With a recently opened, full-service hair salon, Downtown’s swanky, 14-room spa now boasts pampering options from head to toe.

Ivy Spa Club Salon opened Feb. 14, offering cuts, straightening, styling and other hair services.  Since the salon operates as part of the larger spa, hair services can be folded into Ivy’s larger battery of bodily attention: whirlpool, sauna, fitness center, massage, waxing, manicures and pedicures.