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May 10, 2004 // UPDATED 1:32 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

New convenience store opens near Caf/ Brenda

1st Avenue Market, a new Downtown convenience store, has opened next to Caf/ Brenda at 300 1st Ave. N.

The store features snack foods, sodas, cigars, magazines and newspapers.

Standing behind the cash register at his new store, Gamel Hamed said his true passion is cooking. He grew up in Egypt and moved to New York City at 19 and then to Minnesota in 1990.

Hamed, who mans the store 7 a.m.-midnight five days a week and Saturday evenings, said he also plans to open a pizza shop called Time Square in coming weeks.

Hamed's restaurant, Time Square-Olive Tree, was displaced from 521 Hennepin Ave. S. when Olive Garden opened Downtown. Hamed opened another Italian restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis called the Olive Tree after his Downtown business closed.

North Loop club gets $16,500 settlement from the city

The City Council has approved a $16,500 settlement with Brandon's 923 Club stemming from the North Loop dance club's lawsuit alleging Minneapolis police improperly removed and damaged a security system during a drug raid.

Police searched the 923 N. Washington Ave. bar for narcotics and controlled substances Dec. 12, 2001, seizing a television set, VCR and other video equipment. The warrant allowed police to take and review bar videotapes for drug-related activity, according to a report from the City Attorney's Office.

Bar management accused police of improperly removing and damaging the security equipment during the search. The bar agreed to install the system after the Hennepin County Attorney's Office threatened to initiate a nuisance action against the bar that could have closed it.

Last year, a Hennepin County arbitrator awarded club owners more than $18,000 in damages from the city. The city appealed and the two sides subsequently agreed to the settlement April 5.

Recently, the City Council also voted to revoke the bar's liquor license for tax delinquencies.

When asked for comment after the Council's action, a club manager, who did not want to be named, said the tax issue would be cleared up soon.

-- Sarah McKenzie

Bike shop adds ice cream

The One on One Studio, a Warehouse District biking hotspot, has opened a coffee/ice cream shop.

The studio at 117 Washington Ave. N. caters to Downtown's bike messenger community and other cycling enthusiasts. The new coffee shop will feature Minneapolis-based Sonny's Ice Cream, sandwiches, pastries, soups and a full line of coffees.

The ice cream flavors include chocolate chip, spumoni, fresh banana and vanilla bean, said Jennifer Oberpriller, who co-owns the studio with her husband Gene Oberpriller.

The coffee shop hours are 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Saturday hours haven't been set. The coffee shop is located in the front of the studio near the gallery.

On Sunday, May 16, One On One hosts its annual swap meet and bike race for adults who compete on children's bikes.

-- Sarah McKenzie

Japanese restaurant opens in skyways

A new restaurant in the Six Quebec condo tower called Zen Box opens Monday, May 10, and bills itself as the first "authentic" Japanese eatery in the Downtown skyways.

The new restaurant, owned by Lina Goh, John Ng and Susan Lau, features traditional Japanese home cooking, such as chicken teriyaki, Japanese steak, yaki soba (saut/ed egg noodles with chicken, eggs and vegetables) and ebi fry (deep-fried shrimp covered with a special cream and served with Zen tartar sauce).

The Zen Box also offers salads, miso soup and a variety of sushi rolls.

The prices range from about $5-$7 for entrees, and sushi rolls cost $1.59 for two to three pieces.

Several other new tenants have opened or are scheduled to open in the skyway level of the Six Quebec, 601 Marquette Ave., including a Quizno's Sub shop, Amy's Classic Confections, Dunn Bros and My Burgers.

The Zen Box is open Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.zen-box.com.