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March 28, 2005 // UPDATED 1:53 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Jeremy Stratton
Jeremy Stratton

East Bank

Once upon a time, Bob Beugen wanted to buy a rare book, so he contacted David Swirnoff, owner of Rag and Bone Books, currently at 2812 W. 43rd St. in Linden Hills.

Years later, when Beugen read the news that Swirnoff couldn't afford to keep the store open, he called Swirnoff again - this time to offer him retail space at a building he owns, St. Anthony Place, at 17 SE 4th St.

A deal was struck; Rag and Bone will move into the space in May.

The deal was sweet for both sides: Swirnoff said he would pay one-third of his current $3,200 monthly rent for the slightly smaller, 900-square-foot space. Meanwhile, Beugen is still making money. "We're not a nonprofit," Beugen said of himself and business partner Joel Fryer.

Rag and Bone would have survived as an online bookseller. "That's where the [bookseller's] market is now," Swirnoff said, but he is grateful to have another location where people can walk in to buy - or sell - books.

Swirnoff expects increased traffic and a more diverse customer base with the university, Downtown, Northeast Minneapolis and "all the people moving into the condos," he said.

Swirnoff said he buys more books than he sells at the store, and that's good. "I need people to bring them to me," he said, but he's picky about what he buys.

Said Beugen, a longtime friend of Swirnoff's parents, "We gave attractive rent because we wanted a quality business and people in the building and the neighborhood."

Or maybe Beugen is trying to earn a few karma points.

"It's been my experience that when you treat people right, it comes back to you," he said.

Nicollet Island

Hungry for breakfast? How does a lemon griddle cake with fresh raspberries and whipped cream sound? Starting April 4, Downtowners can again get their power breakfasts at the Nicollet Island Inn, 95 Merriam St, near the Hennepin Avenue Bridge and St. Anthony Main.

Executive Chef Erick Harcey designed the new breakfast menu, which will include smoked salmon, a variety of omelets, and pastries and breads baked on-site, said Rachel Porter, a.m. dining room manager. Breakfast entre prices are $9-$12.

Porter said that the inn hopes to add residents of Nicollet Island and surrounding neighborhoods to its customer base. Downtown business meetings made up three-quarters of the crowd before breakfasts were ended nearly three years ago.

A new Sunday brunch will debut at the end of April. The inn changed its popular buffet-style brunch to a plated, table-service menu. For $28 a person, brunchers can choose from three or four different five-courses options such as egg dishes and seafood. Each option includes coffee and a champagne mimosa.

Porter said some diners were disappointed, at first, to hear that the buffet was gone.

"You can't get all dessert or all salad anymore," Porter said. People were satisfied, she said, "once we got them seated, and they found out they were still getting filled. They were crabby when they sat down, but they left happy."

Breakfast is served Monday through Friday from 7:30-10:30 in the morning, and Saturday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday brunch hours are 9 a.m.-2:45 p.m.