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July 11, 2005 // UPDATED 1:56 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Jeremy Stratton
Jeremy Stratton

North Loop

Like some coffee with that condo? Java J's will soon be open for North Loop's rapidly growing residential crowd, beneath Tower Lofts at 700 Washington Ave N.

The "J" stands for shop owner Jason Cobb, who said the 1,900-square-foot "high-end, first class" caf and newly renovated warehouse condos will complement each other.

Cobb expects to start his build-out as soon as the city approves construction permits, hopefully, at the end of July.

Cobb said customers - be they suits or construction workers - can stop by for morning coffee and relax in the leather chairs, couch or bench.

Cobb has hired one employee to help him run the caf, and he's been auditioning vendors to provide the sandwiches, soups, salads, dessert, cookies and pastries Java J's will sell.

Cobb said he worked with Tower Lofts developer Chuck Leer for ideas for the cafe, including a window into the pedestrian tunnel connecting Washington Avenue and North 2nd Street. Cobb hopes the window will make the tunnel better for pedestrians, and be "not just a dark tunnel."

Cobb said his love for coffee and dream to own a business led him to open Java J's, his first small business endeavor. He's already planning a second shop either in St. Paul or Phoenix.

Around Downtown

In late June, the city's Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee approved another round of sidewalk and patio seating.

Spin, 10 S. 5th St., will add a private seating area surrounded by a metal fence, in the vacated alley to the east of the building. The patio will feature eight four-chair tables and seven two-chair tables.

Lone Tree Bar & Grille, 528 Hennepin Ave S., received official approval for up to 20 tables with four chairs at its existing, preapproved sidewalk seating area along South 6th Street. General Manager Jill Kraus said the bar increased its sidewalk seating capacity when it bought The Annex, adjacent to Lone Tree on 6th Street.

Schiek's Palace Royale, 115 S. 4th St., has added two of a possible six tables on its property, set off from 4th Street by ropes and stanchions. The seating was added because of the indoor smoking ban, said a Schiek's official. Full bar and menu items are available, but "adult" entertainment is restricted to the interior, standard for most such approvals. The tables replaced two planters that were previously in the spot.

Loring Park

A turbulent Eat Street retail space is home to a new sit-down restaurant with a familiar name: Triple Espresso, Etc will open July 15 at 1410 Nicollet Ave., the space formerly occupied by Kilted Coffee and the Eat Street Caf.

Though neither caf made it a year in the space, Triple Espresso, Etc co-owner Katie Holper thinks her "highly caffeinated bistro and bar" can make it for the long haul.

Holper and her partners - husband Bob, and Luke and Melissa Wall - licensed the name rights from the ever-popular comedy performed across the street at the Music Box Theater.

Triple Espresso, Etc will feature a full bar, Caribou Coffee, food fare such as club sandwiches, French dips, grilled paninis, wraps, appetizers, quesadillas, bruschetta and salads. Everything but the soup will be made on-site.

Holper designed and decorated the interior, which includes two fireplaces, a piano, "soft seating" and tables for full sit-down service.

"You're going to think you're eating at a five-star restaurant," Holper said.

Holper said building improvements include a new ventilation system and bathrooms, finished back room and expansion into the office space next door, for a total of 3,300 square feet. A theatre marquee sign will hang outside.

Holper and her husband Bob opened the first of eight Life Cafs inside suburban Lifetime Fitness locations 11 years ago.

Triple Espresso, Etc will be open 11 a.m.-1 a.m. and will host a grand opening celebration in August.