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

Central Business District

Baja Sol Fresh Mex has finally opened in US Bank Plaza, 200 S. 6th St. A June opening was delayed until July 19, when the restaurant opened to the sounds of a Mariachi band.

The US Bank Plaza location is the second Downtown for J.C. Food Systems - which owns and operates six metro Baja Sol restaurants - as well as for Baja Sol Manager Hector Martinez, who also opened the City Center site at the beginning of the year.

Martinez, originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, owned his own Mexican restaurant before joining Baja Sol. There is a lot of Spanish spoken among the staff - Martinez said that most of the employees are from different Mexican states, which adds authenticity to the restaurant's food, including Baja Sol's eight signature salsas.

Nicollet Mall

Dunn Bros Coffee at 925 Nicollet Mall has a new owner and will soon have a new look. Sean Quinn, who bought the store in mid-March, said he would close for five to seven days in October for an extensive remodel. The caf will get new floors, tables and furniture, lighting and counters, Quinn said. The store's layout will essentially be the same.

The location will have longer hours and live music at night. Quinn, a trained chef, said he would add fresh sandwiches, made on-site, to the menu. Quinn is a first-time owner who formerly managed a Caribou Coffee and another Dunn Bros before buying the Nicollet Mall franchise.

Dunn Bros, which began in 1987 as a single caf on St. Paul's Grand Avenue, now has 55 stores - 53 of them franchised - in seven states.

As always, coffee beans will be roasted daily in the caf, Quinn said. The location's current hours are Monday-Thursday, 6 a.m.- 8 p.m.; Friday, 6 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, 7a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Warehouse District

Montana Coffee House, the little caf hidden away at 514 N. 3rd St., will be growing.

Owner Lisa Curran cited the blossoming residential population as impetus for the expansion, which will add 540 square feet to the 1,100-square-foot store in the adjacent office space that was Voyageur National Park offices.

"We get new people in every day that have just moved into the neighborhood," Curran said.

Those new faces are asking for more options and longer hours, she said. The expanded menu will include appetizers and salads in addition to the soups and sandwiches now available. After the renovation, the caf will likely stay open until 10 p.m.

If the city approves, beer and wine will also be added to the menu.

The North Loop Neighborhood Association voted to support the liquor license application, as well as a variance to allow for fewer than 20 parking spaces, the city requirement for the coffee shop's share of the building's parking.

North Loop

On Monday, Aug. 1, Moose and Sadie's returns from its temporary stay at Bev's Wine Bar, 250 3rd Ave. N., to find its Colonial Warehouse home at 212 3rd Ave. N. transformed and with a new co-owner.

Peter Kirihara, who has owned the caf for 14 years, has teamed up with Susan Muskat, former co-owner of the Birchwood Caf in Southeast Minneapolis.

The two gutted the space and revamped the caf, which Kirihara said has "a whole different feeling. It's opened up, bright and cheery," he said. The remodeled caf has new tables, chairs, floors and a full kitchen, where Muskat will work her magic.

Moose and Sadie's will offer breakfast and lunch on weekdays, and brunch on weekends until 2 p.m. The kitchen will close at 2 p.m. everyday, after which the caf will serve coffee, soups, pastries and bread.

Kirihara said he feels very fortunate to have the experience and food talent that Muskat brings to the caf.

Moose and Sadie's new hours are weekdays 7 a.m.-10 p.m. and weekends 9 a.m.-2 p.m.