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February 3, 2003 // UPDATED 4:35 pm - April 27, 2007
By: By Ellen Nigon
By Ellen Nigon</I>

The Northstar Center's Caf Metro, 108 S. 7th St., appears to be closed. The owner could not be reached for comment. A leasing agent for the Northstar Center hopes the caf will reopen, but could not give further comment.

Peter's Grill changes owners, but nothing else

By Ellen Nigon

After 89 years, the venerable Peter's Grill is under new ownership. But ownership will be about the only difference customers at the Downtown staple will notice.

"We're emphasizing no change because that's what makes Peter's Grill great," said new co-owner Cyril Davies. "We're going to keep it as is."

Davies and his partner, Daphne King, bought Peter's Grill, 114 S. 8th St., on Jan. 2 from longtime owners Peter and Andy Atsidakos. For Davies, who had previously worked for Perkins and Green Mill restaurants, Peter's Grill is the first restaurant he has owned.

"I couldn't think of a better place to start up a business. I consider it a blessing and also a more than terrific opportunity, being that it has been in existence for such a long time and it's got a great customer base," Davies said.

Davies said he would not change the menu or the staff. "The average tenure for the staff here is 15 years," Davies said. "I know how tough it is to have that kind of tenure in the restaurant industry. Having that kind of tenure here is unbelievable."

Although he will not change the Downtown restaurant, Davies said he would like to expand the concept. He thinks cities such as Plymouth or St. Paul would benefit from a Peter's Grill.

"We're going to do all of our homework before we do that, but I am almost positive that we'll have the same impact as we do here [in Downtown]," Davies said.

Escape to Block E

By Ellen Nigon

With a new nightclub, gourmet sandwich shop and five TCF automated teller machines moving in, Block E is quickly filling up.

Critics can no longer complain that Downtown's entertainment complex is for franchises only. From those who brought South Beach to Downtown comes Escape -- a nightclub with a split personality. Opening in summer 2003, Escape will offer state-of-the-art sound, light and live entertainment by night. By day it will be a buttoned-up corporate meeting space, complete with broadband Internet access, video conferencing and live Web casting.

Escape will be on the skyway level at the corner of 7th Street and First Avenue North above the Hard Rock Caf. South Beach general manager Chuck Gilbert will head up the management team and business partners include CEO David Koch (South Beach owner) and former Timberwolves player Dean Garrett.

Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwich Shop will add a second Downtown location with a new store on the street level of Block E at 6th Street, next to Borders Books and Music, targeted to open in April, 2003.

Jimmy John's is known for homemade sandwiches with all-natural meats and vegetables on fresh-baked bread and offers sit-down dining as well as delivery.

Guests at Block E won't run out of money, as five TCF automated teller machines will be installed throughout the skyway and street levels.