Banana Joe's has re-launched itself as Ocean Club. The club at 15 S. 5th St. had been closed for about a month for remodeling. The club was also shut down for a few days by the Minneapolis Police Department because of over-occupancy.
Club manager T.J. Ahles says Ocean Club will be much classier than the deceased Banana Joe's. "It will be a cross between Martini Blu (615 2nd Ave. S.) and The Quest (110 N. 5th St.)," Ahles said. "It's a Key West theme that's a lot classier. It looks like an ocean. We have a bunch of neon fish sculptures and it's all blue."
Ahles said Ocean Club would attract a 25-and-older crowd with a catered buffet for happy hour, plus popular music in the club's front room and techno music in the back.
New hours are Wednesday and Thursday, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
Joe's Garage expands space, menu
Joe's Garage Restaurant, 1610 Harmon Place, is expanding into the neighboring space that was formerly occupied by a Starbuck's coffee shop.
"Our bar is kind of small. We wanted a bigger bar, and that's the main reason we decided to expand," owner Joe Kaplan said.
So before Starbucks vacated its space, Kaplan called the coffee chain's corporate headquarters and asked if he could take over their lease. "They said 'sure,'" Kaplan said. "I've always wanted that space. It's nice because now I've got the whole building."
Kaplan said the expansion would be complete by May 15. "We're not breaking any walls down," Kaplan said. "We're building a bar that is going to be lit up in back. It'll have a brushed-diamond-plate bar."
The 7-year-old restaurant will also extend its hours, add live weekend entertainment and slightly modify its menu.
Joe's will open at 7 a.m. with a new coffee kiosk to be located where the current bar is. Joe's will also bag takeout lunches and pastries.
On weekends, Kaplan said he would feature small musical groups (three members or less), but was unsure what the music genres would be.
Menu changes begin Tuesday, April 1 with the addition of basil aioli lobster rolls, artichoke ramekins, spicy cream cheese wontons, vegetable lasagna and Chinese Bolognese.
Kaplan said the lobster rolls are like those one would find in Maine -- lobster salad placed on a buttered and grilled hotdog bun. He said the Chinese Bolognese is a black bean and shrimp meat sauce that will cover spaghetti noodles. - Ellen Nigon