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July 14, 2003 // UPDATED 10:58 am - April 30, 2007
By: Ellen Nigon
Ellen Nigon

Various local business news

Dakota moves to Downtown

The Dakota Bar and Grill is moving from its longtime location in St. Paul's Bandana Square to Downtown's Nicollet Mall.

In mid-October, the Dakota will open in the space at 10th Street and Nicollet Mall where the restaurant Zinc used to operate.

Dakota co-owner Lowell Pickett said he wanted to move Downtown because "that part of Nicollet Mall has lots of exciting things going on right now. There's a real vitality in that part of Downtown. There are wonderful restaurants near Orchestra Hall, and proximity to the hotels and Convention Center."

Pickett said the sidewalk on that end of Nicollet Mall is also wide enough to accommodate a large sidewalk caf for the Dakota.

The Dakota is known for Midwest cuisine as well as local and national jazz performances.

"We'll continue to do what we've been doing here [in St. Paul]," Pickett said. "We'll have upper Midwestern regional food. We'll be programming great artists -- both those that live in the Twin Cities and those that are available to us from other parts of the world."

The Dakota will be open daily, with lunch served on weekdays.

--Ellen Nigon

Block E gets Bellanotte

Bellanotte is the latest restaurant coming to Block E. This Italian restaurant, which is scheduled to open this fall, comes from Miami restaurateur Piero Filpi and local developers David Koch and Kam Talebi (featured recently in Skyway News redeveloping Loring Park businesses at 14th and Nicollet). The restaurant will be located in the street- level space of Block E at 6th Street and 1st Avenue North. The cuisine will be based on the regions of Northern Italy, Campania, Naples, Tuscany and Sicily. Specialties include linguini with Maine lobster, clam and shrimp in a tomato sauce, and gnocchi and baked eggplant served with fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce. Lunch prices range from $8 to $15, and dinners range from $13 to $30.

--Ellen Nigon

Loring Grill opens, touting value

The Loring Grill has opened in the former Ruby's restaurant location, 1614 Harmon Place.

Owner and CEO Bob Johnson describes the Loring Grill's fare as "American food with a flair."

Johnson said, "My goal was to have a wonderful dining experience at an affordable price. I'm going for value and ambience and just good food at low pocketbook."

Johnson has been in the restaurant business for 30 years, working in various Twin Cities institutions such as Palomino and D'Amico and Sons.

"From Palomino I learned organization. From D'Amico I learned commitment to quality. From all the other places I worked, I learned value," Johnson said.

The Loring Grill's dcor is done in shades of silver and lavender, with metallic drapes and soft lighting. The showpiece is a $6,000 mirror shaped like the sun.

Breakfast begins at 7 a.m. with offerings such as waffles, pancakes and omelets. Johnson said breakfast can cost as little as $2.99 for two eggs and toast. Lunch features sandwiches and pasta that cost an average of $5 to $7. Dinner, however, gets a bit fancier and can be a bit pricier.

"We get a little more adventuresome with the food. I told the chefs to be eclectic, and there are no rules," Johnson said. "With dinner, you can get out of here with a pasta for $6.99, but if you want to spend a lot of money we're going to let you."

--Ellen Nigon

Big changes at South Beach begin Friday

South Beach is becoming Tabu.

No, the club at 323 1st Ave. N. known for its hip-hop music and giant fish tank has not become forbidden or socially unacceptable; it is under new ownership and beginning Friday, July 18, will be called Tabu.

South Beach's former owner will soon open a new club called Escape at Block E, 600 Hennepin Ave. "South Beach had its success over the last seven years," said new owner and local developer Farzad Freshtekhu. "I think it will be nice to offer something fresh to the existing clientele, as well as to an expanded market."

Freshtekhu said Tabu will offer musical variety, including salsa music and free dance lessons on Monday nights, hip hop on Wednesdays, techno on Thursdays, top billboard dance tunes on Saturdays and house music on Sundays.

"Wednesdays and Saturdays were always strong for the hip-hop clientele [at South Beach]," Freshtekhu said. "We're going to build on that. We'll try to maximize what the establishment can offer."

The interior of the club will lose its South Beach-type art deco atmosphere, along with the fish tank. "Tabu will have no resemblance to South Beach. It's warmer colors and a more updated look," Freshtekhu said.

The new Tabu will be open 9:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m.

--Ellen Nigon