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September 8, 2003 // UPDATED 11:03 am - April 30, 2007
By: Skyway News Staff
Skyway News Staff

College opposes Elliot Park coffee shop's plan to add wine

A plan to convert the Dunn Bros. in Elliot Park to an independent coffeehouse and wine bar has received backing from neighborhood leaders.

However, North Central University, the Christian college located in the neighborhood, opposes the plan, citing a student and faculty commitment to abstaining from alcohol.

Doug Hoskin, who owns the Armory at 5th Street South and Portland Avenue, pitched his new business concept at an Aug. 27 Elliot Park Neighborhood, Inc. (EPNI) meeting. Although he's not a resident of Elliot Park, Hoskin sees potential for the business, and said he's invested in the area.

"I want to try and develop something that works in the context of the community," he said.

Hoskin still needs to apply for a city liquor license and conduct a market study of the area. Then he needs to approach management at the coffee shop about buying the space at 811 11th Ave. S.

Christine Watt, manager of the Dunn Bros., said she supports the idea. "I think it would be a tremendous addition to Elliot Park. He [Hoskin] would attract a broader range of customers," she said.

The coffee shop received funding from the neighborhood as part of the East Village development project when it opened about two and a half years ago.

While most voiced support for the plan at the neighborhood meeting, Dan Call, NCU vice president of university relations, said the school would not approve of an establishment with liquor so close to campus.

He said NCU students and faculty observe a policy of no drinking.

While committee members said they were sensitive to the school's stance, some urged support for the plan.

David Fields, EPNI's community development coordinator said new businesses help fuel additional growth in the area.

"One institution should not determine the profile of a neighborhood," he said. -- Sarah McKenzie

New artists' hangout in Elliot Park? The idea sparked in California, but Sharon Kanan wanted a neighborhood gathering spot in her Minneapolis hometown.

Kanan, who has worked as the office administrator for Elliot Park Neighborhood, Inc. for a year, pitched her bookstore/coffee shop proposal to EPNI's economic development strategies committee.

The committee backed Kanan at its Aug. 27 meeting. No subsidy was requested.

"We have the plan, we have the money and the books. Now we need the space," she said.

Her partners on the project are Diane Ingram, who runs a music publishing company, and blues guitarist Lonnie Knight.

The space would be called EP Atelier, French for "the artist studio." The business would focus on local, independent artists and acoustic musicians.

Kanan, who has both a writing and retail background, sees it as a spot where artists and other folks in the community could hang out, listen to music and share ideas. She has based the concept on a couple of small, independent coffeehouses in Santa Monica.

She said she would like to see the coffeehouse go into a vacant space between EPNI's office and the Chapel of Hope on South 10th Street and is negotiating with the property owner over a possible sale. -- Sarah McKenzie

Loring Grill opens The Loring Grill has opened in the space formerly occupied by Ruby's Caf at 1614 Harmon Place.

The dcor features bistro-style tables with white linen. In the evening, the place has a candlelit ambience, said Linda King, the restaurant's marketing director.

The restaurant can seat up to 49, featuring tables on two different levels and an outdoor patio.

Loring Grill specializes in American cuisine with breakfast, lunch and dinner menus seven days a week, King said.

The lunch menu ranges from sandwiches to specialty pizzas, featuring roasted lamb. Most prices range from $6 to $8. Dinners include pastas and a number of other entrees, such as Chilean sea bass that sells for $21.95.

The restaurant also has a dessert chef, with a menu that changes daily. Favorites include super-sized oatmeal raisin cookies and cheesecake.

The Loring Grill also has a takeout service and corporate food delivery program for staff trainings, board meetings and other larger workplace gatherings.

The restaurant is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. On the weekends, the restaurant has a brunch from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- Sarah McKenzie