Business Notes

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October 27, 2003 // UPDATED 11:06 am - April 30, 2007
By: Skyway News editorial staff
Skyway News editorial staff

Business news going on in the downtown area.

Pastie proviso may clinch Le Cirque license Urban Wildlife Bar & Grill, 327 2nd Ave. S., got the go-ahead from a key City Council committee to offer burlesque entertainment -- in the old-fashioned sense.

It applied for a Class "A" liquor license with Sunday sales, allowing all legal entertainment. The Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee held a public hearing and no one opposed the change.

The business agreed it would not have adult entertainment -- nude or seminude dancing or "revealing or inappropriate employee attire." The application described the venue as offering 1920s- and 1930s-era burlesque shows and standup comedy.

Amy Buchanan of Le Cirque de Rouge runs the burlesque club in the space next to Urban Wildlife. She's attracting a variety of performers, including some dancers who strip down to pasties.

Ken Ziegler, a Minneapolis licensing inspector, said pasties don't fall under the "adult entertainment" category because the nipple is covered. -- Scott Russell

Hibaq Caf on the mend The Hibaq Coffee and Tea Caf stands on a sunny corner of Nicollet & 15th Street, its tables often filled with friendly games of chess. But the morning sun hasn't shone on the players since one early-September night, when an SUV collided into a fire truck from nearby Station 6, sending the SUV into one of Hibaq's large plate-glass windows.

With wood panels covering the gaps, Numan Shaikh, a transplanted Somali and co-owner at the Loring Park caf, has lost the comfort of two front tables and a view of Nicollet. "People sit at the windows and look out," Shaikh said.

He said that he cannot speculate on how much business he has lost because of the crash.

On Oct. 16, workers rebuilt the brick foundation below the window; the window glass has been ordered and will soon replace the wood panels.

Shaikh hopes to wring benefit from the accident. He would like to see the exterior painted while he renovates the interior, bringing in more African culture, from art to food. "We're different from other coffee houses because we provide African food," Shaikh said.

Hibaq has an agreement with the Safari restaurant next door, who will prepare sambusas, a meat-filled pastry eaten with the hands. Eventually, Shaikh would like to serve vegetarian and fish sambusas.

Shaikh would like to serve gahwa -- a strong ginger-spiced Somalian coffee. With winter approaching, he will begin making warm bowls of marak, a spicy soup made with vegetables, meat and spices from Somalia.

The caf also provides free Somali-language classes every Thursday, 6-8 p.m. "Learn the language to better speed the process of integration," Shaikh said. -- Margaret Bell

Upscale showroom debuts in Warehouse District A new, upscale home furnishings retailer who features rugs by local designer Stephanie Odegard has opened in a new Warehouse District space.

The Michael Sydney Showroom at 210 N. 2nd St. will be the exclusive retailer of both Odegard rugs and The Stephanie Odegard Collection, which includes furniture, ceramics, silks and other objects from around the world.

Odegard is renowned for her work in contemporary design. Her carpets are made with "carefully selected Himalayan wool, which is hand-carded and hand-spun by Tibetan craftsmen," according to a statement about the new showroom.

Her collection includes a line she created with French designer Paul Mathieu. The line features "luminous" marble pieces with "intricate marble jalouse lace," which is a carving technique that blocks out intense rays. Some light and air can still pass through, however. -- Sarah McKenzie