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Travail to open pop-up restaurant on West Broadway

Travail Kitchen and Amusements, a Robbinsdale restaurant, is experimenting with a pop-up eatery called Umami in North Minneapolis. 

Umami, which is themed around Asian-style "comfort food," will occupy the space on West Broadway Avenue North for up to eight weeks, according to a prepared statement. The 45-seat restaurant is “the first tasting menu and takeout-driven pop-up restaurant in Minnesota,” the prepared statement reads. 

Travail collaborated with the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition (WBC) to open the place. 

The project fits in with the WBC’s ongoing effort to shine a light on assets in the West Broadway business district, according to Shaina Brassard, a spokesperson from the WBC. “We’re looking for ways to draw attention to vacant spaces on West Broadway,” she says. That includes pop-up galleries and retail shops in various spaces along the corridor. 

It helps that Travail, which is in the process of opening a couple of other local restaurants, has also been hosting pop-up events all over town this summer, she says. 

The space, which has sat vacant for a couple of years, features floor-to-ceiling windows, an open kitchen, a mural, and other art, plus long, community-style tables and more. Brassard is hopeful that Umami’s “presence there, which is beautiful and vibrant, will make people see the potential that the space has as a restaurant.” 

Although the WBC has long supported pop-up art events as a part of FLOW Northside Arts Crawl and other community initiatives, “It’s a strategy we’re working on this year in particular, as a part of our retail recruitment and business district revitalization,” she says. The pop-up idea encourages people to “think about space in a different way,” she adds.  

To help pull off the pop-up restaurant, the WBC negotiated a short-term lease for the space and it took advantage of grant money from the city’s Great Streets initiative.  

The place has already generated buzz. “The neighborhood is excited about having such a great sit-down restaurant in the area,” Brassard says. 

Source: Shaina Brassard, West Broadway Coalition
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Tracy Sides' Urban Oasis concept wins Forever St. Paul Challenge

Tracy Sides, a healthy-foods advocate who lives on St. Paul’s East Side, frequents the nearby Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary. The grounds have become a source of inspiration for her, and more recently, the focus of a million-dollar idea. 

In February, Sides submitted a plan to transform a vacant building at Bruce Vento into a food hub, to the St. Paul Foundation’s Forever St. Paul Challenge, a contest to support ideas for improving the city.  

Sides’ Urban Oasis concept rose to the top, and on Monday the foundation announced it was the contest’s winner. The foundation will contribute $1 million to the cause.    

Urban Oasis was among 1,000 entries in the beginning. The pool was whittled down to 30 semifinalists and more recently, three finalists. A public voting system online determined the final winner. 

For Sides, the outcome came as a pleasant surprise. At the same time, it seems like a natural next step in a longstanding community process to liven up the nature sanctuary, she says. Urban Oasis is part of a bigger project to renovate the city-owned building, she adds.   

The food hub, which will take up a couple of floors in the four-story building, will include a food cooperative, eatery, event space, catering company, and a food truck. Commercial kitchens will be available for rent, while the hub will also provide business training to small ventures oriented around food. Communal suppers on Sunday nights and cooking classes will also help make the place a true community center, she says. 

The food hub is about “creating something that’s a thriving asset for the community, and that’s addressing some of our needs,” she says. Additionally, in a diverse neighborhood, a food hub seems like an appropriate way to “acknowledge and celebrate our differences,” she says. “We’re connecting people through food.” 

Although food hubs are experiencing a groundswell of popularity across the country, Sides’ concept is unique for the “unprecedented number of spokes [it has]. In a way, it’s modeling a healthy food system, with growing, producing, distributing, selling, preparing, eating, and composting waste,” Sides says. 

It’s about “creating a more equitable and healthy food system. That’s the real outcome I would love to see from this.”

Source: Tracy Sides
Writer: Anna Pratt 
Image: Kevin McKeever - Image Generation

Adding public art to the new Lowertown ballpark

Recently, the city of St. Paul put out a request for qualifications (RFQ) for the public art that will go into the new Saints stadium in Lowertown. 

The city and the baseball team enlisted Julie Snow Architects, AECOM, and Ryan Companies to come up with a main concept for the 7,000-seat facility, which includes everything from public plazas to a dog park, according to the RFQ. 

Jody Martinez, who works for the city’s parks and recreation department, is leading the charge. She explains that at this early stage, artist entrants probably won’t have a “super-fleshed out idea,” for their ballpark contributions. Rather, the RFQ, which has a Sept. 16 deadline, is more about “what the artists hope to accomplish,” she says.   

That’s what a committee composed of city workers, art professionals, and other stakeholders will be looking at when they select the artists for the job, she says. 

Public art will add another dimension to the ballpark, which is replacing the 30-year-old Midway Stadium.

She says the ballpark’s artwork could take just about any form. For example, public art might tie in to the area’s history or the arts district. It might also incorporate “new-age electric art,” she says, adding, “It’s really open. We didn’t want to be prescriptive in any way.”  

That said, the Saints are known for a lot of quirky things, and the art should reflect that. “We’re looking for something quirky or out of the box, that speaks to the Saints and what they’ve stood for,” she says. Additionally, the public art should be within plain view so “that you [don't] have to search for it. It should be front and center."  

The committee encourages established and emerging artists to collaborate. “We’re hoping to get some interesting teams of artists who can combine forces and come up with unique ideas,” Martinez says. 

The timeframe for the public art will be tied to the stadium’s construction, which is planned to begin next spring, she adds.  

Source: Jody Martinez, St. Paul Parks and Recreation 
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Betty Danger's Country Club to feature food and a Ferris wheel

Betty Danger’s Country Club, a Tex-Mex restaurant featuring dining while sitting on a Ferris wheel, a mini golf course, and a “pro shop,” is destined for Northeast Minneapolis. 

The restaurant plans to take over the former home of Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge, a retro drive-in at 2519 Marshall St. N.E., according to city materials about the project. The location has been empty since Psycho Suzi’s relocated nearby a couple of years ago.  

Leslie Bock, a.k.a. Psycho Suzi, owns both places, along with Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den in North Minneapolis. 

She described the personality behind Betty Danger’s in a letter to neighbors, according to the TC Daily Planet, which quotes her: “Betty is apple pie and sunshine, but sadly lives in a time warp with no sense of reality or logic. Poor Betty."   

The restaurant's most striking attraction, a 60-foot Ferris wheel, will offer views of the Mississippi River, the downtown skyline, and the Lowry Bridge.     
Last Monday, the city’s planning commission approved plans for the restaurant, which will also have a clubhouse, a covered terrace, an outdoor kitchen, and a full bar. The place aims to open by early next year.  City Council member Kevin Reich says of the neighborhood’s reaction, “The predominant tone I’m getting is that everyone’s looking for a win-win.” 

Parking is the main issue that has come up with the area’s neighborhood group. That said, it’s a solvable problem, Reich believes.  “The city’s not afraid of the novelty of it,” he says, and will be breaking it down into various regulatory items and other nuts-and-bolts issues. It helps that “the community is very engaged,” according to Reich.

Bock is known as someone who is “committed to being a good neighbor, who’s very creative, thinks out of the box, and brings landmarks to the area." In terms of finding the "wow factor," Reich says, “She’s done that in a big way."  

Source: Kevin Reich, City Council member 
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Community members to help plan Take the Field event

The Corcoran Neighborhood Organization (CNO) wants to encourage community participation in the planning of an ambitious event it's hosting this fall called Take the Field

The Oct. 11 event, which will take place at Minneapolis's South High School's athletic field, will be a block party-style get-together with a special artistic project, a picnic, a movie screening, and more. 

Tonight, people will gather at the intersection of 21st Avenue South and 31st Street to brainstorm for the event. 

Besides the community-building aspect, Take the Field aims to spark a dialogue about neighborhood traffic issues and possible solutions, according to CNO community organizer Ross Joy.

The event was inspired in part by the school district's decision to phase out yellow school bus service to the city's public high schools, he explains. Starting this fall, students will walk, bike or take public transit to South High, or more cars might be on the road, according to CNO.  

In response, the neighborhood group wants to lead a discussion about how 21st Avenue and 32nd Streets could become major corridors for pedestrians and cyclists. CNO hopes to jumpstart that conversation at the meeting this week, which is open to anyone. Attendees will help flesh out event details, as well, Joy says. 

The neighborhood group is collaborating with the artistic trio Janaki Ranpura, Andrea Steudel, and Meena Mangalvedhekar, known collectively as JAM, on the event's main attraction, in which huge projections and sound will turn the field into an interactive art space. Attendees can join in the visualization, or they can take in the spectacle from the bleachers.  

Joy hopes the public art project will “engage the community about the big ideas of scale, time and space.” That's important as the neighborhood considers how walkers, bicyclists and car drivers fit together, physically. 

These are issues that have been building in the neighborhood for some time. Last spring, South High students led a petition asking local government leaders to improve 21st Ave S and 32nd Street for cyclists. “Most students live east of Hiawatha highway 55 and thus major crossing like at 32nd Street are often dangerous and discourages bicycle use,” Joy explains. 

Furthermore, the event dovetails with other planning efforts in the neighborhood, including its small area plan and the Urban Planning vision for East Lake Street, he says. 

“One of the big outcomes we are seeking is for the wider community to embrace a new identity for the South High Athletic Field,” Joy says. 

That identity should be “high-use and diverse, engaging for pedestrians, and safe for cyclists,” he adds.  

Source: Ross Joy, lead organizer, CNO  
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Founder of online forum that encourages neighborhood discussions honored at White House

Last week, the White House honored Steven Clift, the founder and head of E-Democracy, an online forum where people discuss everything from neighborhood development to airport noise, as a Champion of Change.  

Clift was among 15 people across the country to receive the award. The honorees stand out for their work "to build participation in our democratic processes while using new technologies and engaging less represented communities via open government and civic hacking,” a prepared statement about the award reads.  

Clift, a fellow with the Ashoka association of global social entrepreneurs, started the nonprofit E-Democracy in 1994. Even today, “Most cities don’t have anything like that," he says. 

The website has continued to evolve as well. For example, last year, with a Knight Foundation grant, it started a volunteer-run initiative called BeNeighbors.org that strives to “connect all neighbors online (and off) in public life,” a prepared statement reads. 

So far, BeNeighbors.org has over 15,000 members throughout the Twin Cities and beyond who participate in numerous online forums, according to E-Democracy materials.

The forums are especially busy in South Minneapolis. Clift hopes to see the site gain traction in St. Paul.  

This involves “tackling areas that are community information deserts with limited in-person (or online) opportunities to connect people locally across race, immigrants and native-born,” and more. To do so, the organization has been reaching out to people in person at local libraries, soccer games, and community festivals and even going door-to-door. The idea is to “make virtual space welcoming, open and relevant,” Clift says. 

Already, posting volume on the site has increased 152 percent from St. Paul-ites over the past year. St. Paul is the first city he knows of with “a network of open online spaces covering every neighborhood/district,” he says. 

In the forums, “People love to celebrate local small business, get recommendations on service, development along the light rail,” along with art events and more. In some ways, the result is akin to the virtual version of a grocery store bulletin board, Clift says. Meanwhile, the website’s volunteers are monitoring certain topics, looking for intersections of culture and place, among other things, he says. 

Seeing the progress so far is encouraging. “These are pretty exciting times. We’re looking forward to expanding the work and sharing the welcomes,” he says.

Source: Steven Clift, E-Democracy
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Photos wrap around vacant North Side building as a part of FLOW Art Crawl

Last weekend, a vacant building at 1001 West Broadway Avenue in North Minneapolis was turned into a large-scale work of art. 

A bold vinyl wrap featuring photographic images from the neighborhood wraps around two sides of the three-story building. 
The project kicks off the FLOW Art Crawl, an annual event since 2006 that’s running this weekend with more offerings than in previous years. 

Many different galleries, studios, theaters, and other spaces are a part of the art crawl, which stretches down West Broadway, from the Mississippi River to Penn Avenue North, according to art crawl materials. This includes a Caribbean cultural "masquerade parade" and a mini-Open Streets event in partnership with the Minneapolis Bike Coalition. Open Streets allows for bicyclists and pedestrians to freely wander North 2nd Street.  

Dudley Voigt, FLOW’s artistic director, says that each year during the event, “We have made a piece of public art that lasted beyond the event.”   

The three-story building can’t be occupied at this time, “but that doesn’t mean it can’t be showcased,” she says.  

FLOW, along with the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, collaborated with the city, which owns the building, to “figure out a way to wrap it, to use art on a larger scale and amplify what we’ve been doing for a long time,” she says. 

The project expands on the city’s façade improvement efforts and the coalition’s work around business recruitment, corridor marketing and creative placemaking, a prepared statement from the city reads.  

The guerilla-style photos that characterize the vinyl wrap, which Armour Photography, owned by Jake Armour, shot in June, feature area business owners, organization leaders, artists, architectural elements of the corridor and more. 

“What’s great about this is that you can drive by it and see it anytime. It’s a celebration of the great things happening on the North Side everyday,” she says.

A number of other North Side buildings have also gotten an artistic makeover. “Public art makes any space look good,” on both the inside and outside, Voigt says. At times, this type of public artwork has even led to a building or another space being rented or purchased. “We see that story playing out over and over again, the intersection of art and commerce,” she says. 

Meanwhile, the vinyl wrap is expected to last several years. “The city and the community want to see the building occupied before the banner fades,” says Voigt.  

Source: Dudley Voigt, artistic director, FLOW 
Writer: Anna Pratt

Minnesota Beer Activists to start up a community hops garden

The Minnesota Beer Activists group is planning a community garden centered exclusively on hops, which are used to flavor beer.  

Andrew Schmitt, the group’s executive director, saw a need for fresh, locally sourced hops. “I thought, ‘why not have a garden dedicated to just hops, which the community can use?’” he says. “We have a great community of home brewers in Minnesota and this is one way we can help with that.”  

He knows of no other community hops gardens in the country. The Minnesota Beer Activists worked with Hennepin County to find a spot for the garden. They setled on a lot at the corner of East 38th Street and Dight Avenue in Minneapolis’s Longfellow neighborhood.  

Besides turning a vacant space into a productive one, the garden dovetails with several local breweries. “It brings neighbors together and they can share something they have in common,” he says.   

The Minnesota Beer Activists plans to run the hops garden cooperatively. People can sign up to take part in much the same way that they would in any other community garden, collectively maintaining it, he says.

To help get it up and running, Hippity Hop Farms in Forest Lake is donating hop plants and trellises, which cuts down on the group’s overhead costs, he says. Schmitt hopes to track down some rain barrels as well.

The garden will start out by planting Cascade hops, which are “great all around for making beer, in terms of taste and aroma,” he says, adding, “As things progress, we may look at some other styles.”

Schmitt plans to edge the garden with wheat and barley. He also wants to set up a bench to create a park-like feel, he says.  
By October, the garden should have its first harvest. The hops will be good for home brewers and cooking enthusiasts alike.

He hopes to make the garden the “leading edge of what could be a movement,” inspiring other community hops gardens in the area, and beyond.

Source: Andrew Schmitt, executive director, Minnesota Beer Activists
Writer: Anna Pratt

St. Paul skyway mural invites introspection

A mural in a skyway at downtown St. Paul’s Alliance Bank Center is encouraging all kinds of personal and profound reactions. 

The mural, which spans a 36-foot-long construction barricade, has been designed to appear like an oversized chalkboard. Over and over, it contains the line, “Before I die I want to…” with space for 168 people to fill in the blanks.  

Shawn Wiski, the property manager for the building, had seen a headline about New Orleans-based artist Candy Chang’s original project. It had to do with how the words, “Before I die I want to….” changed her life, she says. 

Chang came up with the project after losing a close friend who’d been a mother figure to her. “She started reflecting on the rest of her life and what she wanted to do,” she says.  

The artist took that line of thought and she wound up stenciling it on the exterior of a vacant, boarded-up house in New Orleans. “The response was phenomenal, so it’s been duplicated,” in cities all over the globe, she says. 

Wiski thought about the skyway, where the “huge white construction wall calls out for something to be decorating it. It was an opportunity for something to go there that benefits others.”

St. Paul's "Before I die" mural is in an ideal spot, with plenty of pedestrian traffic. “It’s gone over far better than I could have expected. It’s had an overwhelming response,” Wiski says. 

Within several hours of the mural’s unveiling in the skyway on July 8, the slots had been completely filled out. Since then, the answers have been erased and already it’s chock-full of answers once again. “It’s been cool to watch the people gather by it, read it, take pictures and write on it,” she says. 

The mural will be up for a total of six weeks, as was another art project that came before it. “I just hope it’s an inspiration to all, that it helps everyone reflect on their life and the importance of what they can contribute,” she says. 

The mural also offers a community-building exercise. “It teaches us about our fellow businessperson, resident, visitor, and more,” she says. 

Many of the responses defy stereotypes, she says. People are “divulging a little bit of their inner self. So it’s personal.”  

Source: Shawn Wiski, property manager, Alliance Bank Center 
Writer: Anna Pratt 

A photo contest connecting design principles and the life of the street

To flesh out its in-progress street design manual that’s part of a broader plan, St. Paul is holding a photo contest of “street elements" that can be found throughout the city.

The manual will provide "a clear framework for street design processes,” according to city information. Community members can help add to the manual with snapshots of “street elements,” which include sidewalks, benches, crosswalks, bike racks and lanes, boulevard trees, outdoor cafes, and more.

The contest, which has an Aug. 1 deadline, is open to anyone, from the amateur to the professional photographer, according to Anton Jerve, a city official who is leading the charge. Contest rules, along with a lengthy list of “street elements,” sample photos and image requirements can be found on the city’s website. Some people may even be able to use their smartphones, depending on how good their cameras are, he says.  

The contest is a creative way to get the public involved in the digital manual, which will see plenty of use from city planners, he says. “This is an opportunity for people to go out and take photos and help us customize the manual,” he says, adding, “It showcases the good things we’re already doing.”         

This will contribute to the city's Complete Streets Plan, which is all about street design that takes into consideration “the needs of all street users, of all ages and abilities,” city materials state. The manual will “talk about how we can bring the street elements all together to design a complete or balanced street,” Jerve says.            

Part of what makes it helpful is that “People will take photos of places they like. It gets people out and about and thinking about the streets, and the relationship between what we’re calling something in the manual and how it’s functioning,” he says.  
Source: Anton Jerve, city of St. Paul
Writer: Anna Pratt

Heyday to reimagine a vacant space in Uptown

Heyday, a new restaurant coming to Minneapolis's Uptown neighborhood, has big plans to transform the space once occupied by the former Sunny Side Up Café and an adjacent Laundromat.    

Lorin Zinter, a principal of Heyday whose partner is chef Jim Christiansen, says the pair scouted out lots of restaurant spaces all over the city for several years before settling on this location. They’re fans of Uptown, which is ideally situated “so close to single-family homes, condos, apartments and other great businesses. It was a great fit for us.”

To make way for Heyday, the concept for which they’re still developing, the pair is planning a dramatic renovation of the space. The building will take on a whole new look and feel, he says.

For starters, they’ll be removing the exterior siding and installing new windows and doors, while the interior will be brought down to the floorboards and studs. “We’ll start from scratch and it’ll be open, extending up to the ceiling,” he says, adding, “I love the original exposed hardwood ceilings.”

Natural materials will characterize the place, while local artist Terrence Payne, founder of the Rosalux Gallery, will create an original piece that will lend plenty of personality to one interior wall. “We’re excited to work with him. He’s immensely talented. We want to use local artists, so visitors can see and feel the impact of people in Minneapolis within the restaurant,” Zinter says.

A bar and lounge will take up close to half of the space, while the restaurant portion will fill out the remainder of the nearly 4,600-square-foot area, he says.  

Even though Zinter and Christiansen have a background in fine dining, “We don’t want it to be only a special-occasion place. We want it to be a place in the neighborhood where people feel free to walk down anytime.”

Construction will start in mid-July, while the restaurant aims to open in December.  

“I think there’s such a great food scene already on Lyndale, and it’s building nicely. We want to contribute to that and make this part of the city that much more fun and enjoyable,” he says.

Source: Lorin Zinter, co-owner, Heyday
Writer: Anna Pratt

Thistle store brings vintage wares to Milton Square

Thistle, an occasional shop that offers repurposed vintage furniture and other home accessories, opened in the historical Milton Square in St. Paul in May.

The space has had a variety of uses through the years, according to shop owner Heather O’Malley.
She describes the place as a “nice complement to the quirky building,” which dates back to 1909. It has a European feeling, with old-fashioned steps that lead down to the store. People can “overlook it from the street and down into my doorway. People love to peek over,” she says.

Although O’Malley made some cosmetic changes to the 800-square-foot space, “My type of furniture, quirky repurposed things, fits in well with this,” she says. To flesh that out a little more, she took away layers to expose old pipes and radiators.  

O’Malley, who also has a set-design business, had always wanted to have a shop like this and she likes the neighborhood. As far as work goes, “I love to find things and change them up and make them into something else, give them a new life,” she says, adding, “I felt it was time for me to have a retail spot for it.”  

So, when this space opened up, “It was the perfect opportunity,” and it makes sense for the neighborhood, too, which is characterized by older homes, she says.

Since the shop is only open for a limited time over the course of a month, “It’s not like a typical gift shop. It’s constantly changing,” with different merchandise all the time. “People feel like they’re on a scavenger hunt to find something no one else has discovered yet.”  

The shop’s next sale dates go from July 11 to 14. (Check the website for further details.) “People get excited about seeing what comes next,” O'Malley says, adding, “There’s been some really interesting comments and good feedback so far.”

Source: Heather O’Malley, owner, Thistle
Writer: Anna Pratt

French Corner Bistro & Bakery fills void for baked goods on Nicollet Mall

A new French-style bakery and bistro on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis is hosting its grand opening this Thursday.
The French Corner Bistro & Bakery, which had a soft opening earlier this month, offers a wide variety of baked goods, sandwiches, soups and salads, and wine.
Nadia Storchak, a co-owner of the place along with Vladimir Storchak and Chrystel Klein, says the bistro’s concept is comparable to that of the former Pardon My French restaurants. “It has a similar menu,” she says, adding, We have a French chef from France. So, it’s not only in the name. We have real French foods.”   
The bistro, which has 40 seats inside along with sidewal-café seating, brought about a dramatic makeover of the space, which once housed a bank. “We demolished everything that was here before and started again. It was a big project,” Storchak says.
Inside, the bistro has a French-inspired ambience, with an eye-catching chandelier and granite countertops. “It’s a transitional modern look,” she says.
The place fills a unique niche in the area. “It’s a big need for people living or working downtown. There are a lot of coffee shops, but no place to buy pastries,” she says. Already, the place has been busy. “It’s a great place just to spend time and hang out with friends,” Storchak says, adding, “We have the best macaroons in town. Everyone is saying they’re the best.”
French Corner Bistro & Bakery also helps bring business to the adjacent Dahl Pharmacy, which the Storchaks and Klein also own, she says.  
In the future, the bistro hopes to add catering services along with boxed lunches. “We’re looking forward to seeing more customers,” says Storchak.
Source: Nadia Storchak, co-owner, French Corner Bistro & Bakery
Writer: Anna Pratt

courageous heARTS center brings youth together through art

As a survivor of the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis in 2007, Lindsay Walz, a youth worker, turned to art for healing.  
“I found myself through the artistic process and creativity. I could tell my story to myself in a different way,” she says.  

That experience led her to open courageous heARTS, an arts-focused youth center at 4164 Cedar Ave. S. in Minneapolis. As a part of a soft launch this summer, the center has special drop-in hours for open studio use. The center is also helping plan community art projects in conjunction with the Standish Ericsson Neighborhood Association (SENA).

Walz, who has long wanted to open a youth center of her own, says courageous heARTS is a “space that’s safe, where youth can express themselves and get the gunk out,” adding, “It’s better if those feelings come out on paper or with words, whatever the case may be.”

The center is a place to explore those possibilities. “Maybe someone is an untapped writer or a dancer or a musician,” she says. “It’s not about being good at it, just doing it.”

Also, youth can learn from each other. “They don’t have to separate themselves,” and they can develop leadership skills through the youth advisory board and other opportunities, she says.

The space, formerly a convenience store that had sat vacant for some time, is an ideal location, according to Walz. She wanted to find a space in the neighborhood, where she lives, “so it would be community-based in the true sense of it,” she says. Plus, the neighborhood doesn’t have a lot of youth programming. “It was about making art and space accessible."

The center will probably occupy the 1,800-square-foot space for a couple of years and then move to another location, since the landlord has other plans for the building in the longer term. “I felt like it would be a good window to get the center off the ground,” Walz says.

At this time, she’s still looking for partners and volunteers to help make the place a success, while an Aug. 1 fundraiser includes a screening of the documentary “Inocente” at the Riverview Theatre.

“Anyone that’s interested we’d love to hear from,” whether that has to do with art or office work or another skill, she says. “We need a lot of helping hands to get off the ground. We want to be around for a long time. That’s the goal.”

Source: Lindsay Walz, courageous heARTS
Writer: Anna Pratt

Urban Growler Brewing coming to St. Anthony Park neighborhood

Urban Growler Brewing, a small packaging microbrewery with a taproom, is in the works for a vintage brick building in St. Paul's St. Anthony Park neighborhood. The place is hosting an open house this Friday and Saturday.

Although the 6,200-square-foot warehouse space still has a ways to go before the brewing can happen, the event is a chance to learn more about Urban Growler or to become a member, according to brewer and co-founder Deb Loch.

Loch, whose business partner is Jill Pavlak, says the women-run brewery’s mission is to "bring people together through beer." Also, they want to make craft beer more accessible to women. Although beer brewing is male-dominated, long ago in the brewing tradition, “It was a woman’s job,” Loch says.

Right now, the brewery is fundraising to build out the space. That includes installing the right equipment for the brewing process. Besides that, “We have to make sure the structural integrity is there to hold the weight of the tanks,” she says.

The brewery plans to make traditional and specialty beers, while its “Plow to Pint” series will include local ingredients. “We’ll be partnering with local farmers and bringing out their story,” and some customers might act as “specialty suppliers,” too, she says. The brewery will have a “kitchen where a small but delicious menu of food that goes with beer will be made. We hope to have a local twist for that as well."

Its ambiance will be “warm industrial,” according to Loch. “We hope it becomes a community gathering spot,” she says, adding, “We envision this area becoming the next Northeast Minneapolis,” brewery-wise.  

The place joins a growing list of local breweries springing up in the area, including Bang Brewing Co., Burning Brothers Brewing and Surly Brewing Co. “Craft beer is growing like crazy in the Twin Cities,” she says.

She hopes that the neighborhood “becomes a destination for people outside the area. “There’s a lot of interest in beer out there and there’s plenty of room for everyone.”  

Source: Deb Loch, co-founder and brewer, Urban Growler Brewing
Writer: Anna Pratt

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