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Caribe restaurant trying to raise $50,000 through Kickstarter to reopen in Northeast Minneapolis

If all goes as planned, the bygone Caribe Caribbean Bistro could come back in a new form in Northeast Minneapolis.

The former St. Paul restaurant closed last year during Central Corridor Light Rail Transit construction.

Co-owner Heidi Panelli and her husband, Tony, want to reopen the restaurant in the former Amici Bistro space.

To do so, the couple is trying to raise $50,000 in donations through Kickstarter. Their web-based campaign, which started May 14, goes through June 13.  

Funds will go to “the bare bones of getting the place turned into a big art project,” including signage, décor, furniture, equipment, and promotional materials, explains Panelli.

She’s encouraged by the fact that Kickstarter has helped get a couple of other local eateries up and running.

The new space will allow for a bigger kitchen, which means the restaurant will be able to expand its menu, she explains.  

Like the old place, the restaurant would sport bright colors. Panelli plans to paint a mural on one wall that will picture the sun over water, with mirror pieces creating a reflective effect. Another mural would include the names of backers who contribute $100 or more, she says.

The couple has been getting ideas from thrift-store finds. They want the restaurant to resemble an island food stand, but without being too gimmicky, she says.  

She hopes it becomes a “destination location nestled in a neighborhood.” This particular neighborhood alcove “fits our vision perfectly,” she says.  

The couple will be on hand at the June 2 Johnstock annual festival on Johnson St. to share their plans with the public and to give out food samples. They’ll also be showing up on June 7 at the Chowgirls Parlor as a part of the Northrup King building's "first Thursdays" open- studio event.  

Source: Heidi Panelli, Caribe
Writer: Anna Pratt
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