Vintage ice cream, fudge shop on its way to Cottage Grove

South Washington County Bulletin reports that Fred Luden Sr., and his son, Fred Luden, Jr., say they are just weeks away from opening Old Tyme Fudge & Ice Cream in the former Blink Bonnie location at 8800 East Point Douglas Road.

The Ludens long thought about opening a business together and earlier this year got serious.

“We saw a lot of empty space here in Cottage Grove and then I began thinking about my bucket list,” said the elder Luden, a former City Council member. “If there would be any two things on there it would be Bridgeman’s ice cream and homemade fudge.”

Bridgeman’s, a Minnesota ice cream company since 1936, signed on as a co-partner and will offer a number of flavors. Skilled fudge makers, along with Luden family members, will also make homemade, rich fudges.

While the 1,800-square-foot building is equipped with the necessary food service equipment, the younger Luden said minor upgrades are under way.

Posted in Cottage Grove

Smack Shack Owners & Jack Riebel Buying The Lexington

Eater reports that after being closed for almost a year, St. Paul institution The Lexington finally has new owners and they’re some big Twin Cities names: Jack Riebel (formerly of Butcher & the Boar), and Smack Shack’s Josh Thoma and Kevin Fitzgerald.

The Lexington has been through a couple of prospective owners since closing last year, but they recently sent out a press release saying that new mystery owners would be announced by Mayor Chris Coleman at a press conference on Thursday, April 17th; the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal got the names from “sources familiar with the deal.”

Riebel, Thoma, and Fitzgerald will be keeping The Lexington’s name, but giving it a more casual atmosphere and a major renovation. No details are available yet on the menu.

Jack Riebel announced that he was leaving his position as executive chef and co-owner of popular downtown restaurant Butcher & the Boar in early January, and his next move had been a major mystery. While at B&TB, Riebel was named a James Beard finalist for Best Chef Midwest.

Thoma and Fitzgerald co-own Smack Shack, which started out as a food truck famed for its lobster rolls and is now also a North Loop brick n’ mortar, which opened in February 2013.

Posted in St. Paul

Coldwater Creek closing 11 Minnesota stores

MSPBJ reports that Women’s clothing retailer Coldwater Creek is closing all of its stores as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

The Sandpoint, Idaho-based company, a competitor of Plymouth-based Christopher & Banks, has 11 stores in Minnesota,  according to its website:

  • Albertville, Albertville Premium Outlets
  • Bloomington, Mall of America
  • Duluth, Miller Hill Mall
  • Eden Prairie, Eden Prairie Center
  • Mankato, River Hills Mall
  • Maple Grove, The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes
  • Minnetonka, Ridgedale Center
  • Rochester, Apache Mall
  • Roseville, Rosedale Center
  • St. Cloud, Crossroads Center
  • Woodbury, Woodbury Lakes

Coldwater Creek filed for Chapter 11 protection Friday “to facilitate an orderly wind-down of its operations,” the company said.

While the company’s origins are in catalog sales, Coldwater Creek had grown to more than 400 stores in 47 states. The company has yet to indicate when the stores will close.

Posted in Duluth, Eden Prairie, Mall of America, Mankato, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Rochester, St. Cloud, Woodbury

Historic Stillwater Ice Cream Shop Expands To St. Paul

Twin Cities Business reports that Nelson’s Ice Cream, renowned for its epic serving sizes, announced that it’s expanding to St. Paul with a new ice cream shop.

Founded in 1923, Nelson’s new St. Paul location will mark the first time the company has expanded outside its original location in Stillwater. The new store will open May 17th on 454 Snelling Avenue South.

The announcement coincides with the eight-year anniversary of Dave Najarian and Bill Bergstrom purchasing Nelson’s from Bob Pasket and Chuck Kummeth in order to save the shop from closing down.

The St. Paul shop will be owned and managed by Najarian’s son Daved Najarian. The new store will feature an outdoor patio similar to the Stillwater location, along with indoor seating and convenient parking.

Nelson’s said the new shop will offer more than 40 ice cream flavors, the same as the Stillwater location, which the owners claim is the most in-store offerings of any hand-scoop ice cream shop in the five-state area.

Nelson’s was also recently ranked one of the “Top 25 World’s Best Ice Cream Parlors: Reader’s Pick” by food and travel guide The Daily Meal.

Posted in St. Paul

Kmart: We get it, but want to stay at Lake and Nicollet

According to Finance & Commerce, officials at Kmart say the retailer wants to keep a place at the Lake and Nicollet intersection, but is open to redeveloping a store there that blocks off the avenue and is a sore spot for urban planners.

Executives from Illinois-based Sears Holding Corp., which owns Kmart. They say the Lake Street Kmart is one of the chain’s stronger-performing stores nationwide.

City officials have long targeted the site not because of the store, but because it blocks off Nicollet Avenue, forcing traffic to meander around.

“Kmart gets it,” Misty Redman, divisional vice president of government affairs for the retailer, told F&C. She said Kmart is open to redeveloping the store as long as it stays in the neighborhood.

There are other players involved, however. The site’s currently owned by a group led by New York investor Lawrence Kadish, and efforts to get control of it have been stymied before.

Posted in Minneapolis

Meritage owners taking reservations for new restaurant in Soo Line building

City Pages reports that the restaurateurs behind St. Paul’s Meritage are nearly ready to launch their new venture, a downtown Minneapolis restaurant/cafe/wine bar/cheese shop called Brasserie Zentral.

Husband-and-wife team of Russell and Desta Klein plan to open their doors April 21. The restaurant has started taking online reservations. Other components of the new business, like the skyway-level cafe, will open throughout the year.

The restaurant will be located on the ground floor of the Soo Line Building at 501 Marquette Ave. Developer Village Green Cos. is converting the 19-story office building into luxury apartments.

Posted in Minneapolis

JL Beers opening soon in Northeast Minneapolis

The Journal reports that JL Beers, a Fargo, N.D.-based beer-and-burger chain, will be opening its first Twin Cities location April 23 in Northeast Minneapolis.

JL Beers will have 40 different beers on tap, 30 available in bottles, and another 15 in cans. The food menu is a simple, fast-casual concept with cheap burgers, fries and chips. It’s a 21-plus venue, although owner Mike Wright noted that other JL Beers locations do lots of takeout orders for families.

The restaurant is located in the former home of the Minneapolis Fire Department Repair Shop at 24 University Ave. NE. It was built in 1910 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

This will be the eighth JL Beers location. Other locations have been concentrated in North Dakota, South Dakota and Moorhead since the first JL Beers opened in Fargo in 2009.

Posted in Minneapolis