Good Grocer check out

Everyone is welcome at Good Grocer, a new kind of food marketplace

The small chartreuse and white building on the corner of East Lake Street and Stevens Avenue might be easy to miss, but what goes on inside might well become a model for solving the problem of fresh produce and healthier foods in lower income neighborhoods. The Good Grocer, a new kind of neighborhood co-op that opened June 15, is already getting healthy and affordable food to people in the area. Once, people living nearby in the Lyndale and Whittier neighborhoods had easy access to good and affordable food. But, after Sullivan’s SuperValu, a large grocery store with a 28-year history of serving the community closed two years ago, residents found themselves with few options. In an area where many don’t have much money to spend or reliable transportation to travel miles to buy groceries, the neighborhood had no access to a quality grocery store. Continue Reading

A doughnut shop owner looks to the future on (or near) the light rail

[Editor’s note: This is part of a series on businesses along the Green Line, one year after opening. We interviewed SugaRush Donuts and other University Avenue businesses in 2014 as part of a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Fund grant. We’re returning after the opening of the light rail to see what’s changed.]

SugaRush Donuts, the small family doughnut shop on St. Paul’s Green Line, has a lot of fans from the neighborhood. People have been coming in early for a sweet breakfast or an afternoon snack since 2008 when Keoni Nguyen and his wife Susie Path took Rainbow Donuts over from Nguyen’s brother and renamed it SugaRush. Continue Reading

Russian Tea House on University Avenue is putting up a fight

[Editor’s note: This is part of a series on businesses along the Green Line, one year after opening. We profiled the Russian Tea House and other University Avenue businesses in 2014 as part of a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Fund grant. We’re returning after the opening of the light rail to see what’s changed.]

For almost four decades, Nikolai Alenov’s iconic Russian Tea House had done well, selling ‘Russian fast food’ even back in the days when Russian cuisine seemed daring and exotic. Alenov and his wife, Linda, served their lunch-only crowd their specialty beet borscht, cabbage and meat rolls, piroshky (buns filled with beef, rice, cheese and caramelized onion,) and beef stroganoff over vareniki (potato filled ravioli-like dumplings), attracting a fan base–people who were willing to drive from around the Twin Cities to their location on St. Paul’s University Avenue. Continue Reading

One year along the Green Line: Barbeque thrives, but not because of the light rail

I called Ron Whyte, one of the owners of Big Daddy’s Old Fashioned BBQ on University Avenue in St. Paul. I was trying to ask him how the trains of the Green Line had affected his business since the line opened a little more than a year ago. It was mid-afternoon, and he was behind the counter.

“Call after 6:00 pm, when we’re closed,” he told me. “I can’t talk. We keep getting customers.”

Big Daddy’s BBQ is doing well. The success is less about the Green Line and more about entrepreneurship, but the spark for the new success came from the new light rail just outside their door. Continue Reading

Nordeast’s Little India has big selection and great customer service

Article written by Stephanie Fox

It’s mid-afternoon on a weekday and as usual, Little India, one of the Twin Cities’ oldest and most established Indian grocery stores, is filled with people. There’s a long line in the narrow aisle leading to the two registers and another front of the halal meat department. People crowd around at the dessert counter to pick up some of the freshly made Indian sweets. Many of the customers are from India or Pakistan, but not all. “Our customers come from everywhere – Africa, South America, India, Pakistan, Nepal and here. Continue Reading

Award winning Coastal Seafoods draws customers from everywhere

It’s Thursday afternoon and the customers keep coming through the door of Coastal Seafoods in the Seward neighborhood of South Minneapolis, lining up in the tiny store to make their selections. “It’s our busiest day,” says assistant manager Hazel Lauer. “It’s whole fish and salmon discount day. We have a lot of customers from cultures that aren’t Minnesota Hot Dish. They like whole fish rather than just boneless filets.”

She holds up two large, spiny, black sea urchins, the most exotic thing in the store, she says. Continue Reading

Food entrepreneurs hope to make Nordeast Minneapolis foodie central

Nordeast Minneapolis is becoming a food destination in more ways than one. In addition to new trendy restaurants and little ethnic grocery stores, two seasoned food entrepreneurs, Ruben Nilsson and Kieran Folliard, have opened what they’re calling simply, The Food Building.Located at 1401 Marshall, not far from the city’s Arts District and with a view of downtown’s skyscrapers, they hope the location will become part of a central food hub, a place where upmarket food makers can go from small time to big time.Right now, they have only two tenants; experienced cheese maker Nilsson and sausage maker Mike Phillips, a James Beard Award winning chef who once led the team at the South Minneapolis restaurant, The Craftsman.Nilsson had been working at the Caves of Faribault for more than six years, creating award winning blue cheeses and learning his trade. But last summer, he set out on his own, partnering with Kevin Folliard, pub owner and creator of 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey, and by early February, was starting his first batch of cheese.Nilsson reached out to two organic dairy farm families, David and Mariana Nyquist who farm near Cokato and farmer Clark Anderson, who manages a herd in tiny Sebeka, Minnesota. The farms produce high quality milk and, said Nilsson, the superior cheese will help the farmers become better known, especially among cheese connoisseurs.“We milk mostly Milking Shorthorns ,  a heritage breed”, said Anderson. “I got my first Milking Shorthorn when I was six-years old. Continue Reading

In the sugar maple grove, things are sweeter than ever

Sugarbushing begins in February when the snow is still on the ground and the sap in the sugar maple trees begins to rise. At the the Wozupi Tribal Gardens’ grove in Prior Lake, that still means it’s time to get to work. But, it no longer means pulling out the metal taps, the stainless steel buckets and the kettles.“Buckets are for hobbyists,” said Rebecca Yoshino, the director of the Wozupi Tribal Gardens and the maple syrup operation for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. “The bucket system is very labor intensive. You had to put the buckets up and take them down every year. Continue Reading

The six best, just-starting-out, hard-to-find, locally-made, healthy and delicious condiments you really, really want to try

1)  Tango Chimchurri In Argentina, a tangy garlicky parsley vinaigrette sauce called chimchurri is found on every dining table, a dipping sauce for grilled meat and vegetables. Mariana Leimontas took her father’s recipe and brought it to her adopted Minnesota where it was a hit with friends, including Suzie Holzinger. The two decided to bring it to market under the name Tango Chimchurri to sell, at first, at the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market. “We use fresh ingredients,” said Leimontas. “We use no lemon, no mint, no onion, no cilantro. We use red wine vinegar and locally sourced sunflower oil instead of olive oil for the flavor.” She recommends using the sauce when sautéing vegetables, as a marinade for roasted potatoes, in scrambled eggs, on sandwiches and more. If you want to pick up a jar of Tango Chimchurri, you can find it (later this spring) at the Minneapolis Farmers Market or right now at the Wedge Co-op and at Oxendale’s supermarket in East Nokomis near 50th St. Continue Reading