Beer, wine and Blue Door in Minneapolis


There’s a public hearing on Wednesday, March 21 about the Blue Door Longfellow’s application for a beer and liquor license, and E-Democracy has had a lot of conversation about it. Here are a few of the posts, and here’s the link to the whole discussion.


Posted by Spencer Agnew

There is a public hearing scheduled next week regarding the Blue Door Longfellow’s application for a wine and beer license. I strongly encourage anybody interested in this to either attend the public hearing or to submit feedback in writing to Julie Casey at Regulatory Services (contact info below). 

Some relevant details are below, with additional information available in the attached public hearing notice from Minneapolis Regulatory Services. 

Spencer Agnew Cooper resident, Longfellow Community Council staff  


Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Time: 6:30 pm

Place: Longfellow Community Center 3435 36th Avenue South 

Purpose: To present information and solicit comments for the application from Sacre Bleu Enterprises, LLC, dba The Blue Door-Longfellow for an On Sale Wine with Strong Beer license with Class E level of entertainment. This license would be granted under Charter amendment 144 which allows a full service restaurant to obtain a wine with strong beer license in areas without seven acres of contiguous commercial zoning. Charter wine licenses cannot have a bar area where the consumption of alcohol is the primary activity and alcohol cannot be served without food. 

You are invited to attend, express your opinions, and/or submit such in writing. Please use the next page to make written comments or contact Inspector Julie Casey at <email obscured> or 612-673-3905.


Posted by Spencer Agnew

The below message was sent from the Blue Door owners to the Longfellow Community Council and other community parties in February. It explains some details about the operations that are proposed for Blue Door- Longfellow. 

I know that some neighbors close to the proposed Blue Door- Longfellow location have expressed concerns about various aspects of the proposal, including night operating hours and noise. I haven’t received any communication directly from them, so hopefully someone can chime in with some more extensive details. 

Spencer Agnew Cooper resident, Longfellow Community Council staff  


Hello neighbors, 

As we’re sure most of you have heard by now, a second Blue Door restaurant is currently in the works to open in the Greater Longfellow neighborhood and we would love to introduce ourselves.  We are Jeremy Woerner and Patrick McDonough, the co-owners, who along with our families, are ecstatic and looking forward to building a respected business that we confidently hope will become a staple of this community.  Currently, we own and operate a small, family-forward restaurant just across the river in the Merriam Park neighborhood that features award-winning burgers, a made-from-scratch approach to our menu, and an inviting, warm environment.  Just recently, we had the honor of being named one of the top 36 restaurants in the Twin Cities by MPLS. St Paul Magazine!  We pride ourselves not only on our insistence of quality and our dedicated and friendly staff, but on our hands-on approach to our restaurant.  We’ve worked extremely hard to build and maintain strong relationships with our close neighbors and create opportunities to involve ourselves with the local schools, community groups, and charities.  For those of you unfamiliar with our St Paul location, we cordially invite you to come and see for yourself what we’re about, and we would love to take this opportunity to further explain our intentions and approach to the Blue Door – Longfellow: 

·         Hours:  While our original plan was to mimic our St Paul hours and have a 1am closing time, we have come to the conclusion that the need to provide a late night dining option, and, from a business sense, an added revenue stream is overshadowed by our strongest desire to maintain friendly and warm relationships with the surrounding neighbors.   We are proposing a closing time of 11:30 Sunday through Thursday, and then a closing time of 12:30am on Friday and Saturday nights.  This would still give many people a chance who do not work the typical 9 – 5 shift an opportunity to have a quality sit-down dinner, stay competitive with similar restaurants in the area, and even provide our guests a chance to catch the end of the ball game, just to name but a few examples.  The earlier times would also coincide with the exiting of the Riverview Theatre patrons who went to the last showing of the day. 

·         License Requirements:  We have applied for the Minneapolis Charter Wine and Beer license.  This license dictates that our total sales percentage of food has to be at least 70% and that no guest can just order drinks without food.  We will only carry wine and beer, with our main emphasis being on quality craft beers from the expanding and quality roster of Twin City brewers or other regional favorites.  Currently, our food sales are consistently near 80% and we expect the same in Minneapolis. 

·         Late night approach and training:  Having an existing restaurant in a strongly residential location, an issue we are keen on addressing is noise abatement, especially after 9pm.  Our staff and managers will be trained to monitor the outside premises though the many large windows that will be installed and signs will be posted to remind our guests to quietly walk to their cars or homes, as well as vocal reminders at or near close. Additionally, at least one employee will be stationed outside at closing every night to make sure no one is talking loud or meandering from the sidewalk.  Our servers and managers will be trained to calmly address situations such as loud or disruptive behavior if it occurs, although this has been rare due to our food forward approach and lack of liquor.  Regarding our approach to serving alcohol, all of our serving staff will be required to take at least a yearly city-approved alcohol training class.  We are strict in enforcing our carding approach, which is everyone, no exception, who appears under 35 years of age. After more than 3 years at our St Paul location, we have a perfect record, an expectation we take incredibly seriously.  Ultimately, it is our goal to do everything possible to keep our late night presence to an absolute minimum. 

·         Location and Build-out:  Our new 75-seat restaurant will be located at 3448 42nd Ave South, taking over the headquarters and workshop of Brownsmith Restoration who will, in turn, be moving their operation just up the road to Lake Street.  Brownsmith is a local company dedicated to historical renovations and construction management that will oversee the build-out and beautification of the property, which we hope to have completed by late spring.  We are currently working with consultants and architects who specialize in a “green” approach and we are excited to implement the newest in composting and recycling methods and installing equipment such as our kitchen’s hood system that will work quieter and filter more efficiently than anything previously available. Like the St Paul Blue Door, the Longfellow location will feature large windows to bathe the woodwork and booths in a warm glow and we’ll offer plenty of chalkboard space to help entertain our younger guests, as well as everyone else we’ve noticed.  We will also be installing a number of bicycle racks and encourage our diners to ride by having personal lockers available for helmets and backpacks, and even have a number of tools and supplies on hand in case of flat tires or other bike mishaps. 

We hope this helps to clarify some information and we sincerely thank you for taking the time to read through this lengthy greeting!  We strongly encourage you to contact us with any questions, comments, or suggestions and we look forward to meeting with you all as you make your way through our blue doors. Have a wonderful weekend! 

Best regards, 

Jeremy and Pat

The Blue Door – Longfellow 651-493-1865


Posted by Kristi Johnson

[The following] is from a statement/letter that we received in our door. We live close by.

The statement reads:

Our group of 15 (10 households) agreed to a list of conditions we will request to be on the Blue Door-Longfellow’s license. 

The demands are in their entirety: 

“Hours Saturday to Thursday 11:00 am to 10:00 pm and on Friday to Saturday, 11:00 am to 11:00 pm 

No happy hours past 8:00 pm 

Smoking outdoors should be in designated area only on south side with ash/butts disposal system provided 

No outside seating will be permitted 

No outside queue line will be permitted 

No deliveries before 9:00 am and no dumping of glass before 9:00 am or after 9:00 pm 

Blue Door will post signs reminding patrons not to obstruct the alleyway on 35th street or the driveway on 35th street.” 

The problem is, of course, that these conditions – no one standing on sidewalks outside, no deliveries before 9 am, not being able to stay open past 10 pm week nights and not past 11 pm on Friday and Saturday would be deal breakers for any restaurant, including those currently operating in Longfellow.  People should take a look at the following article (unfortunately using the word booze – the Blue Door is a gourmet hamburger joint not a bar) 

Here is an excerpt: 

“Upscale bars can be a sign of change—as they are in a neighborhood like mine—or they can drive change, as they do in places just starting to transform. In some cities, such as Detroit, people are even hopeful that well-placed watering holes can be a tool to reverse-engineer neighborhood revitalization—if you build it, the young will come. And as more 20-somethings embrace city living across the country, bars and restaurants have become, perhaps, what the church or country club are to the suburban lifestyle: tangible evidence of a vibrant community.”


Posted by Steve Anderson

These opinions expressed, regarding the Blue Door Longfellow are both enlightening and interesting to say the least.  I am struck, however, by the fact that everyone who opposes the compromises being asked for, live two or more blocks away and that’s understandable, however,  I wonder if your opinion would be a bit different if the Blue Door were to move in directly next door to you, or directly across the street, or ally from you.   I am part of the group who is asking Blue Door for some compromises, not because we don’t want Blue Door in our neighborhood, on the contrary, we have never said we don’t want Blue Door in our neighborhood, but this is a unique situation.  I have heard the argument that the Riverview has lines that form outside by its patrons and while this is true, it is also true that the Riverview is surrounded by other businesses.  You have the clinic across the street from them, the Riverview coffee & Wine Bar on one corner and Mother Earth Gardens on the other corner. If you’ll notice the property where Blue Door is going is the only zoned property for business, our neighbors live directly next door, or across the street, or directly behind the Blue Door property.  As I said before, no one in our group is advocating that Blue Door not come into our neighborhood, however, because of the uniqueness of this property we do feel as homeowners we have the right and responsibility to ask for some compromises.  We all moved into this neighborhood for various reason, but I think a lot of it had to do with the quality of life we enjoy.  The Blue Door may enhance that quality of life, it may not, time will only tell. 


Posted by Aaron Schilz

A few things… first, Blue Door exists and worked its way into existence in an adjacent (and might I add quiet and residential) part of St. Paul, just across the river.  Can’t we just look at how that one came into existence and the compromises (read: concessions) to which they had to agree? 

One may argue the other location is a bit more commercial than this one, but that gets at the zoning situation.  As someone who recently purchased a home, it’s well known that you can get more of a “bang for your buck” if you choose to purchase a home closer to commercially zoned property.  Unless someone can point me in the direction of documentation that shows this was changed and zoned long after they moved within close proximity (close enough to warrant compiling a list of compromises), I’m having a hard time seeing how folks that live nearby can make such compromising requests. 

There are so many threads about how much people are longing (no pun intended) for businesses to come and revitalize our neighborhood.  Yet, when one comes along… and not just ANY one… a restaurant (in my limited observations) that is known for being a classy, exciting neighborhood pub; there exists this surprising amount of quiet, passive resistance towards the new establishment. 

Disclosure:  I’m 100% confident that the Blue Door Pub will be one of the best things that has happened to this neighborhood.  It may create cigarette clouds that may or may not blow towards your home.  It might produce a few loud/obnoxious patrons from time-to-time.  But most importantly, it attracts new homeowners who like the idea of being near one of the Twin Cities most well-known burger establishments.  I, for one, am totally pumped to see this place open.


Read the whole thread here.

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