NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES | Prospect Park’s Cupcake advances to Food Network’s Cupcake Wars Championship series

Kevin VanDeraa, owner of beloved bake shop Cupcake, has more to be excited about than the impending conclusion of Central Corridor construction on University Avenue in front of his shop: having won the Yo-Gabba-Gabba-themed episode of the Food Network’s show Cupcake Wars on April 15, VanDeraa is now set to compete in the show’s “Cupcake Champions” series.

Continue Reading

Golden Gate Park on the Mississippi? University of Minnesota architecture students suggest grand plans, encounter grander obstacles

For years, the future of Minneapolis’s riverfront along St. Anthony Main has been rich in promise but lacking in follow-through. New proposals for the area poured in after a plan to reinvigorate the area collapsed in the 2008 recession. To help educate them on options for their neighborhood’s future, residents of the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood and the greater University District sought the help of Ignacio San Martín.

Continue Reading

Amid light-rail construction, barber relies on regulars

The barber shop doesn’t have a cash register or a computer. The space is filled with deer heads, old chairs and plants.At Pete Lebak Barber Stylist, a haircut is $12 flat.Pete Lebak, 74, has been running his one-chair shop on University Avenue for 32 years. He keeps a list of his devoted customer base in a red notebook.Since the start of the Central Corridor light-rail construction, business has declined, with fewer regular customers and virtually no walk-ins.“The light rail is killing all of us. It is beating us to death,” Lebak said.Friday afternoon was slow with only two customers — a common occurrence these days.As he sat in the chair, a red smock flung around his neck, client Bill Richardson chatted and joked with Lebak. Richardson, a senior assistant Hennepin County attorney, has been coming to Lebak for haircuts for 20 years.It’s because of customers like this that Lebak said the shop is not going anywhere –– the relationships he’s formed with his patrons will keep him there.Pete Lebak gives a regular’s dog a treat while his owner waits for his turn in the chair.Starting a businessLebak started cutting hair at 13, learning from his grandfather, also a barber.While attending the University of Minnesota, he worked at a barbershop that has since left Dinkytown. Continue Reading

“Act of God” mars Prospect Park icon: Minneapolis Russian Orthodox church loses its dome

A windstorm toppled the largest of St. Panteleimon’s silver domes March 19. The Russian Orthodox church, located on the corner of Franklin and Emerald in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis, also sustained some structural damage to the roof.“We’re thankful no one was hurt,” said Fr. Antony Alekseyenko, rector for St. Panteleimon’s. Continue Reading

Barber Pete Lebak’s roots run 30 years deep on University Avenue

In the shadow of the bustling light rail construction, University Avenue is home to shiny new storefronts, the neon lights of more commercial vendors, and a few neighborhood businesses, which are at the heart of the neighborhood’s character.Pete Lebak’s one-man barbershop in Southeast Minneapolis is one of those businesses. After relocating to Minnesota back in the 60s, Lebak has slowly grown his business with the word of mouth recommendations given by his loyal clientele. In 1980, he told a former customer, Terry Conger, of his plan to move out to Prior Lake. Then, said Lebak, Conger insisted that the barbershop instead move into his own building, so that he wouldn’t have to make the drive to get his haircut. Lebak was reluctant at first, but moved into the shop, which was wall to wall construction equipment from the previous owner. Continue Reading