Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Duluth Hell’s Kitchen To Close, Reopen as HellBurgers


While I was in Duluth last weekend I stayed in the Canal Park area. It seemed like a third of the Minnesota had the same idea. I quickly found out there were two hockey tournaments and several Christmas parties.

This made it pretty impossible to get dinner reservation in the 5pm-7pm time frame at most places. Friday night we had a party of 7 and managed to get a table at Hells Kitchen with a rather short wait. The food was excellent as ever, but the service left a little something to be desired. When drinks run dry and the third attempt to remind the server is met with “I have thirteen tickets, I’ll get to you when I get to you.” there’s a temptation to roast the server, but instead I asked him “Did you just tell my wife that you’d get to us when you get to us? Profound.”. It did not seem like he had 13 open tickets, but we were a patient group and for the excellent food a few service glitches were worth tolerating. (I’m talking to you Adam, shape up dude.)

On Saturday evening I had a slightly larger party and once again everyplace in the area was booked solid, so I walked over to Hells Kitchen and they took my reservation for 5:30 and offered a small room. Score! When I was arriving a young couple walked up to the door, went inside, saw the gothic decor, and turned around. I mentioned it to the host and he said it happens a lot. I couldn’t help but wonder if Hells Kitchen was a little a head of it’s time for Duluth.

That night once again our food was great, there were a few small consistancy isssues and a couple of service glitches that made me ask the server if there was something wrong. “We’re not used to people ordering these things. It’s not like in the Cities where it’s packed all the time. That’s why we’re closing and reopening”

After a short conversation I found out they were going to rebrand as HellsBurgers, ditch the gothic decor, and focus on more standard americana fare like burgers and brauts.

So when I arrived home I shot off a letter to the owners asking them about closing and this is their response.

Basically, our food costs have risen 27% but we haven’t raised prices with the economic conditions being what they are. When we we analyzed our best sellers, it was hands-down our sandwiches and burgers, so that’s when we said “duh” and decided to expand in that direction. (A good number of diehards love our breakfasts but our strongest business by far was lunch and dinner.)
That said, we’ve been having fun designing our new menu, adding brats and a big variety of wings and even homemade foot-long corndogs and of course our award-winning chili and soups. (Note we are NOT trying to be fancy pants with foie gras burgers and exotic ideas…we’re just hoping to put out good food.)

While we’re at it, we decided to lighten up the place and remodel a bit and then we added spiked shakes (yum) for fun and then we got crazy and decided to add a movie screen to play old stuff from the 50’s 60’s 70’s and 80’s….and finally live music (free) on Saturday nights…HellBurgers give our place a nice kick in the ass, and from the immediate customer reaction to the news, our staff is feeling pretty excited about lightening up and brightening up our little corner of Canal Park.

I have to admit, it sounds like a great business move. Though, it’s a little sad the people of Duluth don’t seem to realize what a cullinary treasure they are losing in Hells Kitchen.

I’m sure HellsBurgers will still have some twists and I’ll check it out next time I”m in D-town.



U of M Bike Center

It looks like the University of Minnesota is going to get its own bike commuter store. With as many bikes as I see day in and day out, it really only makes sense. According to Bicycle Retailer:

bikeaccident“Located in a former transit waiting area in the university’s Oak Street parking ramp, the Hub store will be part of a facility designed to make it safer and easier for students, faculty, university employees and area residents to commute by bike. The Bike Center will provide commuters with bike lockers, restrooms and showers and conference rooms for meetings and educational programs. The Hub Co-Op bike commuter store and the U of M Bike Center are scheduled to open in Spring 2010.
Catering exclusively to the needs of commuters, the Hub’s 700-square-foot store will offer repair services and essential products like gloves, helmets, tubes, tires, bike locks, lighting systems, racks, panniers and bags. Due to space limitations, the shop will not carry bikes. The store will also offer bike repair classes for commuters.”

Talking Minnesotan – 11/27/09

RIP uptown bar Uploaded on November 19, 2009
by the queen of subtle

Pictured above is the hole in the ground where The Uptown used to be, so sad. You can still hear people talking about the bar, mostly in sad whisper fueled rumor. I hear it’s reopening on 28th and Hennepin, but my source admits it’s a weak lead.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks in the T.C. While the temperatures have cooled most everything else has heated up.

Media Wars:
Aside from last week’s Citypages kerfuffle and the Minnpost playing nicey nice with Katherine Kerstern story, oh and let’s not forget David Brauer getting cheeky

Yes, you’d think that would be enough of a local media battle, but there’s more as Strib’s Mike Sweeney goes after MPR in Mike Sweeney: With level playing field, future is bright for news

There was plenty of backlash from the MPR’ers, but the write up I liked the most came from Minnpost’s David Brauer Minnesota Public Radio: punching above its weight

Double whew, all that and a challenge?

BigBoxCar challenges Chuck Olsen

“@Chuckumentary Perhaps you could submit your opinion piece as our first Community Voices VIDEO post? #justdoit “

All because Chuck asked

“@dbrauer Seriously, why would your boss give either @brodkorb or Brian Melendez any screentime on MinnPost? Not sources of solid info. “

You know what I think

I’m telling you, it’s on.

Speaking of wars.
Warlord has a sword, or three.

Special thanks to Newsbobber for adding Minneapolis Metblogs posts to their “Alternative Sources” section! I credit the new bloggers that have been doing such a bang up job, well that and my conversation with Bob Ingrassia. Thanks Bob!

Speaking of doing a great job, I’m certian my favorite Strib commentor whom I call “Fire Childress Guy” is weeping a tiny purple tear with the new contract signing.
As for me? I’m going off the rails on a Viking Train!!!
Metro Transit revises Northstar schedule, adds Vikings train

Also, I’ve been working on an interview with the Unknown Prophets who have just released their third CD. Check them out, on last Sunday’s Local Show appearance.

Listen – 128k mp3

Their CD release in next week ( on my Wife’s birthday) Decemeber Third at First Avenue.

I’ll be there!

( Unless you’re my wife reading this post,love you sweetie.)

Here’s some older Unknown Prophets to warm up your day.

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and are thankful for life’s many blessings.

This place is going nuclear

Strib reports A push to scrap Minn. law barring new nuclear power plants gains influential supporters

Two congressmen — Democratic Rep. Tim Walz and Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen — joined leaders of labor unions and the state Chamber of Commerce in seeking the repeal of Minnesota’s nuclear moratorium.

Their public backing could put pressure on legislators from their areas considered swing votes in the debate. In April, a bid to lift the ban fell eight votes short in the House after convincingly winning approval in the Senate

Walz, who represents much of southern Minnesota, said he doesn’t discount concerns over long-term waste storage. But he said there are environmental consequences to keeping the nuclear ban in place, too.

“Without a baseload of other alternatives here in Minnesota, quite honestly we’ve encouraged people and forced them into the coal business,” he said. “We want to give them other options.”

I have no questions that ending this law and building nuclear is the right thing to do. I believe that newer nuclear technology is safer and more efficient than the plants of the past. (See Also: Wind vs. Nuclear Power: Which Is Safer?
) And it’s my understanding that we are now able to get more power due to recycling nuclear waste.

Still, that’s just like, my opinion man.

What do you think?


Has Citypages crossed the line?

Yesterday a video circulated that allegedly showed several possible teenagers attacking pedestrians at random and today the story is
Police on the trail of attackers shown in YouTube video.

I ran across this video around 9am yesterday morning and chose not to post it for two reasons.

1) I felt it would bring out the racial trolls and create a hostile environment.
2) There is a chance it could be staged.

That said, Citypages posted the video under the inflammatory title City Pages hosts video yanked by punks who assaulted bystanders

Which I guess in and of itself is fine, but the comments that followed spill into several racially charged uses of the “N” word and several threats of violence and gun talk.

I can understand not filtering comments to allow free speech, but all speech has a limit.

I have to admit, I was bothered by the comments to the point that I had a hard time falling asleep last night and almost got out of bed to write this post, but I thought that maybe Citypages would clean them up by morning.

So tell me, has Citypages crossed the line?


Talking Minnesotan – Friday the 13th



Image Reflection Uploaded on November 9, 2009
by conner.mccall

SOTC has NEMAA Fall Fine Arts Show and an interesting conversation about the light rail, Gentrification Via Light Rail.

Minnpost has a must read with the judges talking – Small-fee case explodes: Minnesota justices direct judicial anger at Pawlenty and Legislature

the most remarkable piece of the package is raucous, angry concurrence by Justice Paul Anderson. Anderson sides with Magnuson, which makes his the deciding vote in favor of the deal. The license fee is necessary for the maintenance of “a civilized society,” Anderson says. But the price he exacts for his vote is a fierce lecture about how government ought to function. He ratifies the deal, then denounces it as necessitated by the “unfortunate impasse” between Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the DFL Legislature. But “unfortunate impasse” is pale language compared to what happens when Anderson gets warmed up.

Seriously, read the entire article and the links.

Derusha has a great read on What is and what isn’t terrorism. Did you know there are 109 kinds?

Though, I don’t think cancelling interviews is one of the 109, nor is Friday the 13th, but Sanden of InTheLoop fame doesn’t need Friday the 13th or terrorism to feel the effects of a tough week.

Can we reschedule?

Well, it looks like today isn’t that unlucky for the IntheLoop’ers after all as they have a Joa Cao song going viral in Louisiana

What are you talking about?


MSPTweetup Goes Cuban


Twitter is a wonderful way to meet new people and often times those people can become quite close in the Social Media realm but wouldn’t it be nice to meet those people in real life?  That is what MSPTweetup was organized to be, a regular event for Twitter folks in the Twin Cities to mix and mingle at a local establishment to put faces to usernames.

The Thursday, November 14th MSPTweetup was a big success, held at the Bulldog Northeast and sponsored by IZEA’s Sponsored Tweets there was a huge turnout enjoying the tater tots and conversation.

Planned by Kareem Ahmed & David Dellanave it was one of the largest MSPTweetups. And then it happened. The special surprise guest arrived.  Dallas Mavericks owner and twitterer Mark Cuban arrived at the MSPTweetup. 

Twitpic of @kazeemy & @mcuban @bulldogne #msptweetup

Twitpic of @kazeemy & @mcuban @bulldogne #msptweetup

Ahmed had met Cuban previously and had invited him via Twitter and Cuban, in town for the Mavericks vs Timberwolves game accepted and surprised everyone in attendance.
Unfortunately I had left the event just minutes earlier.  Had I been driving I would have turned around to go back but as I was already on the LRT home I could not. 
From the Twitter Stream of the event Mr. Cuban was very friendly discussing business with some, just shaking hands with others.
@snyd043 & @mcuban @bulldogne #msptweetup

@snyd043 & @mcuban @bulldogne #msptweetup

To have the opportunity to mix & mingle with Mark Cuban at the MSPTweetup was certainly an unexepected bonus of an already tremendous event.  How often do you get the chance to pick the brain of a billionaire entrepreneur over beer?
If you are interested in attending future Tweetups, follow @msptweetup on Twitter, or visit their website for more information.  You never know who may show up!

Talking Minnesotan – 11/06/09

Image Soirée au MIA upoaded by Minneapolis Institute of of Arts —– Check out their calendar of events

I think this next item is really cool, Bob Collins and Mary Lucia have put their 5:15 segment online. I know with many folk Bob and Mary can inspire a love’em or hate’em situation, well you can put me in the love’em camp.
MPR News Cut: Fresh Eye on the Radio
Give it a listen.

*Update*Speaking of MPR,if you haven’t seen David Brauer’s, of Minnpost, piece on MPR Executive Pay check it out, especially the comments.

While Secrets of the City has art The Affair
scandalOnline Protest Promotes Viewer Interaction

Citypages trys to help out Snoop, who was in town last night, with Advice for Snoop Dogg on getting high in the Twin Cities

My only advice to the Snoop Dogg would be don’t exhale, but I’ll bet he knows that already.

Since Crazy stays crazy

I’ll close it out with: Smart went crazy


Because there’s no important work in Washington D.C.

In myth and legend there’s a magical place East of Minnesota where lawyers go to bask in the glow of happy unicorns. This amazing fabled land is called D.C. and it’s a land of great wealth and everyday is sunny, also everyone gets a balloon when they leave their apartment in the morning and magical faeries called lobbyists sprinkle pixie dust on important government representatives. Oh, and even the most moral get their fill of hookers.

It’s a magical realm,but even with all this glory and happiness it can be a sad land. You see, there just aren’t enough real issues to be legislated. So the important government representatives have to occasionally shake off their hookers, wipe the pixie dust from their clothes, and have a congressional hearing.

The pioneerpress reports House subcommittee chairman: We’re here to help NFL, Vikings’ Kevin and Pat Williams resolve differences

‘It is in all of our best interests for these parties to reach an agreement on this enormously important matter.”

Isn’t that nice? Those important lawmakers want to help those big fat rich men get along with their big fat rich bosses.

Thank God, there isn’t a war going on, or an economy that is in shambles, or a kitten caught in a tree.

It’d be terrible if our esteemed Representatives were to get distracted from the important business of the NFL.



Should Minnesota Lower the Drinking Age?

Here’s a post with two polls that may or may not be related. I know my own opinions, but I’m really curious about what you think.



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