Doin’ Time at Martini Blu

Friday night, I was roped into a Happy Hour over at Martini Blu. The ‘Blu, as we call it around the office, is a fave spot for my coworkers to haunt; this means I’m there more often than I’d like. The ‘Blu has a very decent selection of vodka, gin, beer and wine and I’ve never had a bad drink there. I’ve enjoyed their calamari and sushi, which were both prepared with much care. Their accompanying tartar and soy-based sauces are phenomenal. You can read a more intelligent 2003 review of The ‘Blu’s food here. As for the decor, it’s mui trendy, dimly lit, and decadently encased in rich hardwoods. They also sport large flat-screened TV’s all over, usually playing random scenes from some soft-core porn flick. This always makes for fun conversation with red-faced coworkers who caught a glimpse of something they, uh, didn’t mean to. Now you know why we call it The ‘Blu: it’s a take on The ‘Vu, as in Deja.

What was unique about this visit? Well, first, The ‘Blu was putting together a private party with white linens and balloons on the tables. We inquired and were told it was a party for the Life Time Fitness Triathletes. Second, the bar started to fill up with an interesting crowd: supermodel types with their long willowy figures sashaying across the hardwood floors to kiss each other. My coworkers and I watched in awe as each new god or goddess made their entrance. Third (and this was the best), Bahram Akradi showed up and double-cheek-kissed every sexy young thang in the party. If you aren’t familiar with the name, he’s at least part-owner/operator of The ‘Blu and one of the most colorful businessmen Minnesota has seen in recent times. With his reputation, I was just waiting for him to beat someone up…

On the plus side, if you read the Life Time Fitness website, you’ll find that he built the Eden Prairie-based business from scratch in the early 90’s. Today, it boasts $390 mil in annual sales and is publicly trading at over $40/share. There are now 39 Life Time Fitness locations in 9 states. Yeah, The ‘Blu is like a side-project for this guy. He clearly has a mind for business like most of us could only dream of. To boot, Akradi falls into the “beautiful people” category and resembles an Antonio Banderas type. Beautiful and rich? I want to hate him…but I have a profound respect for his professional accomplishments. So conflicted!

In the minus column, Akradi is apparently a huge jerk. He seems to suffer from “Rich Man’s Syndrome,” where he feels he can do as he pleases with little regard for others, nonetheless the law. You can read all about that here. Some friends of mine encountered him a few years ago at The ‘Blu. After asking a server if they could turn down the music (which was ear-busting loud in the restaurant area), Akradi approached them and told them if they didn’t like it, he’d pay for their food and they could “simply leave and never come back.” Hrm, not much of a customer service nut I guess. At least he did pay for their food in the end.

Alas, he didn’t get crazy with anybody that I saw on Friday. Too bad, I had my camera on me and everything.

6 Comments so far

  1. Taylor (unregistered) on July 16th, 2006 @ 10:07 am

    Did the n00bie double post?

  2. Heather K (unregistered) on July 16th, 2006 @ 10:10 am

    Sure did! Fixed it tho;)

  3. Andy (unregistered) on July 16th, 2006 @ 1:57 pm

    I’ve been to The Blu a few times. I’ve always had good experiences. I had no idea about it’s connection to Life Time. Fascinating! Thanks for the post!

  4. Erica (unregistered) on July 16th, 2006 @ 8:55 pm

    I’ve never been. Now I kind of want to go, except that I don’t want to give the asshole guy my money. I didn’t know about the LifeTime Fitness connection, either. I heard the triathlon got cut a little short because the heat was so bad.

    The ‘Blu. Heh.

  5. noodleman (unregistered) on July 17th, 2006 @ 4:17 pm

    You must’ve missed the news about Akardi a month ago. He’s been charged with “road rage” for an incident involving an 18-year-old student in the parking lot of the Minnetonka High School last February. And more than being part-owner of Martini Blu, he’s the founder/CEO of LifeTime Fitness itself.

  6. Heather (unregistered) on July 17th, 2006 @ 4:53 pm

    I think you might’ve missed the bottom half of my post:)

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