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May 13, 2012 12:55 PM


The "Burch" concept as described in the Star Tribune strikes me as fatally flawed on several fronts. There is no parking so they'll have to valet. That's fine for the "high end" steakhouse part, but not for the neighborhood bar in the basement. This is my neighborhood. I won't walk a few blocks to sit in the basement, and I won't valet for same either.

Strikes me there's a huge need for a seriously good bar with reasonably priced eats on the main level. Both the bars at Rye and The Lowry have terrible vibes and mediocre chow.

So, there's huge possibility, but not with the premises as we know them.

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  1. The link above is incorrect.

    Interested to see the "prime" portioning and pricing.

    1. I don't see parking as being THAT big of a deal. There is street parking on the side streets behind the building and there are usually spots available. When I go to Lowry Hill for a beer run (I live by Hum's but their selection sucks) I never have had to park more than a block away, and that's typically during prime time on the weekends.

      The basement bar thing doesn't really matter to me. I guess I don't have a problem with walking down a flight of stairs to catch a drink, but then again I don't mind drinking at Lyle's either, and they don't have any windows at all. Maybe I should get tested for light allergies? Heh.

      I wonder what the pricing will be like? If they're talking about getting the best prime beef available in the US I assume they will price it accordingly, which unfortunately will be out of my price range.

      You are correct though, there is a definite need for a great bar with solid food and a non-sucky clientele. Unfortunately it's like there is a city ordinance preventing one place from hitting all three of those requirements.

      1. I find it incredibly odd that hardly anyone is posting in this thread about this topic.


        9 Replies
        1. re: SarahInMinneapolis

          When the place is actually open and people have a chance to try the food & drink on offer, there might be something to say.

          1. re: KTFoley

            That's fair.

            I guess my point was I hate to watch people spend big money on a concept that seems doomed. Maybe I'm super sensitive to this because for a neighborhood (Lowry Hill) that stretches up to Uptown, I find it shocking that no one has made anything work. The Lowry: Fail. Rye: Fail. Redo of Figlio: Fail.

            My friends in Nordeast have so many better options.

            But at least we have Rinata!

            1. re: SarahInMinneapolis

              I'll bite and play devil's advocate. 1) I'm not sure I'd call the Lowry a Fail. For what it is (and personally, I think it shoots appropriately low), it hits its mark. Low. No worries there.

              2) Rye - yup, sounds like it didn't do well. Ditto with with the redo of Figlio.

              3) Yet the same Executive Consultant of the new Figlio hit Masu with a home run.

              4) Your freinds in the the NE have so many better options - like what? Butcher Block and Masu? Sure. To be honest, I hesitate to call those the NE, at least as far as NE ethos goes. They're just across the river. The only decent restaurant that is solidly in the NE is the NE Social Club, which serves very good food. But the best that the NE has doesn't hold a candle to Uptown's best, Lucias.

              Just my opinion.

              1. re: foreverhungry

                I tend to agree with foreverhungry. If we're talking about the 11-block stretch of Hennepin from Franklin to Lake - you're right. There's not much there besides Rinata and Namaste. But if you go just a little beyond those narrow confines, you find places like Lucia's and Barbette. And I think that Kinsen, Tum Rup Thai and Sushi Tango can be thrown into the mix of decent restaurants within a block of Hennepin. If you go a little further you can also include Heidi's.

                I'm looking forward to seeing what Stuart Woodman is going to do with his new place.

                The Lowry seems OK if you know what it is going in. (I've only had breakfast there, but from what I can tell, if you're looking for a decent meal and drink that's a buck or two overpriced it's fine.)

                As to your original post, I think that parking will be no worse than the parking for Heidi's. And I don't have the same feelings about a basement room that you do. I wouldn't valet park for it, but I'd walk or ride a bike up.

                I don't worry too much about either Issac Becker or Ryan Burnet's ability to scout out locations for restaurants. I'm not saying that they have the Midas touch, but assume that they have the knowhow to make a reasonable determination of how well a space will work for a restaurant.

                Since I live in the area I join you in hoping that this venture works out.

          2. re: SarahInMinneapolis

            Bob and KTFoley covered it.

            I am excited about it because the names behind it have the intellectual, culinary and financial capital to make something great even in a seemingly-less-than-ideal location. The Strip Club, Picolo, Tilia, Travail/Victory 44, and I'm sure others I'm mentally glossing over don't necessarily make any sense on paper (for various reasons), but work.

            But, as KT points out, nobody will really know until the food hits the plate. It could crash and burn. You never know.

            1. re: MSPD

              A friend who lives near Burch told me that, other than a house being torn down for parking, work appears to have stopped. Anyone know what's happening here?

              1. re: ChillyDog

                I drive by the building almost daily and I don't think that's true at all. They were just putting windows into the first floor of the building (where the restaurant will be) last week. In addition, they had Colfax closed for a day or so in the 10 days so that cranes could have access to the building. I've not been in the building, but my impression is that they took the building down to the frame and and are completely re-working it. They've also installed new windows on the 2nd and 3rd floors as well.

                1. re: ChillyDog

                  I'd say that it appears to be moving along still. They have totally gutted the interior, and replaced all of the windows on the upper two floors of the building. Currently working on the main-level windows (the much larger ones). Can't say much about the interior work, as there are large wooden planks blocking view inside.

            2. I guess I don't understand the difficulty with a bar in the basement.

              Honey is a good bar in a basement. Marvel Bar is in a basement (and is arguably the best bar in town), The lounge at LBV may have enormous windows, but they are completely covered, so I'm unsure how that is all that different from a basement...unless you hate stairs, I don't get it.

              The lack of parking is what makes it a neighborhood bar. If you live too far to walk, you are ostensibly not in the same neighborhood...or perhaps hate walking, who knows. Either way the lack of parking does for the concept what I imagine most neighborhood places have going for them: A limited but discerning group of locals that are not hampered by access issues. My favorite bar in this vein is Ely's.

              I'll reserve all judgement until it opens and I go there however.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Foureyes137

                "If you live too far to walk, you are ostensibly not in the same neighborhood"

                This is not a tenable definition of a neighborhood bar.

                I live in Minneapolis. Unless you consider Al Vento a bar, my closest bar destination is Busters on 28th, which is 2.8 miles away. Yes, it's walkable - but then anything is walkable, really.

                If "walkable" is less than a 15 minute walk, then my neighborhood doesn't have a neighborhood bar. But I think most folks here would consider Busters as a neighborhood bar.

                If one lives in downtown MPLS, or Uptown, or the NE, then there's a bar within 0.25 miles. In those cases, a bar 1 mile from home isn't a neighborhood bar. Butcher and the Boar isn't a neighborhood bar to those at Franklin and Lyndale - about 1 mile away.

                A neighborhood bar has much more to do than distance and parking. Growing up, my neighborhood bar was 2 towns and a 10 minute drive away, because my town didn't have a bar. Yet parking in front of the bar was plentiful. Then again, that was North Jersey.

                1. re: foreverhungry

                  They don't have these distance problems in St. Paul, do they? But on a more serious note, it sounds like your Bowling Alley might qualify as a neighborhood bar if everything goes ahead with Town Hall Brewing.

                  1. re: dalewest

                    Are you talking about the bowling alley next to Oxendale's? Is Town Hall Brewing buying that? It's been for sale for a while, but I haven't heard anything about it.

                    1. re: foreverhungry

                      The Skylane Blowing just down the street form Al Vento in the Nokomis neighborhood.

                      1. re: dalewest

                        Ah, I found the Heavy Table post. Yes, exciting stuff. That will definitely be the neighborhood bar.