Biz buzz: New food trucks have unique features

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May 18, 2012 by Sarah M

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// By Jeremy Zoss & Michelle Bruch

DOWNTOWN CORE — With the ongoing expansion of food trucks, it can be tough for an individual street food vendor to stand out in the crowd. New trucks A Cupcake Social and The Harvest Grill each have unique features that should help them stand out in a crowd.

A Cupcake Social is a cupcake truck that grew out of an online catering business. “We wanted to expand and were thinking about a storefront,” said A Cupcake Social’s Jess Stone. “We decided that with the overhead that this would be a better way to go.” The truck naturally offers a rotating menu of cupcakes as well as coffee and ice cream and cupcake sundaes.

“Red velvet is the big hit around here,” said Stone.

A Cupcake Social is not the first cupcake truck downtown, but it is the first that bakes onboard the truck itself for maximum freshness. But that isn’t the business’ most unique selling point — they will bring the food to you. Customers can order their cupcakes from the truck and they will be delivered anywhere downtown via bicycle.

Jason Hines’ Harvest Grill food truck has a completely different unique selling point. “We’d come out here every day and we noticed that there wasn’t much healthy food,” said Hines.

Owner of several restaurants throughout the Twin Cities and a catering company, Hines decided to partner with the Bridgewood Café in Northeast to launch the first downtown food truck focused on healthy, locally sourced food.

“Every food item we sell is made from Minnesota products,” said Hines. “Our tortillas come from St. Paul, our blue cheese comes from Fairbault.

The Harvest Grill offers a menu of low-calorie wraps as well as sandwiches. When the weather turns cold, Hines plans to stay on the street with hot local foods like chicken wild rice soup.

“Food trucks are fun for the people of Minneapolis,” said Hines. “We’re trying to do something healthy and so far it’s going really well.”

Taste Twin Cities launches beer and wine tours

Taste Twin Cities Food and Drink Tours offers several walking tours that highlight local cuisine, and now the company is offering opportunities to get off your feet and enjoy a nice drink. The tour company now offers van tours of both local breweries and wineries.

“The breweries are kind of the new thing happening here in the Twin Cities, so I thought it would be perfect to start a tour with a couple of the breweries,” said Taste Twin Cities president Rebecca Pfeiffer.

The brewery bus tour runs from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays through August and stops at the Harriet, Flat Earth and Lift Bridge breweries. For $65 a person, the tour includes private tours of each brewery, beer samples and a souvenir glass. The tour’s downtown pickup location is at the Hilton, 1001 Marquette Ave.

Pfeiffer said that more breweries will likely be added to the tour as they finish construction.

Taste Twin Cities also now offers two separate winery tours, the Countryside tour and the River Road tour. Both tours last five to six hours and visit three wineries. Both tours are offered on Saturdays through October and cost $75 per person.

Advance tickets are required for all three tours. For more information, visit tastetwincities.com.

Style Architects sets up shop in North Loop

NORTH LOOP — Creative lifestyle services company Style-Architects has set up its first office space at 219 2nd St. NE, Suite 400.

The two-year-old company previously operated out of a virtual office, and president and creative director Christina Holm-Sandok said her company is excited to be a part of the creative and energetic North Loop neighborhood.

Style-Architects started as a PR and branding company and later expanded into event planning at the request of its clients, which later evolved further into wedding planning. The company also offers wardrobe and fashion styling and other services to help companies and individuals define their brand identities.

“We’re finding that there’s this macro trend of people trying to brand themselves like companies,” said Holm Sandok. “With social media being so big now, everyone really needs to have their own mini brand presence on Facebook and twitter.”

Style-Architects will hold an open house for its new office on Saturday, June 2 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Indeed Brewery reveals first beers

LOGAN PARK — Upcoming Northeast-based Indeed Brewery has revealed the first beers it will offer to the public when it opens this summer: Day Tripper Pale Ale and Midnight Ryder Black Ale.

Both beers promise to be hop-forward and were developed by Indeed’s head brewer Josh Bischoff. The Indeed Brewery team plan to add more year-round and seasonal beers to its lineup as the brewery grows.

“We’ve been test brewing both formulas on a 10-gallon brewing system in my garage over the past year, tweaking the recipes, and, well, drinking a fair amount of homebrew as a result,” said Indeed Brewery co-founder Tom Whisenand. “While we are confident in the styles of beer we have selected as our initial flagships, we are even more confident in the brewing processes and techniques that Josh will be implementing in the brewery. You can have the greatest homebrew recipe in the world but it takes some serious know-how and experience to produce consistent, quality craft beer on a large scale.”

Whisenand said progress on the brewery at the Solar Arts Building, 711 15th Ave. NE, has been steady and should be open to the public in July.

Devil’s Advocate now open

DOWNTOWN CORE — Devil’s Advocate, the bar envisioned as a neighborhood hangout for downtown residents, is now open for lunch and dinner. The business at 89 10th St. S. opened for happy hour and dinner service on May 7 and for lunch a week later.

Devil’s Advocate offers a wide variety of beer and wine, with over 40 tap lines and an extensive wine line. The menu is something unique in downtown as it focuses on a single style of food: meatballs. Diners can choose from several styles of meatball, pair them with different sauces and sides. Owner Erik Forsberg said the concept of the menu was to offer quality dining at affordable prices.

Currently, only the bar section of the restaurant is open. A dining room in the back half of the building will open with an expanded menu in the coming months.

New yoga studio opens in NE

EAST BANK — Northeast’s newest yoga studio allows patrons to pay whatever they want, and it offers live music to boot.

Yoga Sol founder Flor Trevino recently moved here from Austin, Texas. She “fell in love” with yoga at an Austin-based studio that was supported entirely through donations. She said the donation-based model allows yoga to be more accessible to everyone. Her studio at 21 5th St. NE suggests a donation of $10.

“Minneapolis is such a progressive city; I was surprised they didn’t have one,” Trevino said. “There is a void here for that.”

Trevino previously founded a music management company with her fiancée. She spent a year touring the country, working to help musicians bring their art to market. While on the road 24 days out of each month, Trevino used yoga to help her feel limber and keep her grounded.

Trevino’s music background might come in handy as she books musicians to play some of the classes.

“Local musicians will help guide the class with sound,” she said. “It’s a really neat experience.”

For more information, visit yoga-sol.com

Noted

While food trucks have been appearing at the Fulton brewery since the taproom opened, street food vendors have been informed that they will not be allowed at the site for the time being. The brewery, located at 414 6th Ave. N, is outside the designated downtown food truck area. A representative from the city said Mayor R.T. Rybak is looking to expand the food truck zone to include the brewery.

EMI Audio, the audio rental and retail business that made its home on Johnson St. NE, has relocated to Robbinsdale.

Butcher & The Boar’s patio is now open at 11th & Hennepin. The massive outdoor space features tables made from an old tree that was cut down during its construction and a full bar, among other amenities.

Got a buzz tip? Email Jeremy Zoss at jzoss@mnpubs.com.

Correction

In the previous issue, The Journal incorrectly reported that new restaurant Tangiers Eatery and Lounge would move into the Alliance Francais space at 113 1st St. N. Tangiers Eatery will occupy the space at 116 1st Ave N. Alliance Francais has no plans to relocate. The Journal regrets the error.

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