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Posts about Minnesota newsmakers

From the Strib's archives: A trip back in time to Brookdale

Posted by: Rick Nelson Updated: March 13, 2015 - 7:49 AM

The Star Tribune is leaving its 95-year-old home at the end of the month, a nostalgia-triggering occasion that has sent me, on numerous occasions, into the basement clip morgue, a repository of files that reach back into the 1950s. I've been digging through material related to food and restaurants, but I've also peeked into other various facets of local history. 

The Dales, for example. My family lived in Brooklyn Center from 1959 to 1972, which of course meant that nearby Brookdale (pictured, above, in a 1962 file photo) was our shopping center of choice. I pulled the morgue's Brookdale-related materials, and along with dozens of tiny announcements on art displays, tax preparation clinics and kids' activites -- the bread and butter of a daily newspaper -- I stumbled upon a trove of articles illuminating the development of the now-demolished shopping center

A recent update to the newspaper's electronic photo archive also revealed a number of previously unseen (well, to me, anyway) images of "Mad Men"-esque Brookdale, and they've released a torrent of happy memories. Here's some of what I found.


Sneak peek: Brookdale was built in stages. The shopping center's about-to-open East Mall was featured in a July 27, 1966 spread in the Minneapolis Star. “Air-conditioned, and accented in oak. A 35-foot-high illuminated fountain, at rear center, gives illusion of perpetual rain.”

A Minneapolis Star story dated July 31, 1966 delved into further detail. "Second-stage construction has added 421,051 square feet of space to the shopping center at Hwy. 100 and Osseo Rd. [now Brooklyn Blvd.] in Brooklyn Center. Brookdale now covers 862,460 square feet, compared with 929,815 square feet at Southdale Center in Edina, Dayton Development's first shopping center.

"Included in the second stage are: A new Dayton Co. department store, covering 195,368 square feet. Some 20 news stores, shops and servinces in the newly built East Mall, bringing the center's total number of stores and services to 55. An enlargement of the J.C. Penney Co. store to 140,320 square feet, plus a 10,269-square-foot Penney's automotive service center. 

"Construction is scheduled to begin soon on a new Donaldson's department store. When it is completed next fall it will become Brookdale's fourth major department store, joining Dayton's, Penney's and a Sears, Roebuck & Co. store that opened in 1962."



Above: A close-up of the so-called "rain fountain" (1966) which fascinated me to no end when I was a kid.


Above: The East Mall's aquariums (1966), another Brookdale attraction that I remember with great affection.


Big D: The view into Dayton's from the East Mall (1966). Bear with me for a moment. In keeping with tradition, the store's budget department was called the Downstairs Store, so named because the department was located in the basement of Dayton's original store in downtown Minneapolis. However, at Brookdale, the Downstairs Store was located on the main level (the store had a smaller second level, for housewares and restaurants). My memory leads me to believe that, if you entered Dayton's Brookdale store from the mall (pictured, above), the Downstairs Store was to the right. A double-sided overhead sign hanging over the aisle delineated the Downstairs Store from the rest of the sales floor. One side said "Downstairs Store" and the other side read "Mall Level" (or something like that) and as a 12-year-old I found that endlessly amusing. I also have no idea why I remember that.




Above: Interiors of the new Dayton's store. Unfortunately, I couldn't unearth any images of the store's Brookdale Inn restaurant, or the Bandstand snack bar.


Movers and shakers: "At the opening of Dayton's new Brookdale store (Minneapolis Star, Aug. 2, 1966) are from left: Kenneth Dayton, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of Dayton's; Douglas Dayton, president of Target; and Donald Dayton, chairman of the board of the Dayton Co." The three brothers' grandfather, George Draper Dayton, founded the store in downtown Minneapolis in 1902. Donald Dayton died in 1989, Kenneth Dayton died in 2003 and Douglas Dayton died in 2013. Their nephew is Gov. Mark Dayton.


Above: Bachman's Brookdale store, in the center's East Mall, two days before its 1966 opening.





The last big store: When Donaldson's opened in September 1967, the Minneapolis Star returned to Brookdale and published these four images (above). "When Donaldson's opens its new store in Brookdale Shopping Center, Monday, the center will be the first major enclosed mall shopping center to have four major department stores under one roof (Sept. 27, 1967). Donaldson's will join Dayton's, Penney's and Sears in the Brookdale complex. The new store will have a two-level 160,498 square foot space located on the north side of Brookdale Center. With the advent of Donaldson's the center will employ more than 3,000 with parking accommodations for 5,200 cars."


Carter-era dining: The East Mall's distinctive "rain fountain" disappeared in 1977 and was replaced by Olives East restaurant, "an airy wooden gazebo that has done well and has won national design awards," reported the Minneapolis Star on March 13, 1977. A Brookdale spokeswoman said the restaurant "has broken up the 'cattle run' look of the mall, with the result that the smaller stores between Donaldson's and Dayton's are doing better."

Midcentury modern: “Red Owl is going octagonal with two stores (Dec. 14, 1966). Model watchers are president James Watson and James E. Gottlieb, construction director. Red Owl Stores, Inc. plans to build two modern supermarkets at a combined cost of $1.5 million, Watson announced today. One of the octagonal buildings is already under construction at Brookdale. The other building will replace an existing Red Owl store at Southdale.” The Brookdale store, located to the southwest of the shopping center, opened in October 1967, and it replaced a store inside the mall. My father worked for Red Owl, and until we moved to Burnsville in 1972, a Friday night visit to this well-appointed store was my parents' weekly grocery shopping ritual. Both locations were later converted to Red Owl Country Stores (a rival to Cub Foods) and were eventually demolished. Trivia note: Watson’s daughter Lucia Watson would go on to open Lucia’s Restaurant in 1985; she sold her Uptown landmark last December.



Early eatertainery: An occasional clip reveals a bit of Brookdale-related restaurant news. ‪On Jan. 27, 1969, the Minneapolis Star published plans for the first, yes, Jolly Green Giant Restaurant. "It is intended for the business lunch and family dinner trade, according to company officials. This restaurant is scheduled to open at the Brookdale shopping Center in Brooklyn Center in July. A second Giant is planned for a later opening in Bloomington." The restaurant was a huge favorite of my pre-teen self, in part because the lobby featured a statue of the JGG. Or was it a gigantic JGG chair? I'm fuzzy on that detail. Anyway, the restaurant didn't last long. According to a January 1973 clip, it was replaced by Steak & Stein.

Another Nelson family favorite, Marc's Big Boy, opened its first Minnesota outlet near Brookdale (Dec. 5, 1968). Company president Ben D. Marcus said it was the first of 20 planned franchises in the state over the next five years. Big Boy Restaurants of America operated 480 units around the country at the time, and the chain was a subsidiary of Marriott Corp.

Yet another yellowed clip reminded me of the current discussion regarding Sunday liquor sales: In 1968, Dayton’s and Donaldson’s opened their stores at Brookdale and Southdale on Sunday for the first time. “The decision did not change the positions of J.C. Penney, Sears and Power’s, which had announced earlier that they would not do business on Sunday," reported the Minneapolis Star on March 20, 1968. "Today’s announcement followed a ruling Tuesday by the Minnesota Supreme Court, which ruled that a Sunday closing law by the 1967 legislature was unconstitutional. A spokesman for J.C. Penney repeated a national policy prohibiting its stores from operations on the Sabbath." Three days later, Woolworth’s announced it would open its Brookdale and Southdale stores on Sunday.

Get cooking. Or maybe not. Of course, the files contain recipes. Since its inception in 1969 and for years thereafter, a longstanding Taste feature was Restaurant Requests. Readers would call upon the newspaper to act as an intermediary and publish home-cooking versions of popular restaurant recipes. 

On Sept. 21, 1977, Mrs. Patrick Bayless of Anoka inquired after the recipe for "Poulet Elegante Crepes, as served at Dayton’s Brookdale Restaurant." The reply came from Linda Lokkesmoe of Dayton’s and, well, it’s a doozy:

“For sauce, add canned mushroom stems and pieces to Stouffers’ frozen, creamed chicken; heat. Place 2 1/2 oz. of heated sauce in each crepe, fold edges toward center and overlap. Place in microwave oven for a few seconds, until bubbly. Remove and top with 1 tablespoon of sauce; garnish with parsley.”

Judy Harding of St. Francis requested the recipes for the punch and the cranberry salad served at Dayton’s Buffet Room in Brookdale. Becky Longabaugh of Dayton’s replied, and her more formal response (again, yikes) was published on April 4, 1973.


Makes 64 (4-oz) servings.

1 gallon lemonade

2 (46-oz.) cans pineapple juice

3 (12-oz.) cans Diet 7-Up

1 tbsp. lemon juice

Red food coloring

Directions: Blend ingredients.


2 (1-lb.) pkg. fresh cranberries

2 c. sugar

1 (10-oz.) pkg. miniature marshmallows

3 qt. whipped cream (1 1/2 qt. whipping cream)

Directions: Chop cranberries; add sugar, mix and let stand 1/2 hour. Add marshmallows and cream, then put in a mold. Refrigerate before serving.

Where are all the women?

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: March 4, 2015 - 5:11 PM

The photograph of 15 male chefs featured on the cover of this month's Mpls.St. Paul magazine (above) has local female chefs and restaurateurs angry. Food-and-dining senior editor Stephanie March offered the reasoning in a subsequent blog post

The public response from 22 women, crafted in reaction to this month's cover of MSP magazine, is as follows:  

“Where are all the women?” We Are All Right Here!

As a group of female chefs and restaurateurs, we’re moved to respond collectively.

We’re outraged at the viewpoint taken by the cover and subsequent editorial comments on the March issue of Mpls St. Paul Magazine depicting the best chefs of the Twin Cities as all male. It’s a false and embarrassing representation of our diverse food community.

Did anybody notice that your mothers, wives and sisters weren’t in the room?

As a young female grocery store clerk remarked when handing one of us the issue—“Where are all the women?”

The media, as our society’s most influential institution, has a duty to advocate against gender and racial inequalities. As Alice Waters pointed out in 2013, “I think it’s a matter of how we go about the reviewing of our restaurants. Is it really about 3-star places and expensive eccentric cuisine? The restaurants that are most celebrated are never the ones that are the simple places.”

We take this opportunity to have a lasting impact by engaging in ongoing conversation on this topic in our community.

We pledge to hold the media accountable.

We’re committed to fostering the development of our diverse and talented young food industry workers for the next generation. It takes a village.

These, and many other women and men contributed to this conversation and the ideas expressed in this letter:

Lisa Carlson

Brenda Langton

Kim Bartmann

Nettie Colon

Hannah Benti

Nan Bailly

Heather Kim

Carrie L. Summer

Maren Mattson

Taya Kaufenberg

Heather Kim

Sue Zelickson

Beth Fisher

Tracy Singleton

Liz Benser 

Dana Kevlahan

Stephanie Worums 

Sarah Masters

Sylvia Izabella

Linda Quinn

Tamara Brown

Soile Anderson

Tammy Wong

Cedar Summit Farm ending dairy production

Posted by: Rick Nelson Updated: January 11, 2015 - 8:44 AM

Sad news out of Cedar Summit Farm: As of Friday, the Minar family is ceasing dairy production.

When Dave and Florence Minar and their family converted their New Prague, Minn., to a farmstead dairy, they brought a dairy case revolution to the Twin Cities, returning cream-top milk from grass-fed cows – sold in returnable glass bottles – to nearly 75 supermarkets, natural foods coops and other retail outlets.

The farm’s thick, pearly cream is a thing of wonder (it’s the cream of choice for countless Twin Cities chefs); ditto the line of pourable yogurts. (That's the farm's creamery, with co-owner Florence Minar, above, in a 2002 Star Tribune file photo).

There's one ray of hope: The family said that it hopes that its products "will return to the marketplace again in the near future."

Here’s the announcement, posted on the farm’s website:

It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that Cedar Summit Farm will cease production of our dairy products on Friday, January 16, 2015. Our farm store will continue operation through January 31, 2015, though we may run out of milk earlier. We will accept bottle returns through the end of January at our farm store, and through February 6, 2015 at the coops and natural food stores where our product is sold.

Thank you for your continued support of our family farm. It has been an honor to provide you with our 100% grass-fed, organic meat and dairy products for nearly 13 years. It would not have been possible for us to succeed without your unwavering support for local, sustainable and organic food.

We will continue to sell our beef halves and quarters. We hope that Cedar Summit Farm dairy products will return to the marketplace again in the near future.

Most sincerely,

The Dave and Florence Minar Family

First glimpse at "The Victory Garden's Edible Feast"

Posted by: Rick Nelson Updated: November 17, 2014 - 3:12 PM

Minneapolitans and two-time James Beard award-winning filmmakers Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine of the Perennial Plate are back in the news, this time with a preview of their soon-to-debut effort on PBS.

It's a reboot of the network's popular and groundbreaking "The Victory Garden" series, this time seen through the couple's storytelling prism, with an assist by the national network of Edible magazines.

TPT hasn't announced when it's running the show (the series launches, network-wide, in December), but look for an upcoming announcement on its website.

Catch the preview here:

The Victory Garden's Edible Feast TRAILER from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo.

Charlie Awards winners announced

Posted by: Rick Nelson Updated: November 18, 2014 - 1:56 PM

Winners of the fourth-annual Charlie Awards were announced Sunday afternoon at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis. The awards celebrate excellence in the Twin Cities' food and drink scene. 

Newcomer Brasserie Zentral – from Meritage owners Russell and Desta Klein – was named Outstanding Restaurant.

Outstanding Chef honors went to Alex Roberts of Restaurant Alma and Brasa.

Thomas Boemer, chef/co-owner of Corner Table, was handed the award for Emerging Food Professional, which salutes chefs with less than five years experience. The restaurant, which moved to a new home earlier this year, was also handed the Outstanding Service award.

Restaurateur Kim Bartmann was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award. The award caps a busy year for Bartmann. Since January, the owner of Bryant-Lake Bowl, Barbette, Red Stag Supperclub, Gigi’s Cafe, Pat’s Tap and Bread & Pickle, launched two restaurants – Tiny Diner and the Third Bird – and had a hand in the birth of a third, Kyatchi.

The award for Outstanding Pastry Chef went to John Kraus of Patisserie 46.

Vincent Francoual, chef/owner of Vincent, was named the year’s Community Hero.

Jesse Held of Borough, Parlour and Coup d’etat was named Outstanding Bartender. Coup d’etat also came up a winner in the Outstanding Restaurant Design category. The Uptown restaurant, which opened in January, was designed by ESG Architects of Minneapolis. 

Butcher & the Boar won Outstanding Beverage Program Honors, the West Side IPA from Harriet Brewing was awarded Outstanding Local Craft Brew.

Two awards were determined by an open-to-the-public online poll (one that garnered 10,000 votes). The Moral Omnivore was named Outstanding Food Truck. The online poll also selected nominees for Outstanding Food Item, and a panel of expert judges chose the winner from six finalists. That award went to the St. Paul Grill and its the "Grill Charlie’s,” a beef tenderloin sandwich with caramelized onions and horseradish mayonnaise.

Winners are selected from a voting pool of 175 independently owned Twin Cities food-and-drink establishments.

The awards are organized by Ivey Awards founder Scott Mayer and longtime Twin Cities food advocate Sue Zelickson, and are named for Charlie’s Cafe Exceptionale (pictured, above, in a 1960 Star Tribune file photo), the fabled downtown Minneapolis restaurant that closed on July 21, 1982, after a 49-year run.


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