While other metro-area drive-ins have blossomed during this early spring, one has remained quiet: the Galaxy Drive In (3712 Quebec Av. S., St. Louis Park).
"We're putting a pause on the Galaxy," said owner Steve Schussler. In other words, the 65-year-old property is up for sale.
Local diners know Schussler as the father of the Rainforest Cafe, but he's also the force behind a long list of high-profile restaurants concepts nationwide.
The Galaxy is a pet project that started when Schussler began officing across the street from the former Wagner's. "I started looking out the window and thinking, 'Boy, what I would do with that,' " he said in 2009.
One flashy makeover later, and the place was drawing a bumper-to-bumper crowd ("we were doing $12,000, $13,000 a day," said Schussler). During the intervening six years, a series of operators came and went, and over time the Galaxy wasn't living up to Schussler's expectations.
"There has got to be somebody out there who can do it better than I can," he said. "It should continue."
Meanwhile, Schussler is accumulating frequent-flier miles. On June 16, he's launching an iteration of the Boathouse — his high-end, Lake Minnetonka-inspired concept at Disney Springs in Orlando, Fla. — at the new $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney.
By the way, those other drive-ins? They include the Dari-Ette Drive-In (1440 E. Minnehaha Av., St. Paul, 651-776-3470), Minnetonka Drive-In (4658 Shoreline Dr., Spring Park, minnetonkadrivein.com), Peppermint Twist (115 Babcock Blvd., Delano, thepepperminttwist.com), Wagner's Drive-In Restaurant (7000 W. Broadway, Brooklyn Park, wagnersdrivein.com) and the Drive-In (572 Bench St., Taylors Falls, Minn., 651-465-7831).
Take advantage, as the weekend weather forecast is pretty much sunny and drive-in.
Setting sparks in La Crosse
The 2 ½-hour drive between the Twin Cities and La Crosse, Wis., is destined to become a familiar one for fans of longtime D'Amico & Partners executive chef Jay Sparks.
He and girlfriend Joan Ferris — another influential D'Amico veteran — are launching Lovechild (300 3rd St. S., La Crosse) in that city's fast-growing downtown.
"It's going to be an eclectic mix and very personal melding of all the things we love," said Ferris, a La Crosse native.
The 100-seat restaurant is moving into the Timbers, a historic red brick beauty with high ceilings and enormous windows. The first-floor space was previously occupied by Hooters and, before that, Esteban's.
"La Crosse is blowing up with major projects all over the city, and we were lucky to have found such a great space," said Ferris. "We'll be opening early fall and couldn't be more excited."
Closed doors in Uptown
Well, that was quick. Scena Tavern (2943 Girard Av. S., Mpls.), which opened in early December, has gone dark.
"We are closed for rebranding and remodeling," reads a sign on the door. "Thank you for your patience during this transition."
Chef Erik Anderson worked as a menu consultant for the Italian restaurant, and he and his fiancée, Jamie Malone, had been cooking in the kitchen, a considerable culinary draw for the vast Uptowner.
The couple's long-awaited Brut (428 Washington Av. N., Mpls.) is set to open around September.
Read full reviews and other restaurant news at startribune.com/dining.