I finally caught up with Tejas (3910 W. 50th St., Edina, www.tejasrestaurant.com) co-owner Wayne Kostroski, and he shared some information about the impending finale of his popular Tex-Mex restaurant.
"It's not a sad day -- it's just a different day," he said. "Twenty-two years in the restaurant business is a long time. If we continue, that's great, but it's OK if it's over. We had a good run. We're not going to sneak out and lock the doors in the middle of the night. We're closing publicly, and we want people to know that there's an end date."
Which, by the way, is Dec. 30th. Kostroski and co-owner Mark Haugen characterize the closing as a disagreement over a rent increase. "The terms don't reflect these economic times," said Kostroski. "I love 50th and France, but it's not a slam-dunk location."
Relocation is a possibility, but at the moment isn't a high priority. "We're looking at other locations, and there's potential, but if it does happen, we won't be reopening within a month," said Kostroski. Instead, he and Haugen are focusing on a major expansion of wholesale operations at their Franklin Street Bakery (1020 E. Franklin Av., Minneapolis, www.franklin streetbakery.com).
Side note: The bakery has been engaging in a good-natured Vikings-Packers baked-goods rivalry. When the Packers came to town last month, Kostroski said, the bakery sold nearly 500 Vikings cookies and just over 400 Packers cookies, with proceeds benefiting Second Harvest Heartland, the state's largest hunger relief agency. (That generosity is not a surprise, given Kostroski's longtime involvement with Taste of the NFL; the hunger-relief fundraiser, which he founded in 1992, has raised nearly $7 million.) "We're fueling the border battle," Kostroski said with a laugh. "It's fun to see the passion of the people buying these cookies. It's hilarious. We might do it for the Bears-Vikings game."
As for Tejas returning to the Minnesota State Fair, Kostroski gives a resounding "You bet."
Tejas opened in downtown Minneapolis in 1987 -- it was an anchor tenant, along with Goodfellow's, its upscale sibling, in the posh but doomed Conservatory project -- and relocated to 50th and France in Edina in 1994. A memorable high point of the restaurant's Edina era was when Kostroski successfully lobbied to change the city's restrictive liquor-license laws. "There was concern that there would be drunks roaming the streets, but guess what? People in Edina are still in bed at a reasonable hour," Kostroski said with a laugh.
One aspect about Tejas that Kostroski says he won't miss is the restaurant's frequently mistaken identity. "It's still viewed by the majority of the Twin Cities as a Mexican restaurant, and that just blows me away," he said. "At least I won't have to worry about that any longer."Around town
After 2 1/2 years of breakfast and lunch, the Good Day Cafe (5410 Wayzata Blvd., Golden Valley, 763-544-0205) is finally serving dinner, with comfort-food classics such as liver and onions, a bone-in pork chop with mashed potatoes, beef stroganoff, turkey pot pie and lasagna.
Minneapolis fans of the Tea House (88 Nathan Lane, Plymouth, and 1676 Suburban Av., St. Paul, www.ourteahouse.com) will be pleased to learn that the Chinese restaurant has a full-service Mill City outpost under construction in a former Bakers Square at 2425 University Av. SE. , a few blocks east of the University of Minnesota's new TCF Bank Stadium.