A restaurant and wine bar set to open in the Village of Mendota Heights next month will offer gourmet meals for dine-in or takeout, with an emphasis on local and organic food.

Mendoberri Cafe and Wine Bar is the brainchild of executive chef Robert Ulrich and his wife and business partner, Ann Ulrich. It will occupy the former Sage Wine Bar and Market space in the Village development at 750 Main St., near Hwy. 110 and Dodd Road.

Menu items at the cafe, opening Oct. 9, will include the likes of Viennese steak house salad, daily sandwiches warmed in a wood-stone oven, crab cakes (made with crab caught with sustainable fishing practices) and cedar-planked salmon. In addition to lunch and dinner menus, it will also offer "snack boards," appetizers that can be ordered at any time.

But what's on the menu is only part of the story. Robert Ulrich plans to buy whatever's fresh and appealing on a particular day and craft specials from those ingredients. The restaurant's website will be frequently updated to include what's new so takeout diners can browse the selection. In addition, customers will be able to customize their own meals from what's in the deli case.

Ulrich, a native of Vienna, Austria, started his career in Europe, then worked as executive chef at Basil's, the restaurant at the Marquette Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, from 1995 to 2002. The couple moved to the East Coast in 2002, where Robert Ulrich continued in the restaurant business. They moved back to Minnesota last year, settling in Inver Grove Heights.

The Ulriches have been working to get their restaurant up and running for the better part of a year, and Robert Ulrich said they're in the home stretch. "We were a little delayed, but we should have the place basically in order by the end of the month," he said.

He compared the style of the restaurant to a D'Amico and Sons with a fuller menu. It will have seating for about 65, but the takeout ordering will be a signature element.

"There's a lot of folks out there who don't have much time to cook anymore," he said. "We thought it would be fun to have a place that caters to those folks with healthy, organically grown produce."

CVS plans evolving

Plans for a CVS Pharmacy in Burnsville's Heart of the City are getting closer to reality, but there is still at least one sticking point that could prove problematic.

Modified designs for the building, on the site of a shuttered TCF Bank at Burnsville Parkway and Nicollet Avenue, eased some of the city's concerns about compliance with Heart of the City regulations on the number of parking spots and the distance of buildings from roads.

But the developer, Wellington Cos., is pushing for a driveway off Burnsville Parkway for westbound drivers to turn right into the parking lot. The city's engineering department is adamantly opposed because of the potential for accidents when cars slow down to turn. The speed limit on that section of the parkway is 40 miles per hour.

"This is a high-crash area as it is, just because of the curves and the higher speed," said public works director Bud Osmundson.

The company wants to start construction as soon as possible, and the city and developer will try to work it out.

Dylan Belden • 952-882-4938