There is sad news and good news about Murray's and Jax Café.
Bill Kozlak, who operated Jax for a lot of years, died last month.
So did Pat Murray, who always greeted us at Murray's superb steak house.
The good news is that they have families involved, very involved, so both dining spots will go onward and upward and that is just dandy.
Especially good is the news that Murray's, a downtown fixture for years, is being redesigned a bit and updated. The guy in charge is David Shea of Shea Inc., who always seems to know what he is doing.
For the record, it will be new with old or antique touches. Those table lights we once used to signal our server are no more and they won't be back -- although I wouldn't mind.
The big surprise is that two plaques that designated tables for my friend, Sidney -- that's Sid Hartman, crackerjack sports columnist --and me will be preserved. Shea declared them part of Murray's history, so that is OK with me. Thank you for caring.
Murray's reopens later this month. See you there for that famous Angel pie.
As for Jax, it will boom along with its garden café, which is open into October. Go and enjoy.
On the subject of local restaurants, may I report that one of them is expanding -- all the way to the West Coast.
Jason McLean will open the Loring Café in the popular Uptown neighborhood of Oakland, just across the bay from San Francisco.
How do I know? I still read the newspapers and it was reported in the San Francisco sheet that McLean, who offers "nicely done diner favorites'' in Minneapolis will do the same in Oakland.
When does he open?
"Hard to say," McLean told the San Francisco paper. "But if it goes smooth as Wisconsin butter, latter September. If an icy zephyr freezes our progress, could be October.''
Thank you. Mr. McLean.
As long as we are putting stars in the sidewalk on downtown Hennepin Avenue, please consider Roxy.
And who might that be, you ask? When I mentioned him before I only knew that he had grown up in Stillwater and managed a theater on downtown Hennepin before heading East. Now I have the whole story, thanks to Ross Melnick's new book. It's titled "American Showman -- Samuel 'Roxy' Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry.''
It is a big book, but it tells a big story. Roxy took on our Lyric Theater and a couple of others during the rise of the silent screen and succeeded wonderfully. He was lured away to more cities and finally to New York. There, he scored with a celebrity-filled radio show on a national network and, eventually, became the man in charge of the wondrous Radio City Music Hall.
Yes, he was in charge of the dancing Rockettes, who were originally called the "Roxyettes.''
His career placed him as second only to Florenz Ziegfeld in American show business history. And it all began in Minnesota,
Give him a star. Soon!
A couple of questions:
• On April 15 this year a headline declared that "City looks to move Kmart, restore Nicollet." So how are things going ... fast and faster?
• Has anybody put a bid on the Suburban World Theater in Uptown? The price was put at $899,000. If I could afford it, I would buy it.
Meanwhile, my other favorite theater, the Uptown, reopens this month.
Barbara Flanagan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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