Biz briefs: A new dining experience for the south metro area

  • Article by: DEAN SPIROS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 3, 2010 - 5:13 PM

Porter Creek in Burnsville will feature California wine country decor and a menu to match. It's the latest offering from the owners of Doolittles.

With many restaurants experiencing a downturn the past two years because of the poor economy, John Sheehan, co-owner of the four Doolittles Woodfire Grills in Minnesota and North Dakota, acknowledges that opening another one is a gamble.

Yet, when Porter Creek Hardwood Grill opens in Burnsville early this month, it will be the company's most expensive property, built around a new concept.

"Inspire, create, explore" defines the company's approach to creating restaurants. The inspiration for Porter Creek comes from the wine country of northern California, both in menu and decor. Sheehan, the chief operating officer, and his business partner, Lynn Reimer, the chief financial officer, are confident they have created a dining experience unique to Minnesota.

The menu will feature meat and fish prepared on wood-burning grills and ovens. Plates will be prepared with corresponding side dishes, designed to create a blended taste experience. Sheehan said he worked with chef James Foley for a year to create the menu.

Sheehan describes the decor as both contemporary and rustic. The stacked stone walls, metal work and custom furniture aim for a handcrafted feel. A local artist painted murals in one of the dining areas that depict the rolling hills of wine country.

An expansive outdoor dining area brings the seating capacity to 376. Extensive landscaping adds to the beauty while helping create a buffer to traffic.

The restaurant is next to the newly remodeled Red Lobster on County Road 42, and Sheehan said prices will be similar at the two eateries. He added that Porter Creek's prices will be slightly higher than those at Doolittles.

Porter Creek will have a staff of 180.

Goodrich expansion

The Burnsville division of the Goodrich Corporation, a worldwide provider of systems and services to the aerospace and defense industries, is about to begin the first phase of an expansion that by 2015 will mean the addition of 200 jobs to the community.

The first of three phases will add 10,000 square feet to the wind tunnel the company uses for testing and 40,000 square feet to the fabrication area. Goodrich plans to break ground in early August and have the work completed by the summer of 2012.

Phase one will bring with it approximately 50 new jobs. Goodrich received financial benefits from the state and the city of Burnsville on the project. Expenditures on the project needed to be at least $80 million to receive the incentives.

A loss in Lakeville

Berry Plastics will close its factory in the Airlake Industrial Park in Lakeville in mid-August. The move is due to consolidation after Berry Plastics acquired a similar business that has newer production equipment. There are approximately 95 employees at the Lakeville facility.

Dean Spiros • 952-882-9203

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