Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner was in the mood to socialize, not talk football, Tuesday at the VIP grand opening of Ike’s in Bloomington.

Long before coming here, Turner was one of my all-time NFL favorites. I was surprised to see him out and about at a packed non-Vikings event. I wanted Turner to give me a prediction on how many games the Vikings would win this year.

“I’m off work. I’m not working now,” said Turner. “I can talk to you about Ike’s.”

He’ll regret saying that, I joked to Turner’s wife, Nancy.

“Ike’s, it’s the real deal. It’s the place to be,” said Turner. He said he has eaten at the Ike’s in downtown Minneapolis but this new location may be his preferred spot because they live nearby. It’s also not far from the current location of Winter Park.

Another party guest told me to be on the lookout for tight end Kyle Rudolph, who arrived later. He was at a table with Mr. and Mrs. Turner when their mingling took them there.

At one point I suspect that the Turner-Rudolph table thought I was shooting video of them when I came near their table in the company of Linda Winstead.

She is the sister of Ike’s majority owner, Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead. Normally, I see them at performances by their little sister, “Daily Show” co-creator and satirist Lizz Winstead. Lizz was not able to make her brother’s big event, but she arranged for me to get a sneak peek when she was here for her New Year’s show.

Linda asked me if I had seen the photo of her late father among the memorabilia filling the restaurant’s walls. I told her no, so she led me to it. On the way, she stopped to talk to a man at one of the reserved booths. The man went to move a cane out of the way and Linda asked: “Is that your cane?” The man said it belonged to the older gentleman in the booth. “You sure it’s not your cane,” Linda pressed, with Winsteadian comic timing.

Linda pointed out the photo near the table where the Turner-Rudolph party was sitting. “That’s my dad in his Marine uniform.” He’s below a photo of Albert Einstein on the right wall of the 7,000-square-foot restaurant. (The Minneapolis location is 3,500 square feet.) I told Linda I had only known her dad, Windy Winstead, as an older man; Lizz made TV stars out of her dad and mom, Ginny, who is also dead now. I told Linda her dad was a cute young man and she said, “He was darling.”

While I knew Norv Turner was the most famous person at the table near where Mr. Winstead’s photo was hanging, Linda did not. When I first ran into her at the party, I was rather giddy because I’d seen Norv Turner.

“Who’s that?” she asked.

Ali quote was right, not name

There was a big problem with one funny Muhammad Ali quip, framed and displayed at this Ike’s: Ali’s first name was misspelled.

“That’ll be changed tomorrow,” said Mayor Winstead, when the error was pointed out to him by retired Vikings defenseman Jim Marshall.

I think Marshall was sitting at the booth that he expects to be his at this Ike’s. Marshall was sitting at the table with Milton Harrison, board administrator at Senior Care Communities in St. Paul.

As my interactions with Marshall continued, Harrison wanted to know who I was. Marshall told him. “Oh, you’re the one who writes that funny column,” said Harrison.

With Harrison I then enjoyed a lively conversation about the fact that too few black people get into the habit of reading a daily newspaper. Harrison was more charming as we discussed other matters, including the framed quote from Abraham Lincoln about the internet. Obviously a fake quote, people.

Mr. Marshall still has IT!

There was a lady at the party who kept looking at Jim Marshall, probably because she couldn’t place the face.

Finally, either she figured it out or somebody told her he was a Vikings great. She came over, and you could tell that seeing Marshall was making her night, week and possibly her month.

After she and another woman had a lengthy chat with Marshall and took photos, I asked him: What’s it like to always be catnip to the ladies? “Well,” said Marshall with a long pause, “I don’t know if I’m catnip. Thank you. That’s a real compliment coming from you.”


C.J. can be reached at and seen on Fox 9’s “Jason Show” and “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.