Calhoun Square has lost a tenant – and it's a big one.
Libertine served its last meal Sunday, Sept. 29, closing its doors following brunch service. Parasole Restaurant Holdings was nearing the end of a 10-year lease on the space and decided to wind down early with the end of its rooftop patio season.
"We decided rather than stay open the next few months, it was better for us to place [staff in other restaurants] now and try not to weather another winter," said Parasole COO Donna Fahs.
The multilevel restaurant launched five years ago under the guidance of chef Tim McKee, who was culinary director of Parasole at the time. Prior to that, another Parasole restaurant, Uptown Cafeteria, occupied the space.
But even before the switch, the company saw a transition emerging in the neighborhood that it says led to Libertine's closure.
"There's a sea change going on in that area, which I haven't seen the likes of ever before," Fahs said. "Uptown has become more of a drinking place than a dining place."
Fahs cites everything from an influx of national chains, apartment buildings, expensive parking, road construction and crime in Uptown, plus the flight of artists to northeast Minneapolis and more restaurants opening in first-tier suburbs, as contributing to the area's demise as a restaurant destination.
Parasole also operates Chino Latino (2916 Hennepin Av., Mpls., 612-842-7878, chinolatino.com) around the corner, and Fahs said that restaurant has had to hire a security presence. But she's hopeful that with Ann Kim's new restaurant coming into the former Lucia's, the area could rebound.
Still, she said, "It's a tough time for restaurants even in a good situation."