For years, Hubert’s Cafe & Sports Bar was the only restaurant choice near the Metrodome in Minneapolis, serving no-frills fare to a no-fuss crowd. Now, the restaurant is getting a modern makeover to match the sleek image of the angular U.S. Bank Stadium rising across the street.
Stadium Partners LLC officially purchased the property Tuesday from longtime co-owners Steve “Andy” Anderly and Bob Jones for $2.25 million and is leasing it to a Minneapolis restaurateur who plans to turn it into a place where food and drink, not jerseys and pennants, are the main attraction.
“The concept isn’t going to be a campy sports bar next to a stadium,” said Erik Forsberg, the restaurant’s owner. “We will benefit from it, but there is an entire new city being built over there and we want to be there for the neighbors.”
Forsberg currently owns and operates Devil’s Advocate on 10th Street S., which will soon close down as the building is slated for historic renovations. The new, yet-to-be-named restaurant will have a similar vibe, with quality food items, craft beer (including its own) and craft cocktails.
Hubert’s remodel will largely be cosmetic with some exterior walls being opened up to offer more windows and patio space facing the stadium.
As for all that Minnesota sports paraphernalia covering the walls? It’s coming down, too.
“Don’t get me wrong, I am excited about gameday business,” Forsberg said. “But it is more important to build an everyday crowd because that’s what gives you longevity.”
Hubert’s closed in late October. It opened at the corner of 6th Street and Chicago Avenue S. in September 1983, a year after the Metrodome opened.
Apart from a four-year hiatus in the 1990s, Anderly owned Hubert’s for its entire history. After a 2010 diagnosis of multiple myeloma, Anderly started reassessing his time-consuming work and warmed to the idea of selling the property.
Stadium Partners is a new real estate venture led by Jonathan Bruntjen, with assistance from retired real estate investor George Nelson Jr. Not only will the investment group make money on the restaurant lease, the partners see a ripe advertising opportunity with the two billboards on its property.
“We anticipate having revenue from the billboards, each having two faces,” Nelson said.
The purchase includes two small parcels, separated by land owned by First Covenant Church. The sale price more than doubled the total estimated market value of $1 million for the two parcels, highlighting investor confidence in development potential on the east side of downtown around the new stadium.
Forsberg’s concept also reflects the demographic shifts that the market anticipates.
“We aren’t going to be doing frozen hamburger patties. It’ll be good quality food items. It will up the food game. It will up the beer game,” Forsberg said. “We want to be an approachable option for people who are going to be moving into that neighborhood in the next two years.”