The Twin Cities restaurant scene is hopping this week, with new restaurants opening, a community favorite changing hands, and some remodelings in between. Here's a rundown:
New pizza franchise moving in
Pie Five Pizza, based in suburban Dallas, is planning to open its first Twin Cities restaurant. According to the Star Tribune, the company does not yet have an exact location, but expects to open in March.
Its claim to fame is that once a customer orders a made-to-order personal-sized pizza, it's ready in five minutes. The price for every pizza, no matter what's on top, is the same: $7, the Star Tribune notes.
Peace Coffee opening in downtown Minneapolis
The shop will be on the ground level of the Capella Tower, which was recently renovated.
Peace Coffee, a fair-trade company, is primarily a wholesaler. But it has one stand-alone retail shop in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis, and it also sells its products at the Lakewinds Co-op in Richfield.
The downtown location is expected to open for business in a few weeks, according to the Business Journal.
New owners for Lucia's
Owner Lucia Watson, 60, opened the restaurant nearly 30 years ago, and over time added a wine bar and bakery/cafe that all emphasize locally grown foods.
The new owners, whose lead investor is Jason Jenny, don't plan to change anything, according to the Star Tribune.
Chef Ryan Lund and manager Heather Asbury will remain at the restaurant, which will also retain its name. Lucia Watson will be a consultant.
The sale is scheduled to close on Monday.
Alma's to open boutique hotel
Chef Alex Roberts, who owns the acclaimed Restaurant Alma in Minneapolis, is planning a six-room boutique hotel on the second floor of his building at 6th and University.
The Business Journal reports it will be called the Inn at Alma. Roberts is also planning to create a casual cafe in the space next door to his restaurant, which is currently occupied by a Dunn Bros. coffee shop.
The entire project still needs final approval from the neighborhood and the City Council, according to the Business Journal. Roberts hopes to complete work on the new space by June 2015.
Heartland Market remodeling
In St. Paul, the Heartland Market, which is adjacent to chef Lenny Russo's Heartland Restaurant, will close for three months starting Jan. 1 to undergo some remodeling.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Russo is planning the changes in anticipation of the new St. Paul Saints ballpark opening across the street in April.
The plan is to expand the menu of grab-and-go items like sandwiches and pastries, renovate the space and add more seating, the Pioneer Press says. The work should be done in April, just in time for baseball season.
New eat spot in Lowertown
Another restaurant, Saint Dinette, is scheduled to open in St. Paul's Lowertown this spring.
The owners of the Strip Club have been looking for a location for their new place for quite a while, according to the Pioneer Press, but have finally signed a lease for 2,500 square feet in the Rayette Lofts building at 5th and Wall streets, kitty corner from the St. Paul Farmer's Market.
Owners Tim Niver, J.D. Fratzke and Brad Tetzloff say the Dinette will be a European-style bistro with a party atmosphere, according to the Pioneer Press.