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Duluth’s Best Bread Endorsement and Other News



Duluth’s Best Bread is the first company in the city’s history—no, make that the state’s history—to get the official endorsement of Germany’s No. 1 ranked arm wrestler, Matthias “Hellboy” Schlitte.

Schlitte, who has been featured on ESPN and other media outlets for a rare genetic condition that gave him a much larger than average right arm, produced an ad for the bakery via a video on its Facebook page.  In the video he compares most bakeries to his average-size left arm, and Duluth's Best Bread to his overly muscular right arm (the video's worth checking out).

Bakery owners and brothers Michael and Robert Lillegard took advantage of their proficiency in German to reach out to the arm wrestling champ. 

“I was reading an article on him and saw he was talking about endorsements. He has actually been endorsed by other companies and had this to say in the interview: ‘Wenn sich ein deutscher Hersteller berufen fühlt, bin ich für alle Schandtaten bereit.’ Which means ‘if a German manufacturer feels called [to endorse me], I am ready to commit any scandalous deed [in return].,’” Robert Lillegard, the PR-minded brother, says. “And then I thought, ‘well, golly, we could endorse him.’”

 How much does it cost to land an arm wrestler’s endorsement? Definitely less than they would have had to pay LeBron James or even a Twins player, Lillegard says. 

But money aside, the baker and the PR guy thought it was a fun tie-in for their Big Fat German Pretzels, which can be found at Sir Ben’s, Blacklist Brewing, the Break Room, Castle Danger Brewery, the Fitger’s Beer Store and Duluth Kitchen Company. The pretzels weigh in at nearly half a pound. We are assuming the taste cancels out the political incorrectness of their name. 

The endorsement has garnered the brothers a couple of local TV news spots as well as other local coverage. When you're small, you have to think big, that's Lillegard's mantra.

The retail side of the business is open Thursdays and Saturdays.

 

The former Java Train/Como Park Grill space in St. Paul, located between the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and Como Park, has a new tenant. Matty O’Reilly, who owns Republic, Red River Kitchen, Red River Kitchen at City House and Bar Brigade (the last with J.D. Fratzke, who won top chef honors from the Charlie Awards last year), has signed a lease on the foot-traffic-heavy space. 

 

Young Joni, Ann Kim and Conrad Leifur's third restaurant in the Twin Cities, was one of three restaurants featured in the May 12 issue of The Week, which compiles and condenses all the relevant news from around the world. The restaurant, which was included in the Critics' Choice: Culture Clashes That Somehow Click feature, was first seen in the Star Tribune reviewer Rick Nelson's article on the restaurant. What caught The Week's eye was the mix of pizzas and Korean recipes from Kim's family.

 

Chicago-based Portillo's is looking to open a hot dog restaurant with a drive-thru this July in suburban Woodbury. 


Coffee Talk

Jasha Johnston and Carrie McCabe-Johnston, the couple behind Nightingale restaurant, have taken over operations at two additional Minneapolis bars, Dusty’s Bar in Northeast and Mortimer’s at Lyndale and Franklin avenues. The two also just opened Tilt Pinball Bar with co-owner John Galvin to anchor Chroma Apartments (113 E. 26th St.).

Kim Bartmann is trying a third concept in what was formerly Third Bird and Bearcat on Loring Park in Minneapolis. The Bird is serving an early-bird menu for breakfast and lunch with smoothies, juices, eggs, rice bowls, sandwiches and salads, open Monday and Thursday through Sunday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Bartmann is making the space available for pop-ups and private events in the evening.

Hai Hai is the new restaurant from Hola Arepa owners Christina Nguyen and Birk Grudem, who purchased the space that was last the Double Deuce, a bar and strip club on University Avenue in northeast Minneapolis. They’re planning a Southeast Asian street food eatery will a fall opening.

The Lotus Restaurant opened its Uptown Minneapolis location in the former Game Sports Bar on Hennepin Avenue. This is the second Lotus location for the Nguyen family, who bought the Lotus downtown in 1984.

Taco Cat owners Tristan Jimerson and Daniel Laeger-Hagemeister launched a food truck to go along with their Midtown Global Market counter stall and Minneapolis bike delivery program. The truck has a Thursday residency at Dangerous Man Brewing.

Canadian coffee and donut chain Tim Hortons is expanding its Twin Cities footprint, taking space as an anchor tenant in the new Rice Street Shoppes in Maplewood. Tim Hortons first opened in Mall of America and Dinkytown in November 2016, and is also taking over the White Castle outlet at 36th Avenue and Lake Street in Minneapolis’ Longfellow neighborhood. 

 

Closures:  Devil’s Advocate closed to relocate to Dan Kelly’s Pub (212 S. 7th St.), another downtown Minneapolis restaurant owned by Erik Forsberg. The building that housed Devil’s Advocate at 89 S. 10th St. had been on the
market for two years and was recently sold. 

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