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News and Noteworthy Around the Twin Cities

Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson (left) with Eliot King and Jennifer Jackson-King of Prima.

Katie Cannon Photography

Calling Prima Restaurant in south Minneapolis a “true pioneer in the Twin Cities local food movement, and the local food movement all around the country for that matter,” Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson presented the Jon Radle Award to Prima owners Eliot King and Jennifer Jackson-King. The award was given during Minnesota Cooks Day at the Minnesota State Fair, “recognizing a loyal commitment to furthering awareness and education around local foods and sustainable agriculture.” 

The award is named for Jon Radle, a well-respected chef who died in 2010.

“Jon was a talented chef who was deeply committed to local foods,” said Peterson. “We keep his name on this award with the hope that people will always remember the impact he had, especially on the cooking community in Minnesota.”

The farmers union, a statewide membership organization representing family farmers, sponsors Minnesota Cooks and the award.


David Fhima

As part of Target Center’s ongoing arena renovations, the home of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx is getting a culinary makeover as well. Chef and restaurateur David Fhima has been hired to revamp the food offerings with a focus on using clean, local, organic and non-GMO ingredients when possible. Fhima, who is the chef and owner at Faces Mears Park in St. Paul, is also tasked with giving the downtown arena’s menus a global feel to “reflect the thriving international food scene in the Twin Cities,” according to a news release.

“Arena food is part of the whole experience and can make attending a game exponentially better,” said Fhima. “I have a passion for making healthy food with whole ingredients that satisfy your cravings, and I look forward to bringing that passion to my work at the Target Center.”

The initial menu changes will first debut in the new Chairman’s Suites and Theater Boxes for the Timberwolves’ 2016-2017 season, with refreshed concession offerings coming as the concourse level renovation is completed prior to the 2017-2018 season. Levy Restaurants handles the premium level food and beverage service at Target Center while Delaware North Sportservice runs the concourse concession stands.


Bill Ziegler

Minneapolis-based BGD Companies, which designs and manufacturers custom furnishings products for shopping malls, country clubs, casinos, senior-living facilities and restaurants, added industry veteran Bill Ziegler to its team in the role of vice president of sales and marketing. Ziegler will focus on the company’s geographic expansion, vertical market opportunities, product development and marketing efforts.

“Bill Ziegler brings strong industry relationships as well as vast experience in both manufacturing and distribution,” said BGD President Dennis Diaz in a statement. “We are pleased to welcome him on board and into the BGD family.”

Ziegler began his career in the foodservice industry more than 30 years ago, most recently serving as the president and CEO of Premier Restaurant Equipment, which was sold to Boelter Companies in June of this year. Prior to that Ziegler served for more than 20 years as the CEO of Waymar Industries, a leading manufacturer of hospitality furnishings, which was sold to Foldcraft in 2012.


Steve Schlundt

A 20-year veteran at real estate firm CSM Corporation, Steve Schlundt is now president of the company’s lodging and residential divisions. Schlundt, who joined Minneapolis-based CSM in 1996, helped launch the lodging division after beginning his career at the company as general manager. As president, Schlundt will continue to drive growth and bring innovative designs to CSM’s new-build and renovation projects. Locally, he oversaw the extensive renovations of Depot Renaissance Hotel in Minneapolis that included a sixth floor addition and 110 guest rooms. He currently serves as a member of the Marriott Franchise Advisory Council. 

Coffee Talk

The Hewing Hotel, set to open this fall in the Minneapolis North Loop, brought in James Beard Rising Star Chef finalist Grae Nonas as the executive chef at its Tullibee restaurant. Nonas comes from Austin, Texas, where he opened Olamaie in 2014 to critical acclaim. The Hewing Hotel and Tullibee are part of Chicago-based Aparium Hotel Group.


Eastside in Minneapolis has another new chef following the departure of Nick Dugan—who previously took opening executive chef Remy Pettus’ place—to Spoon and Stable, where he’s now a sous chef under Gavin Kaysen. Dennis Leaf-Smith, the former longtime chef de cuisine at 112 Eatery, is back in town after a stint in Philadelphia and started at Eastside last month. 


After adjusting plans to add more parking and reduce the outdoor seating area, restaurateur Ryan Burnet (who also owns the aforementioned Eastside) received the necessary approvals from the Minnetonka City Council to start work on his Station Pizzeria concept, which will take the place of Bennis Feed and Fuel on Minnetonka Boulevard. Shea Design is the architect on the project. A late 2016 opening is planned.

Chef and owner Max Thompson reopened his 128 Café on Cleveland Avenue in St. Paul last month but with a new name and concept, Stewart’s, a nod to the location’s beginnings as a neighborhood store and cafe. The new spot is more casual and now has a full liquor license. 


Bullwinkle’s Saloon is back after the trio of brothers and investors Raj and Jai Singh and owner-manager Cory Couillard revived the bar at Seven Corners in Minneapolis. The Singh brother bought the building in 2011.


Owner Rachel Blader received business and liquor license approval for her Scratch Grill and Lounge in the Crane Building at 408 3rd Ave. N. near Target Field in Minneapolis. Blader previously operated what was then Scratch Bar and Grill from June 2014 to December 2015


Closures: Raw-foods restaurant Ecopolitan, one of the first in the nation, shut down in south Minneapolis after 15 years in business. 

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