Word Around the Block: How are Minneapolis Restaurants responding to the current times?

May 7, 2020 by DRG

Part of urban living is embracing the downtown lifestyle. And a huge part of that is the bar and restaurant scene in Minneapolis. As we are approaching almost two months of bars and restaurants not being open to the public, we reached out to a few local restaurants and bars to see how they are adjusting and what they are taking away from the current situation.

We start near Uptown Minneapolis at The Kenwood Restaurant. The Kenwood has stayed open for take-out and made big changes to their business model to try to stay open and prosperous doing this time. By changing their hours to be open seven days a week as well as adjusting their menu, The Kenwood has been thriving. But Sarah Perron, the restaurant’s manger, knows their biggest success has been “the continued support of their incredible patrons”.

However, this transition has not been without its difficulties. Perron states that “One of the biggest challenges has been learning how to best modify the way we do service.  The logistics of take-out are very different from ‘traditional’ service and the learning curve has been a knowledge growth opportunity we are thankful for.”

But have small businesses taken a bigger hit then the large franchises? Sarah doesn’t think so! “I think right now, and moving forward, people are even more inclined to support small and local. The Kenwood is a family. Between the incredible support of the neighborhood, our chef/owner (Don Saunders) leadership and devoted following throughout his career as well as a staff over the years that has helped cultivate a loyal environment we are a great example of how small and local works well.”

The Kenwood has also been able to take advantage of Governor Walz’s new law allowing bars and restaurants to sell beer and wine for take-out. “We’ve always had a great wine and beer program and our guests are thrilled with the opportunity to support us in that way”, says Perrone.

Now let’s take a look at the flip side of things. What about those bars and restaurants that had to close down operation? Cuzzy’s, a local North Loop favorite, had to close its doors on March 18th and has not reopened.

“While we could have stayed open or re-opened sooner, but it just doesn’t make sense financially. We wouldn’t be able to turn a profit,” states Cuzzy’s owner John Lee. However, as soon as the MN government gives them the green light, Cuzzy’s will be opening up! “We will probably reduce our hours because part of the social adjustment of this time is people’s habits changing. But this also gives us an opportunity to rework our menu to offer customer favorites such breakfast options during lunch and dinner.”

John does know one thing for sure, the success of Cuzzy’s comes from their loyal patrons who have continued to help them thrive throughout the years. When John was asked how customers can support them during this time he simply asks “that when we do reopen, I hope our customer will come back to support us how they always have.”

To stay up to date on The Kenwood Restaurant and Cuzzy’s be sure to follow them on Facebook. You can also visit their websites to find special offers such as The Kenwood’s Mother’s Day pre-order dinner special: $55 a person, with optional addition of a living flower arrangement from Tonkadale Greenhouse and wine.

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