Monday, January 16, 2006

A Farewell to ... Happy Hour

Living in Plymouth, on the west side of Minneapolis, for the past 8 years, I've become fond of a local establishment: Grandma's Restaurant and Wine Bar. Grandma's is a Minnesota original, with restaurants in only 5 cities in the state, and the Plymouth location (being close to home) I've grown especially fond of. I started out down the path of "becoming a regular" at the Bloomington store, which is long since closed (I may write about the stupidity behind that sometime ... someday) and migrated to Plymouth, along with a collection of both regulars and staff. Over the years, I've seen a lot of things ... a lot of people. I've seen good times, bad times ... and some really, really crazy times (good thing no one had a camera ... at least, no one who's come forth with pictures ... yet). And, I knew that all good things, no matter how good and packed with potential, must come to an end ... and Grandma's Plymouth is no exception. On March 31, 2006, the Plymouth, MN, store will close ... and I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I'm not surprised. From a customer standpoint, the store isn't doing stellar business. Traffic ebbs and flows with the booking level of the adjacent Comfort Inn. On the other hand ... frankly, I'm pissed off. The Grandma's line is Duluth-based, and watching the way the Plymouth store has been handled tells me that their corporate office doesn't have a clue about how to make money in the Minneapolis market. Granted, they're doing ok business in their downtown store ... which is located in the "Seven Corners" area of the East Bank of the University of Minnesota. I mean, come on ... how hard is it to make it when you're in a prime location ... where all you really need to do is open the doors, serve decent drinks, and have one of the local radio stations play live music once a week. A near-sighted Rhesus monkey on crack could make money there ... case in point. No. The real challenge of making a business is going after something new ... something different ... and making it work. From what I've heard, they want out of their lease big time. The price they're asking for the property is a steal, especially with you factor in the rate of growth of the western suburbs. So ... if anyone is interested in partnering in what could be a very exciting venture ... ... let me know.