After shuttering its doors for 10 days, the former Loring Pasta Bar will reopen this week with new ownership and a new name.
LRx: Loring & Pharmacy Bar — the product of four longtime managers — is expected to debut on Friday after a transition that will shift the Dinkytown landmark away from a turbulent past and into a new era. The name is a nod to the spot’s former longtime home as Gray’s Campus Drug.
“We’re really excited; we have a lot invested in this,” said Lynn Nyman, the majority owner. “We’re still committed to this place, and we know we can make it better.”
Loring Pasta Bar, which was owned by embattled restaurateur Jason McLean, closed after the evening service on July 31, after a 16-year run at 327 14th Av. SE. Last month, McLean sold the nearby Varsity Theater as well.
In 2015 and 2016 lawsuits, McLean was accused of sexually abusing teen girls in the 1980s, when he was a teacher and actor with Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis.
From the outside, Loring Pasta’s closing seemed abrupt, with employees receiving notices on Monday night to collect their final paycheck the next day. But Nyman — who had worked for McLean since 1990, at the original Loring at Loring Park — said a shift in ownership had been months in the making.
Around May, she and a few other longtime employees began discussing buying the place. They began fundraising, and last week, she, Joseph Kennedy, Joseph Henkin and Pablo Jesus Palchizaca — who have all been with Loring Pasta Bar for 10 years or more — closed on the deal.
The new iteration will keep most of the fundamentals that have made Loring Pasta Bar popular over the years. The menu will retain most of the classic pasta and other dishes while incorporating some new items as well, which Nyman describes as approachable appetizers such as beef tacos and sliders.
The regular live music schedule will also continue — Loring Pasta Bar was known for events on specific nights and salsa dancing on Fridays and Saturdays — while Nyman and Co. plan to add more programming in the bar.
“We want to give the bar an identity, a life of its own,” Nyman said.
While closed, the new owners have made some repairs to the space, but are keeping the look the same.
“We’re not changing the decor at all. The ambience that is beloved by so many is going to stay the same,” Nyman said.
“People have been dropping by a lot, and they’ve said they’re happy for a fresh start. We’ve been answering phones. We’ve kept the door unlocked while we’ve been working in here, and people are just saying they’re so glad we’re still here and so glad we’re reopening.”
Shake Shack looks at second Minnesota site
Just over a year after debuting its first Minnesota location, Shake Shack, a popular New York burger chain, is targeting its second in Edina.
A proposal submitted to the city suggests a stand-alone, 5,000-square-foot restaurant with a patio at the northwest corner of Southdale Center, at 66th Street and France Avenue S.
Shake Shack, which serves burgers, hot dogs, French fries and frozen custard, opened its first Minnesota outpost in the Mall of America last year.
Hazelwood opening near the MOA
The Nova Restaurant Collection — a restaurant group with eateries based in Rochester and around the state — is debuting its latest project near the Mall of America.
Hazelwood Food & Drink (hazelwoodfoodanddrink.com) is expected to open on Aug. 16 at 8150 26th Av. S. in Bloomington. On the menu? Modern comfort foods such as rotisserie chicken, wood-fired pizza, burgers, steak and seafood, among other things.
The Nova Restaurant Collection also owns Hazellewood Grill and Tap Room (Tonka Bay), Tavern 4&5 (Eden Prairie), Terza (Rochester), Chester’s (Rochester) and Pescara (Rochester).