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There are only two municipally run bars still operating in the seven-county metro area, and come this fall, there will only be one.

The Muni in Rogers, on the northwestern edge of Hennepin County, will close later this year. But the city's nearly 50-year-old gathering place for pulltabs, rail drinks and Heggies pizza will continue to be a bar — with more to eat than just pizza.

Craft & Crew Hospitality won Rogers City Council approval last week to purchase the Muni building. When the sale closes in November, the restaurant group rooted in Minneapolis and the west metro will expand to this fast-growing suburb. Renovations, including the addition of a kitchen, will take place over the winter, with an expected opening sometime in spring 2025.

"We're bringing our concepts a little bit outside of the main core metro area that we're used to," said Luke Derheim, Craft & Crew's co-owner. "We're excited to go into a little bit different neck of the woods and think that there's a lot of opportunities out there."

Like most of Craft & Crew's other restaurants in Minneapolis, Hopkins, St. Louis Park, Minnetonka and Hastings, the Rogers restaurant will have a dog-friendly, four-season patio (or "pawtio"); a large bar; and a similar menu of sandwiches, bowls and vegan options. The food and feeling of the place will most closely resemble the Block in St. Louis Park, Derheim said.

"We really feel good about expanding a concept like the Block in that area," said David Benowitz, Craft & Crew co-owner. "Just pulling from the Rogers community, Maple Grove area, Elk River, Albertville — those are all communities that we feel are a little underserved right now."

Municipal bars and liquor stores in Minnesota date back to the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. Minnesota rewrote its liquor laws, giving cities the choice to control liquor sales within their borders, and sending profits back into the municipality. Minnesota has more municipal liquor stores than any other state — 176 in 2022, according to a report from the State Auditor. Fewer than half of those allow "on-sale" liquor to be consumed on-site — essentially, a city-run bar. The Rogers Muni's closure leaves Wayzata as the metro's lone muni with an "on-sale" liquor license.

"A muni in any city is really a community gathering space that's going to have a neighborhood feel that people feel welcome to go and they know that it's neighbors in the building, they know the people there, and that's something that Craft & Crew has really shown, that they want the neighborhood to be involved," said Brett Angell, community development director for the city of Rogers. "They showed a desire to not just take the property and make it their own, but also have an acknowledgment of the past and what the property has been to the community and try to build upon that."

Rogers' Muni bar was established in 1977. In recent years, it has become "break-even at best," said Steve Stahmer, the city administrator. Between shrinking profits and the retirement of its longtime liquor manager, the City Council decided to seek a buyer.

With a population of 15,000, Rogers is on track to grow to 24,000 by 2040, and many of those new residents are young families.

"It's a high-traffic area and we've just seen it growing and growing year over year," Derheim said. "Population growth up in that part of town doesn't seem to be going down. And it seems like it's a good area for a long-term customer base for us."

Benowitz analyzed restaurant traffic data and is expecting a 30% to 40% increase over some of Craft & Crew's more central restaurants.

Craft & Crew, which already has a strong suburban footprint, isn't the only restaurant group looking beyond Minneapolis' borders for growth. Jester Concepts (Borough, Parlour, Butcher & the Boar) recently opened Starling in a new development in Edina. And prolific restaurateur Daniel del Prado has added Excelsior and Wayzata to his growing portfolio of Minneapolis restaurants.

Meanwhile, construction has begun on Wells Roadside, Craft & Crew's reimagining of the former Galaxy Drive In in St. Louis Park, with an expected summer opening.

When it opens next year, the new Rogers restaurant will serve lunch and dinner daily, plus brunch on the weekends. With nearly 2 acres of outdoor space, there will be an expanded patio with an outdoor bar, plenty of parking, and possibly some outdoor activity spaces, like pickleball courts.

It was important to the city that whoever took over the building honored its long history while creating something new.

"Memories have been made there, celebrations have happened there," Stahmer said.

Derheim and Benowitz plan to keep the pulltabs and other forms of charitable gambling, and may dedicate a drink or menu item to the old Muni, too. The new restaurant, said Benowitz, will continue "representing the beauty that's been there for 50 years."

Correction: Previous versions of this story misstated Daniel del Prado's suburban plans.