Updated Jan 25, 2022 - Food and Drink

Shuttered Minneapolis art gallery may become "European-style" cafe

A rendering of the inside of a bar. The walls are blue and tables and chairs are scattered throughout. Drinks can be seen behind a bartop.

The interior rendering of 1231 Washington St. NE. Image courtesy of Christian Dean Architecture

A shuttered Northeast Minneapolis art gallery could be converted into a "European-style" cafe under a proposal unanimously approved by city planners Monday.

Driving the news: The Minneapolis Planning Commission green-lit a request from Hilari ZiaiMehr, a former manager at Dangerous Man Brewing, to transform the former Sosin and Sosin Art Gallery building on Washington St. NE into a restaurant.

The intrigue: The submitted plan doesn't call for serving alcoholic beverages, but neighbors' letters to the city and social media posts suggest the proposal could be connected to The Briar Bar, ZiaiMehr's business that had a short stint as a mobile bar in a renovated camper last summer.

  • Of note: The property's current zoning could make obtaining a liquor license tricky.
  • ZiaiMehr did not respond to Axios' requests for comment.

What to expect: Planning documents outline a 40-seat restaurant that would be open 4pm to as late as 11pm on weekdays, and 12pm to midnight on weekends.

  • Renderings show a redesigned dining room with cafe-style circular tables and some bar seating.

The catch: The property is located in a largely residential area in the Logan Park neighborhood, and several neighbors are opposing the project.

  • Some are concerned about the existing lack of parking, potential noise level, safety odor from garbage and late hours.

Yes, but: Small restaurants adjacent to single-family homes are common in Northeast Minneapolis, and ZiaiMehr told the commission she was open to closing earlier.

  • Other neighbors spoke in support of the project during the Monday meeting, arguing that the building's small capacity would have a negligible effect on parking.

What's ahead: City planning commissioners told ZiaiMehr that she'll need to add at least 10 bike parking spaces that won't block the sidewalk, screens and a full-enclosed trash container at the property.

A rendering of a black building on the corner of a wooded street. People stand outside.
The exterior rendering of 1231 Washington St. NE. Image courtesy of Christian Dean Architecture

More renderings...

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that ZiaiMehr told the commission she's open to adjusting hours to close the business earlier.

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