Nov 1, 2022 - Food and Drink

Park Board narrows in on Lake Nokomis vendor

The former Sandcastle could soon be The Painted Turtle. Photo courtesy of Sandcastle

The owners of Unleashed Hounds & Hops are poised to win the Lake Nokomis food vendor contract.

Driving the news: A Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board selection committee has recommended the restaurateurs for the highly-trafficked building next to Nokomis Beach.

The concept: The menu is "craft bar fare" but with no burgers, similar to Unleashed. It includes lots of sausages and chicken sandwiches, said Sam Carter, one of the partners.

  • "We're pretty damn good cooks but there's definitely places that can make burgers better than we can," Carter said.
  • In addition to the food, the restaurant will serve local craft beer and is close to signing a contract with a local ice cream shop partner.

Context: Unleashed Hounds and Hops opened near the Minneapolis Farmers Market in early 2020.

  • It's owned by Carter, his business partner Kevin Knutson, and Carter's mother, Dawn Uremovitch, a former executive with Leeann Chin and Häagen-Dazs.

The intrigue: They originally wanted to name the Nokomis restaurant Thirsty Dog, but the Park Board preferred something else. So they're tentatively going with The Painted Turtle, Carter said.

Catch up fast: If selected, The Painted Turtle will take over for Sandcastle, which operated in the building for 10 years before calling it quits this fall.

  • Eleven restauranteurs submitted proposals and the selection committee chose five finalists before narrowing it down to one.
  • One of the finalists, Animales Barbeque owner Jon Wipfli, pulled out, telling Axios it was not a good fit for his business.

What's ahead: Pending approvals and some touching up to the building, Carter expects to be up and running in the spring.


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