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🎂 Happy birthday to our Axios Twin Cities member Phillip Kunkel!

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Today's newsletter is 915 words — a 3.5-minute read

1 big thing: The Minneapolis restaurant rebound

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The pandemic dealt a major blow to Minneapolis' dining scene, but the number of restaurants operating with a liquor license in the city is nearly back to what it was in 2019.

Why it matters: Minneapolis became a culinary destination over the past couple of decades, but the pandemic and rise of remote work hammered two of the city's hot spots — downtown and Uptown.

Yes, but: People are changing how and where they eat, and restaurateurs are adapting to meet them in new places.

By the numbers: 710 Minneapolis restaurants had some type of liquor license in 2019. That number fell to 424 in 2020, but it has bounced back up to 646 this spring, according to data from the city.

State of play: While some areas of the city have a long way to go, other neighborhoods have been hot for new restaurants, including the North Loop, Prospect Park, and Northeast.

  • A recent city assessor's report showed that the value of commercial properties in downtown fell by 14% between 2023 and 2024, and in Uptown by 1%. But the value of commercial properties outside those two areas increased by 2%.

Reality check: Running a restaurant has become much harder in the last four years due to rising expenses and a labor shortage.

Case in point: That's prompting operators like Benjamin Rients and Travis Serbus to get creative as they prepare for a July opening of Lynette in the former Riverview Coffee Shop and Wine Bar.

Zoom in: The restaurant will be open seven days a week for all three meals. It will cater to neighbors who used to commute to an office building but now have WFH jobs and want to sip coffee and work in the morning, do business lunches in the afternoon, and meet for happy hours in the evening, the two told Axios.

  • But to combat rising labor costs, the restaurant will be counter service during breakfast and lunch, then transition to regular service with a waitstaff for dinner.

The bottom line: While it can seem like the sky is falling when a restaurant closes, usually there's another entrepreneur ready to pounce on the real estate when it does.

Full story

2. New tourism slogan: Bring Ya A**

Image courtesy of Explore Minnesota. Screenshot via X

Minnesota's official tourism agency has a new unofficial slogan.

What they're saying: "Bring ya ass!"

  • It's a reference to Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards' postgame comment to TNT, in which Ant encouraged analyst Charles Barkley to get his butt back to Minnesota.

Driving the news: Explore Minnesota seized on the comment in several social media posts.

Inside the room: Spokesperson Chris Morgan told Axios that several Explore Minnesota staffers watched the comment live on Sunday night.

  • Immediately, "That whole exchange just rang an alarm: 'We have to do something here,'" Morgan said.

The intrigue: As the comment went viral online, a comedian named Jon Savitt told Axios he bought the domain name BringYaAss.com and set it up to redirect visitors to Explore Minnesota's website.

Zoom in: The agency sanitized Edwards' words with asterisks shaped like Minnesota's Etoile-du-Nord eight-pointed star symbol.

What's next: This may not be the last you see of the unofficial slogan.

  • Morgan said the agency is talking to the Timberwolves, searching for new ways to capitalize on the remark.

Tell a friend

3. Timberlake coming to the X

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🎤 Justin Timberlake's latest tour added a Halloween stop in St. Paul. (Axios)

🎯 Target is cutting prices on 5,000 items as it caters to inflation-weary shoppers. (Associated Press)

🏢 WeWork, which is under bankruptcy protection, will retain leases for its two Minneapolis offices in Capella Tower and The Nordic, but will shrink the size of them. (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal)

4. Trail mix: No special session

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz shut down talk of a special session after the Legislature's messy midnight finish Sunday.

Why it matters: Backers of two big bills that didn't cross the finish line — the capital investment package and the Equal Rights Amendment — pivoted Monday to petitioning for an overtime session to get them done.

What he's saying: "Nope. No special session," the governor said Monday after signing a law banning "junk fees."

🔎 While we know the big takeaways, it'll take us a while to pore over the thousands of pages of new laws approved in the final days.

  • But here are some buzzy provisions that prevailed or failed:

✅ Passed: A crackdown on copper wire theft, a ban on book bans, a permitting reform package, $22.5 million for a new State Patrol headquarters, and a change that will allow 23,000 University of Minnesota staff and student workers to unionize.

☠️ Died: A bill that would have paved the way for ranked-choice voting in more local elections, proposals advancing a public option, free milk for school kids, and guaranteed insurance coverage for IVF.

💬 1 quote to go: "The spectacle will fade, but the work will remain," Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy said early Monday.

Between the lines: The line encapsulates majority Democrats' bet that the policies they've passed will outweigh in voters' minds the chaos and procedural maneuvers it took to get it done.

The other side: Republicans plan to take their argument to the campaign trail that Democrats abused the rules and silenced their voices to pass an "extreme" agenda.

The bottom line

5. Photo trivia

Photo courtesy of Deb Warren

Reader Deb Warren snapped this photo on Saturday. Do you recognize where she was?

  • Reply to this email for a chance to win some Axios Twin Cities swag.

Editor's note: Yesterday's lead story was updated to reflect that the supplemental spending bill was 1,400 pages, not 2,800, as lawmakers claimed at an early morning news conference.

🏀 Nick robbed his kids' college savings for Game 5 tickets.

🍍 Torey made one of her favorite summer grill recipes last weekend: A spin on these Hawaiian chicken kebabs!

😬 Kyle just watched this video of this weekend's Gathering of Kyles in Texas and is more convinced than ever that staying home was the right call.

Today's newsletter was edited by Lindsey Erdody and copy edited by Patricia Guadalupe.