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Is there enough parking at former Sholom site?

Is there enough parking at former Sholom site?

Posted on 20 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Former Shalom development plans

City staff, neighbors and board members debate whether 80 spots is enough for 150 apartments

By Jane McClure
The former Sholom Home, which has been vacant for more than a decade, will be redeveloped as a 150-unit apartment building.
The St. Paul Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) Feb. 24, 2020 unanimously approved two variances needed by developer Midway Community Group LLC for the conversion. That decision is final unless it is appealed to the St. Paul City Council within 10 days. As of the Monitor deadline no appeal had been filed.
Sholom closed in 2009 when a new facility was built in the city’s West End. Its old complex consists of four buildings, the oldest one dating from 1922 and the newest from 1970.
Several developers have looked at the property since the Sholom moved out. A conditional use permit allowing 170 dwelling units was granted in 2015 but has expired.
How such a new use will coexist across the street from the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and just a few blocks west of busy Como Park, remains to be seen. The developers contend that the new housing will be an option for people who want a vehicle-free lifestyle, with its proximity to A Line rapid bus service and other transit. Project foes are skeptical.

Parking, unit size variances
The former nursing home, which is on a site zoned for RM2 multi-family residential, needs two variances for the project to go ahead. One is for unit size. The zoning code requires a minimum lot size of 1,500 square feet per unit. The developer is proposing 882 square feet of lot area per unit, for a variance of 678 square feet per unit.
Another variance, which sparked the most debate, is for parking. The zoning code requires 166 off-street parking spaces, but 80 enclosed and lot spaces are proposed, for a variance of 86 parking spaces. Parking was a flash point during the Feb. 24 debate. City staff recommended denial of the variances. Matthew Graybar of the BZA staff said that adding more than 80 vehicles “would flood the area.”
Planning staff, in a memo, also recommended denial. City staff suggested a smaller, 80-unit building but the developers said that didn’t make sense financially.
One wrinkle in the issue is this: the property’s underlying RM residential multifamily zoning could face changes as a result of an ongoing St. Paul Planning Commission study. The study and a future city council decision to change the zoning code could mean the site could accommodate a new five-story building with more than 350 apartments if the Sholom complex came down and a new multi-family structure went up. That study, and a second study calling for relaxed parking standards citywide, could compound the area’s parking problems
BZA members debated the issues at length and voted on the variances separately. They made requests including asking the developers to provide incentives for transit use. Some Snelling Ave.developers in recent months have given tenants a bus card at the start of their leases.
“The problem is where this site is,” said board member Luis Rangel-Morales. “You can provide all kinds of incentives, but people will still drive.”
“That area really struggles with parking issues,” said board member Daniel Miller. But board members ultimately agreed that the project should go ahead, noting that if parking is a problem the developers will have to find a solution or lose residents.

Will lack of parking affect how many rent?
The community development corporation, Northeast Neighborhoods Development Corporation, is a development partner. Its executive director, Chuck Repke, said developers wouldn’t be moving ahead with the project if they didn’t think it was viable. The developers met four times with neighbors to discuss the project.
The developers raised several arguments, including financial viability and building reuse, in making their case for the variances. Plans call for 22 studio apartments; 97 one-bedroom apartments; 24 two-bedroom apartments of 800-900 square feet; and seven three-bedroom apartments. Apartments would be market-rate. Repke describes prospective residents as empty nesters and graduate students.
He predicted many residents won’t own vehicles but will rely on transit and possibly a shared-use vehicle or vehicles at the building. “You’re not going to find better transit than Snelling Ave.,” Repke said.
“Clearly there are limitations on parking,” Repke said. “I’ve been there during the state fair and it is insane.”
Como Community Council/District 10 recommended approval of the variances.
One neighbor, Kathy Kelly, appeared in opposition to express concerns about parking. She said her block of Midway Parkway is already greatly affected by spillover parking from the frequent uses of the fairground and park activities. “Now summer weekends will be every single day of our lives,” she said.
Repke said the developers would personally work with neighbors on parking issues and even help them submit applications for residential permit parking.

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D.C. close up, MCJROTC retreat, teaching honor

Posted on 20 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Como Park Senior High School
By Eric
Social studies teacher

Como AP Government students spent six days in Washington D.C. from Feb. 23-28 as participants in the national Close Up program. (Photo by Eric Erickson)

Twenty-seven seniors currently studying AP Government and AP Macroeconomics spent the last week of February 2020 in Washington D.C. The participating students were part of the national Close Up program, which promotes civics education and participation in our democracy with the capital city as a living classroom.
Como student highlights included study visits to national monuments and memorials including Jefferson, FDR, Martin Luther King, Jr., Lincoln, World War II, Vietnam and Korea. There were also study visits at museums of the Smithsonian, the Supreme Court, U.S. Capitol, Arlington National Cemetery, Holocaust Museum, and unique Washington neighborhoods.
Students met with Congresswoman Betty McCollum in her House of Representatives Office and also discussed policy with staff and legislative aides from Senator Smith’s and Senator Klobuchar’s Capitol Hill offices.
While observing the House of Representatives in session from the House Gallery, Como students witnessed Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez present the Green New Deal Resolution. For several students who enthusiastically advocate for and support the proposed legislation, it was inspiring to see a Congresswoman they know speak passionately about the issue.
Throughout the week, Como students were engaged in policy discussions and simulations with peers from across the nation and beyond in workshop groups. A total of 150 students represented the states of California, Texas, Louisiana, Utah, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, as well as Puerto Rico and Panama.
The annual adventure to Washington D.C. for Como AP Government students is made possible through student and school-sponsored fundraising activities, with generous scholarship support from individuals in the Como community. The Como Park Booster Club, Rice St. Athletic Club, and Friends of Como Athletics (FOCA) are also significant contributors.

Cadets from Como’s Marine Corps JROTC spent Feb. 21-23 at their annual Winter Cadet Leadership Camp in central Minnesota.(Photo by James Kirkland)

Fifty-seven cadets from Como’s Marine Corps JROTC spent the weekend of Feb. 21-23 at Camp Ripley in Little Falls, Minn. and Camp Shamineau in Motley, Minn. The Winter Cadet Leadership Camp included evaluations in the standards of cross-country skiing, ice wall climbing, rock wall climbing, hiking, horseback riding, winter survival skills, zip lining, broomball and even sledding.
Cadets meeting or exceeding standards in those or any of the other five activities earned a Distinguished Military Training Award (DMT). All cadets performed exceptionally well – rising to challenges and strengthening bonds. They returned to Como with great stories of adventure.
Family and Consumer Science teacher Courtney Gbolo was selected as a semifinalist for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award. Of 134 nominees, 36 were selected as semifinalists.
Ms. Gbolo teaches Culinary Arts and has developed an International Cuisine course that incorporates knowledge she gained from a grant to study at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She values the opportunity to create a classroom culture which allows students to explore and collaborate.
“Teaching CTE (Career and Technical Education) classes provide students with real-world opportunities to explore career paths,” Gbolo said. “I have former students who are thriving in fields that our programs have exposed them to, which is really rewarding.”

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Curious about latest Sholom Home site plan?

Curious about latest Sholom Home site plan?

Posted on 10 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

District 10 Como Community Council

Former Shalom development plans

By Michael Kuchta,
Executive Director

Developers have officially filed for parking and density variances so they can convert the former Sholom Home property into rental apartments. Midway Community Group LLC wants to renovate the former nursing home at Midway Parkway and Snelling to create 150 rental apartments. Variances are necessary because the developer’s plan does not meet the city’s existing zoning code for the property, which is zoned RM2 multi-family.
The zoning code presumes 1,500 square feet for each unit. After adjustments, that means code allows a maximum of 82 apartments, not the 150 units the project envisions. The plan calls for 22 studio apartments, 97 one-bedroom apartments, 24 two-bedroom apartments, and 7 three-bedroom apartments in the existing buildings. All apartments would be less than 1,100 square feet.
For that mix of units, the zoning code also requires 166 off-street parking spaces. The developer’s latest architectural site plan, however, provides only 80 spaces: 51 surface parking spots on its Canfield side, plus 29 new indoor spaces. That means the project is 86 parking spaces short.
Therefore, the developer is seeking a parking variance of 86 spaces and a density variance to allow 150 apartments.
District 10’s Land Use Committee was scheduled to consider the variance requests on Feb. 10; any committee recommendations would go to the full Como Community Council board on Tuesday Feb. 18. (The board meeting, which is open to the public, is at 7 p.m. at the Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N.)
The city’s Board of Zoning Appeals is tentatively scheduled to hold a hearing on the Midway Parkway requests on Monday Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. in City Hall.
More details are available on the Como Community Council website: www.district10comopark.org.

Expand Your World
with 2020’s Sunday Series
The Como Community Council’s annual Sunday Series gives you six opportunities to expand your world, six Sundays in a row.
All the events are free, all events the events run from 1-2:30 p.m., and all events include presentations and plenty of time for Q&A. For full information, see the Como Community Council’s website: www.district10comopark.org. A quick rundown of this year’s Sunday Series lineup:
Feb. 23: Trash or Treasure. Unclutter your space, unclutter your life. With Laura Gilbert and Jennifer Victor-Larsen. Where: Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N.
March 1: “Minnesota Stories in a Changing Climate.” This film from Will Steger’s Climate Generation features six stories about how climate change already is changing our state. In cooperation with the Saint Paul Public Library’s Read Brave Documentary Film Series. Where: Como Zoo and Conservatory’s Visitor Center Auditorium.
March 8: Forgotten Como History: The 1917 Winter Carnival’s 500-Mile Winnipeg-Saint Paul Dog Sled Race. With Drew Ross. Where: Mount Olive Lutheran Church Fireside Room, 1460 Almond Ave.
March 15: Nature in Your Own Backyard. With John Moriarty, author of “Field Guide to the Natural World of the Twin Cities” and the Como Lake Turtle Study.
March 22: Old Media in a New Era: What’s the Future of Local News? With Kelly Smith from the Star Tribune, Tesha Christensen from the Midway Como Monitor, and Chuck Carlson from the Park Bugle. Where: Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N.
March 29: In Search of Justice: The Purpose and Promise of Bail Reform and Juvenile Detention Alternatives. With Ramsey County District Court Judge DeAnne Hilgers. Where: Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N.


Family homeless shelter?
Interfaith Action and Ramsey County are exploring the feasibility of opening a homeless shelter and day center for families inside the Minnesota Cameroon Community Center in Bandana Square.
“There are no solid plans, but it’s an exciting opportunity with lots of possibilities,” Sara Liegl, director of Interfaith Action’s Project Home, told the Como Community Council’s Land Use Committee in January. The groups are working out renovation and code requirements; costs; construction and operational funding; staffing; and logistical needs, Liegl said. Late summer is the earliest she envisions a shelter could open.
Ramsey County currently does not have a permanent shelter for homeless families. Instead, Project Home provides 40 beds a night in a rotating group of faith communities and schools. Families must move every 30 days. Project Home also operates a day center for families at First Baptist Church downtown.
The shortage of beds for families is mind-boggling, Liegl says: At any given time in 2019, there were at least 120 parents and children in Ramsey County on a waiting list for shelter.
The Cameroon Community owns about 57,000 square feet of space in the northwest corner of Bandana Square, in Energy Park. The space used to be a medical clinic. It still has more than 70 exam rooms with sinks, plus public bathrooms and other public space. The belief is that exam space could be converted into flexible, dormitory-style rooms. That could provide private space for 40-60 families of different sizes, and perhaps older women, Liegl says. Other space could be used for meals, showers, storage, laundry, and case management services.
“When we found out about the plight of the homeless families, the school children, it was heartbreaking,” said Christian Akale, a board member of the Minnesota Cameroon Community. “We hope the building will be part of the solution.”

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Briefs February 2020

Briefs February 2020

Posted on 10 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Erin Spry

Watershed district honors D10 volunteer
Congratulations to Erin Spry, who received this year’s Watershed Citizen Award from Capitol Region Watershed District. Spry voluntarily coordinated 2019’s Como Lake Cleanup. The cleanup, overseen by the District 10 Environment Committee, attracted more than 60 volunteers last summer. They pulled more than 200 pounds of trash from the water and the shoreline.

Hamline Hardware closing
After serving St. Paul’s Midway area for nearly a century, Hamline Hardware is closing its doors.
For the last 94 years the Hagen family and current owners Jim and Jan Gildner and their staff have strived to provide excellent products and outstanding service for the do-it-yourselfer and working professionals alike.
Hamline Hardware, now known as Hamline Hardware Hank, has been in business since 1926 when Walter Hagen started the business at its current location at the corner of North Snelling Avenue and Englewood Avenue. Over the next several decades two succeeding generations owned and operated the business, selling to the Gildners in order to pursue other ventures about 10 years ago.
Jim and Jan are now ready to retire and are conducting a storewide liquidation sale through March 28.

Murray Middle School’s Science Fair is known as the largest science fair of any middle school in the state. This year was no exception.

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Como_Iowa Caucus

Iowa caucus, history day, Urban Growler event

Posted on 10 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Como Park Senior High School

By Eric
Social studies teacher

Como’s AP Government students witnessed democracy in action at the Iowa Caucus on February 3. (Photo submitted)

Forty AP Government students witnessed democracy in action at the Iowa Caucus on Feb. 3. The whirlwind political activity included a chartered bus ride past the Iowa border and into Cerro Gordo County. After a brief stop and walk in Clear Lake, the field trip reached its destination of Mason City.
Following dinner at The Pizza Ranch, we headed to the Republican Caucus site. A meeting was scheduled with the Republican County Chairperson to learn about Republican Caucus procedures and to ask student-generated questions. After another Republican speaker, and observation of caucus-goers filing in, we hopped on the bus to arrive for the beginning of the Democrat Party Caucus. Iowa Democrats use the unique procedure of standing together for their preferred candidate, and being completely public about their support. Then there’s reallocation for candidates who didn’t earn 15% of the vote. While complicated, it’s a vivid example of voting and political participation.
Student observations ranged from “it’s interesting to see the process for picking the president,” to “it’s way smaller and simpler than what I imagined,” and “there’s a lot of old people.”
Several students had never been to Iowa before, and were surprised to see such rural landscape and a lack of ethnic diversity. After about five hours of being on the ground in Iowa and interacting with its people, our bus headed north up Interstate 35, arriving back at Como by 11 p.m.
The goal in bringing students to the Iowa Caucus is to create a connection to the electoral process and inspire poltical participation going forward. Plus it’s a unique and fun memory. As a teacher, they may not remember my lessons about nominations and campaigns or our reading about separation of powers in Federalist #51, but they’ll never forget the Iowa Caucus – and how decisions are made by those who show up.
About half the AP Government students will be able to vote in their first presidential primary on March 3. Another 20 will be serving as Ramsey County Election Judges. Hopefully an evening in Iowa can help lead to a lifetime of political participation.
History Day at Como featured the research and final products of 11th grade U.S. History students, and any student who desired to produce a history project in addition to their existing coursework. Students advancing to St. Paul regional competition include the following:
Individual Documentary – Wim Lenkeit for The Fall of the Berlin Wall. Alisaed Ali for Redoshi: Last Survivor of the Middle Passage. Kashia Vang for Loving v. Virginia.
Group Website – Sara Capone and MaiKou Her for The European Union. Hay Blute Paw, Htoo Baw and Dissel Moo for Genghis Khan. Lah Say Wah Hser, Naw Mu, Sumayo Yusuf for Edward Jenner’s Small Pox Vaccine. Johntae Hudson and Jahrese Adeagbo for Elijah Mohamed and the Nation of Islam.
Individual Website – Antonin Sequot for the Japanes Military Unit 731. Cerenity Khang for The 19th Amendment.
Individual Performance – Olivia Miller for Jim Henson and The Muppets.
Save the date! The annual Como Park Booster Club fundraiser at the Urban Growler will be held on March 22 from 3-7 p.m. For questions or ticket information, email comoparkboosterclub@gmail.com

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COMO HIGH: Art curator, Youth in Government, JROTC service

Posted on 10 February 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Como cadets from the school’s JRTOC program volunteered six hours of their time at Toys For Tots on Saturday, Dec. 14. (Photo by Eric Erickson)

Como junior Audrey Power-Theisen was a curator for a new exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. She worked with the museum staff to select and display the artwork for an exhibit in the Harrison Photography Gallery, which will run through mid-June.
Power-Theisen is an exceptional student who has also flourished in Como’s art department. She has studied Beginning Photography, Advanced Photography and is currently thriving in AP Studio Art. Her teacher, Mr. Jason McIntyre, nominated her to be a curator and was proud she was selected.
“Audrey is an amazing artist and this opportunity allows her to see the process that museums go through to choose and display art in a world class museum like the Minneapolis Institute of Art,” McIntyre said. “It is a very unique experience for a high school student.”
13 Como students participated in the Youth in Government Model Assembly program at the state capitol from Jan. 9-12. The program gives high school students from across the state opportunities to serve as legislators, judges, attorneys, lobbyists, government officials and media representatives in the sessions that are conducted by the entirely student-led state government. It was an impactful experience for all of Como’s participants, organized by Ms. Liz Paone, who teaches in the social studies department and the Academy of Finance.
Forty-two cadets in the Marine Corps JROTC gave their time and effort on Saturday, Dec. 14 volunteering in the Toys for Tots holiday drive. The program was founded in 1947 by Marine Corps reservist Major Bill Hendricks. Como’s cadets have made service at Toys for Tots an annual event during the holiday season. This year’s project was organized and led by Junior Cadet Sergeant Eh Say Htoo.
The Como Park Booster Club recently announced the recipients of its grant awards. The following programs and clubs will receive financial support based on their competitive applications: The Technovation Apps Club, Como Park Future Farmers of America Club, Close Up Washington D.C., Ping Pong Club, Black Student Union, Link Crew, Youth in Government, Counseling Department, and the Cougar Journal – Como’s literary magazine.
The Booster Club grants help Como students expand access to a variety of programs, enhance and expand learning opportunities, gain leadership skills, attend events beyond the Como campus, and share their artistic expressions with Como Park High School and the community.
Prospective students for the 2020-2021 school year have been visiting Como throughout December and January, “shadowing” current students to see a day in the life of a Como student. If your student is interested in shadowing, contact Alexis Gray-Lawson who serves as a Parent Coordinator at alexis.gray@spps.org. Como’s Showcase Night, an open house to learn more about academic and extra-curricular activities at Como, will take place on Jan. 28 beginning at 5:30 p.m. (see ad on page 6 in the Monitor.)

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Como Community Council Corner December 2019

Posted on 29 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

By MICHAEL KUCHTA, Executive Director,

Upcoming District 10 Meetings
• Community Council Board Meeting: Tuesday Dec. 17
• Land Use Committee: Monday Jan. 6
• Neighborhood Relations Committee: Tuesday Jan. 7
• Environment Committee: Wednesday Jan. 8
All meetings typically begin at 7 p.m. at the Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton. Renters, homeowners, and other community members are always welcome to attend and participate. Whenever possible, agendas are posted in advance in the “Board News” section of District 10’s website.

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Library upgrade, choir, D.C. fundraising

Library upgrade, choir, D.C. fundraising

Posted on 29 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

by Eric Erickson

Como students performed “The Frog Princess” for the annual fall musical in the Cougar Forum. The cast and crew adapted well, moving their production to the forum while the auditorium was closed for remodeling. (Photo by Eric Erickson)

Physical improvements to the library at Como Park High School have also been accompanied by programming changes. Ms. Sheri Chaffee-Johnson, a veteran English teacher at Como, has transitioned to become the school librarian.
Chaffee-Johnson has transformed the library layout into an open, welcoming environment capitalizing on natural light and creating places for collaborative work, various work stations, and quiet nooks for reading and studying. There’s even the aroma of fresh coffee from the Cougar Grounds!
Academy of Finance (AOF) students who wanted to design a small business created the coffee shop in the library. It’s student-run, overseen by AOF teacher Ms. Erin Colestock. Coffee, tea, lattes, cappuccinos, and hot chocolate have proven to be popular and add ambiance.
Another new library program is peer tutoring for all core subjects at various hours throughout the day. Plus, the collection of books and resources are getting an overhaul to reflect relevance and fulfill students’ literary needs.
The Como Park Choirs will present the annual Pops Concert on Monday, Dec. 16 in the Como Auditorium from 7-8:30 p.m.  The show will feature five choirs performing music from High School Musical, Shrek, Reflection, Alessia Cara and more. Admission for the Pops Concert is $2 for adults, $1 for students and senior citizens. 
On Friday, Dec.20, the choir will go on tour around the neighborhood to perform for elementary school students. The concerts will be held at Chelsea Heights Elementary and Como Park Elementary.
Advanced Placement Government students who will be representing Como in the national Close Up Washington D.C. program in February are raising funds to support their trip. Students will be bagging groceries for customers at the Roseville Cub Foods on Larpenteur Ave. from 10a.m.–8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21. The group already worked a successful Cub fundraiser on Saturday, Dec. 7.
Cub customers generously support the effort of the students with donations that help defray the expense of the educational adventure. Community members interested in financially supporting students in the Close Up Washington D.C. program can also contact the trip coordinator at eric.erickson@spps.org.
Middle school students who are interested in experiencing a day of Como Park High School are invited to shadow a current Como student. Parents of interested prospective students who would like to shadow or take a tour may register by going to spps.org/visitcomo.
The Cougar girls’ basketball team began the season ranked in the state’s top ten for Class 3A and held the #4 spot as the Monitor went to press. The team is playing an extremely challenging non-conference schedule in December with three games against top-ten teams in Class 4A, including large suburban schools such as Wayzata, St. Louis Park and St. Michael-Albertville. As for the St. Paul City Conference, the Cougars will be aiming to win their sixth consecutive title.

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Eggroll Queen Music Cafe owner overcomes obstacles

Eggroll Queen Music Cafe owner overcomes obstacles

Posted on 12 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

After she lost her hearing, Mai Vang turned to making eggrolls

first-time customer, Mrs. Reyn Martin shares a laugh with Mai Vang. “The food is great,” she said.

Eggroll Queen’s story began in a living room, grew in a food truck, and has now settled in the former Undeground Music Cafe space (1579 Hamline Ave. N.).
Along the way, local resident Mai Vang, who grew up in the Como area and now lives 10 minutes from the restaurant, has overcome her own hearing loss to become a minority, woman business owner. She runs Eggroll Queen Music Cafe with partners David and Helene Schultz.

What is it like being a person of color and woman entrepreneur?
The Eggroll Queen was starting out as a community volunteer event and evolved into a business. It was fine when I was still making egg rolls from my living room to sell them to few friends in the community. When the egg rolls start picking up, I realized I didn’t have the funding to properly operate the business. As a woman in the Hmong community, we don’t normally go out and approach potential investors for money. Besides, almost every family in the Hmong community knows how to make egg rolls.
Finding the proper financial to start a business was the biggest hurdle because I didn’t have anything to begin with and with my disability, my family income was also cut in half. I slowly build the business up from my living room to a food trailer built by my brother Cherxa, funded by families, friends, and the community. When my food trailer was caught on fire, I couldn’t afford another one. I was so fortunate that the community was pouring in with donations enough to get a food truck and get me back on the street again.
On the positive side, being a woman of color, it gives me the opportunity to introduce my food to other larger community because most of them have never had a good egg roll or don’t know how egg rolls should really taste like. They only get the down-graded version from other restaurants.

What challenges have you overcome?
Back in late 2013, I went deaf and everything I knew how quickly came to an end. I struggled to find a solution to get my hearing back. When I finally came to accept that my hearing could be permanent, I lost a lot of hopes and the will power to do the many things I used to do.
To keep myself from focusing on the problem I faced, I started going out to the community again and do what I can to help others that may have bigger problems. I was fortunate enough to find a group of very kind-hearted St. Paul Eastsiders that would go out of their way to help others. We did few fundraisers to help few of our community members that needed help using the egg roll recipe that my family has been doing for years.
As friends and community members start pouring in to get the egg rolls, I focused less and less on my personal problem and more on how I can contribute to the community the way I used to through my egg rolls.
It’s still very hard for me to have a normal conversation with everyone especially my husband and kids, but using technology, we are doing our best to move forward as a family. I still have to take few naps throughout the day on a daily basis to clear pressures from my head and ears so I won’t be so off balance when I walk.

What’s new at the restaurant?
At the Eggroll Queen Music Café, we now have a full kitchen to prep and serve our delicious jumbo egg rolls. We are also offering our special rice bowl dish.  Our goal is to make sure when families stop by for either lunch or dinner, they can get a full meal while enjoying live music from local artists. In addition, we upgraded all of our music equipment so local musicians have a good place and proper equipment to show off their talents to the community.
For years this coffee shop was a neighborhood gathering, we still want to be that. But additionally, we want to make the café at place for new, emerging, and established artists and the community. By that, we have a larger wall for artists to display their art and are rotating it.  We also have a lot of musicians who play here. We also realized that there is no place in the Twin Cities for writers and poets to read or perform their works. We want to be the place for them. We also hope to be a community meeting place, both for neighbors, and for special events.

What drove the changes and grand re-opening?
The former Underground Music Café had woodfire oven pizza and few other food selections when Eggroll Queen took over the business. I was so excited and was hoping to open our line of egg rolls within a month or two, but we learned very quickly that a lot of things in the café need to be brought up to code in order for us to sell our egg rolls and other food there.  It took us most of 2019 to get everything to work and now we are ready to serve the community.

How is the Twin Cities food scene evolving and where do you fit into that?
Personally, I feel that our Twin Cities food scene has changed a lot due to our very diverse communities. A few decades ago, when you are thinking about going to a restaurant, chain restaurants often come to mind and everyone settled for pretty much the same choice of food. Today, our community is filled with so many different communities, foods, cultures, etc.  Eggroll Queen is among one of them; however, our goals has always been focusing on the quality and how we can offer egg rolls to our community with the very same recipe that we would do at home. We want to make sure every bite is good to the last one.
Our restaurant is a very nice, cute place where family can come out for a good lunch or dinner and yet still feel at home.  Parents can read few books to the kids or playing small board games with their kids to strengthen their bonds. People can stop by for locally brewed coffee, beer or a nice glass of wine and enjoy live music from our local artists.
In the morning, you will see friends stop by for a quick meet up, engineer and police officers starting of their day with a cup of latte, coffee and laughters with friends. Ladies would round up their friends and come to share ideas, doing needle work, chatting and laughing together early in the morning.
Our employees know their customers and know what they want as customers enter the door.  With all of those fun and quality time together, kids and adults alike can have one or few scoops of ice cream before heading out.

What specials do you offer that are not-to-be-missed by local residents?
Our lunch special, the Queen Meal, is definitely something local residents should get.  The meal includes chicken or vegetable fried rice, one jumbo egg roll and a drink – soda, juice, or coffee.
I like to invite everyone to come and try our delicious food. Your support of getting three egg rolls and a rice bowl will help provide jobs for few employees, keep the café open for the community, musicians, and artists. See you soon.

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Foxtrot Burger Spot replaces Delicata Pizza

Foxtrot Burger Spot replaces Delicata Pizza

Posted on 12 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Foxtrot Burger Spot Co-Director of Operations Jahn Brink is a Como resident with the goal of making this restaurant his neighborhood beer and burger spot. (Photo by Terry Faust)

What’s new?
The biggest moves were changing from a gourmet pizza concept to a burger and beer forward neighborhood hangout. The meeting space downstairs has been converted into a game room with a TV, juke box, dart boards, and vintage arcade gaming.
What drove the changes?
We are very proud of the work and output that we achieved at Delicata. In this industry you don’t always get to choose when you close your doors. We had an exciting opportunity to breathe new life into this space and find a model better suited for a neighborhood go to.
How is the Twin Cities food scene evolving and where do you fit into that?
The Twin Cities food scene is exciting. There are so many talented players and operators in our cities. I think the fact that our food scene is growing helps the greater brand of the Twin Cities. It raises the standard for all of us. While we might be a humble neighborhood burger joint, we have a scratch kitchen and we use some really fun cooking techniques.
What does it mean to switch to a profit sharing model with your staff?
The profit sharing model was just a eureka moment. What better way to keep staff motivated and interested than the knowledge that they are directly impacted by the success of the business?
What’s your favorite thing on the menu?
It’s funny, all of our burgers are so great, but the Cry Fowl chicken sandwich is tough to beat.
What specials do you offer that are not-to-be-missed by local residents?
Monday – Trivia with Trivia Mafia; Wednesday – Pitcher Night $10 pitchers of any tap beer; Thursday – Date Night (1 pitcher of beer or 1 bottle of wine, 1 starter and any 2 burgers for $40); Sunday – Kids Eat Free (1 free kid’s meal with the purchase of any burger or sandwich)
What does it mean to you to be a neighborhood restaurant in the Como-Midway area?
Personally, I live in this neighborhood. I love being a part of the success of the restaurant and creating a space for our friends and family to go to.

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