Are tip-free restaurants a full-blown trend at this point? At City Pages, Mary Jo Rasmussen notes the latest Twin Cities restaurant giving it a shot, this time in St. Paul: “ ‘I’m taking a big-ass risk,’ says chef Wyatt Evans, owner of Heirloom Kitchen & Bar in St. Paul. Evans thinks about this a lot. On a bright but frigid Minnesota morning, he’s driving toward Merriam Park to start prepping for dinner service and musing on his decision to make Heirloom, which opened in December, a tip-free restaurant. Opening a restaurant is always a risky proposition. Introducing the concept of a service charge in lieu of tipping doubles down on that risk. … ‘It would have been a hell of a lot easier to do what everyone else is doing,’ he says. ‘I’m sticking my neck out to say, “Can this be done?”’ ”
Iron Range’s problems are totally going to work themselves out. MPR’s Dan Kraker has a cheery view from the CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources: “Northshore Mining and United Taconite will stay idled through March, but an improving steel market should have those mines back running this year, Cliffs Natural Resources CEO Lourenco Goncalves said Wednesday in a surprisingly positive analysis. … ‘The so-called competitive threats that were present in this market have all but faded away,’ Goncalves told stock analysts during a conference call, adding that he saw an ‘opportunity to solidify our market leading position’ and improve profitability.” OK, then.
Today in trains. In the Rochester Post Bulletin, John Weiss writes about a derailment near Brownsville: “At least six cars of a Canadian Pacific train derailed overnight near Brownsville, and two fell into the Mississippi River, breaking through the ice. … ‘At approximately 10 p.m. yesterday evening, a southbound CP mixed freight train derailed 15 cars approximately 3 miles south of Brownsville,’ CP spokesman Jeremy Berry said. ‘There were no injuries and no public safety issues.’” And in the Twin Cities, MPR notes that Green Line light rail service is back in operation after being disrupted by a fire this morning.
Remember food trucks? A lot of you do, apparently — WCCO reports on a new top-10 list: “The food truck scene is still relatively new in the Twin Cities, but that didn’t stop one survey from ranking our trucks among the nation’s finest curbside eats. … The survey from Merchant Cash USA ranked Minneapolis as the seventh-best city in the U.S. for food trucks, just behind San Francisco. They surveyed customers and foodies across the country to find out their favorite spots.”
In other news…
Groundhog Day snowstorm coming our way? [Accuweather]
Given the way Uber can dictate to big cities like New York City, Moorhead never had a chance. [KFGO]
Bankruptcy for Verso Paper, which has a mill in Duluth. [Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal]
Your Twins Winter Caravan update: Sioux Falls edition [Argus Leader]
Congrats to new Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce interim chief John Stanoch [Star Tribune]
Interesting idea: change Minneapolis’ Hiawatha Golf Course into an ecological park/food forest [NationBuilder]