A distillery cocktail room, two brewery taprooms, and a “modern taqueria” made this return to Logan Park something of a bar crawl. The first installment had included tacos as well, though without an accompanying margarita. (Even for me, 10:15am would have been a bit early.) Another, more substantial point of commonality between the two walks was seeing how the adaptive reuse of former industrial buildings co-exists with continued industrial activity.
The main route for this walk began at point A on the map (18th and Central Avenues) and ended at point B (14th and Central). More specifically, it ended on the second visit to the latter intersection, having first wrapped counter-clockwise around the area between 14th Avenue and Broadway. The red lines are forward-and-back spurs. All streets and avenues in this area are designated NE.
The triangular region bounded by 18th and Central Avenues and the railroad tracks is occupied by the sprawling Thorp Building, a 250,000 square foot conglomeration of wings and additions built in years from 1902 to 1956—the corresponding list of building permits goes on for page after page. Perhaps the best way to see how cobbled together it is, largely from structures running east to west, is in an aerial view. However, the photos I took also provide some sampling of the diversity. That includes also the photo I took at the end of the previous walk, which shows the northernmost of the east-west factory wings. This time we began with the office areas on Central Avenue, then followed the driveway to the rear of the complex.
The Tattersall Distilling cocktail room was a welcome stop for my companions and me, even if we had barely started walking. We only stayed for a single round, given what still lay ahead. I’ve enjoyed more of the offerings on other occasions. The most memorable was a class with cocktails paired to a lovely dinner by Quince Catering. There’s another of those coming up on July 15th and 16th; at the time of this writing, there are still tickets for the 16th.
The distillery’s production area is also in the building, so this isn’t a complete break with the the industrial past. Other tenants also include a mix of light industry with service and retail. The building’s history begins with the Thorp Fire Proof Door Company, followed by the Mechanical Development Department of General Mills, which did national defense contract work including on the Norden bombsight, and then Vic Manufacturing Company, which segued from dry cleaning equipment to air pollution control equipment.
Once back out on Central Avenue, as we neared 14th Avenue we passed a brightly painted fence including words such as integrity, courage, connection, responsibility, respect, hope, motivation, and tolerance. The mural is signed by the artists Shane Anderson and Kelly Anderson, but a news story explains that they were joined in the work by about 200 clients and employees of NuWay, “a non-profit organization serving individuals recovering from co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders.”
From 14th Avenue we turned north to examine another large reused industrial building, the Northrup King Building, a former seed-company plant now housing “the largest art complex in Minnesota.” Indeed, measured by floorspace it is larger than the mostly one-story Thorp building, though it doesn’t sprawl over quite so expansive a footprint. Our brief reconnaissance of the exterior came from the zig-zag red spur on the map, consisting of segments on Van Buren Street, 15th Avenue, and Jackson Street. We didn’t have a wide enough field of view to see much of the building as a whole until we were back on 14th Avenue, but being closer revealed details. For example, does anyone know what the hoop-like fixtures on the Van Buren side are? They look sort of like flower-pot holders, but that doesn’t seem fitting.
The western end of this stretch of 14th Avenue is at Quincy Street. Although our main route turned south on Quincy, we first needed to turn north for the spur leading onto Monroe Street via 15th Avenue. Scarcely had we turned north on Quincy, though, before it was time for another stop, this time for the modern taqueria Centro. One obvious difference from other taquerias I’ve visited is the decor, including the giant cross-stitch shown here, which was created by Youa and Wone Vang of Third Daughter Restless Daughter.
The tasty tacos in the preceding photo are chicken tinga (top) and nopales, lamb barbacoa, and lengua y cachetes (bottom left to right). In addition to the counter-serve Centro, there is a more upscale restaurant, Popol Vuh, in the northern portion of the building, which we viewed from the outside. I’ve dined with pleasure there before, most notably at a dinner paired with readings from Michael Bazzett’s translation of The Popol Vuh and enriched with music and puppetry. Measured either as an arts event or a dinner, this was among the most exciting I’ve experienced; I would definitely recommend watching for a possible reprise.
On the preceding walk, I had photographed three church buildings all within the single long block bounded by 13th and 15th Avenues and Madison and Monroe Streets. However, that was without walking the Monroe Street side of that block, which we filled in on this return trip. This turned out to add a fourth church to the collection, the Asamblea Apostólica de la Fe en Cristo Jesús. This building apparently dates from 1911, when it replaced the 1874 Emanuel Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church that was moved here in 1887.
Backtracking, we took note of Indeed Brewing Company and its taproom, which are both located in the Solar Arts Building across 15th Avenue from Popol Vuh. However, rather than stopping again quite so soon, we continued south on Quincy Street almost as far as Broadway before stopping at Able Seedhouse + Brewery. There I enjoyed a half pint of the copper-colored Propers pub ale, which initially impressed me with its malt before I took note of the balancing hops. Equally enjoyable was the food from the Animales Barbeque trailer out back: perfectly smoked salt-and-pepper spareribs with a side dish of red cabbage slaw and a smaller dab of kimchi. The sauce was also good—tart rather than cloying—though I preferred the ribs without it.
Able is in the smaller brown-brick building at the right of the following photo, which shows its position within the larger Highlight Center. The center is a second generation adaptive reuse, having previously been a lightbulb factory and then the headquarters of the Minneapolis Public Schools. Sticking up in the background is the Purity Oats mill, where General Mills produces the oat flour used in Cheerios. Once I turned onto Jackson Street for a spur, I was able to see this facility at close range, as shown in the second photo.
The Jackson Street spur led between Highlight Center on the west and the Waterbury Building on the east. I extended the spur onto 12th Avenue and from there onto Van Buren Street, which runs between the east side of the Waterbury building and a smaller building containing the Elias Metal Studio. I’m pretty sure my photo of the studio accidentally includes Lisa Elias herself, who arrived by bicycle as I was taking the picture. (I was too shy to introduce myself.)
Retreating from this spur, I finished up the main route by continuing on Broadway to its intersection with Central Avenue (elevated above the railroad tracks), then turning north as far as 14th Avenue. As I neared the end, I passed another of the neighborhood’s landmarks, Ideal Diner.