While Bloomington Avenue in South Minneapolis is mostly single-family and duplex homes, there are small stretches of unique and colorful businesses. Lots of street corners offer super places to eat, shop and visit.
5204 Bloomington Ave.
The restaurant Hot Plate, a local institution, is not widely known outside the Hale neighborhood, even though it’s been serving customers for more than a decade. There is no place quite like it. The walls are decorated floor to ceiling with paint-by-numbers oils from the 1960s, macramé and novelty figurines, giving it a vibe somewhere between hipster hangout and small town diner.
When the original owners, Sam Beberg and Carrie Lewis, first planned an opening, they wanted to name it “Hot Dish” but were blocked because another restaurant called “Haute Dish” had secured the name. They switched gears and Hot Plate was born.
Hot Plate acquired a new owner, Carmen Santana, a little more than a year ago. Santana added Taco Fridays and has plans to expand the space, she says, probably before Thanksgiving. But, she didn’t change much else, and the customers, old and new, still come in for the highly rated diner style food.
This is strictly a breakfast and lunch place (except for taco time), rated tops for breakfast in Minneapolis. Try the biscuits and gravy, with sausage and wild rice gravy, the pumpkin buckwheat waffle, the fried egg sandwich, the chicken fried steak and, of course, the wonderful caramel pecan rolls.
Hot Plate opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 2 p.m., and on Friday, reopens from 5 until 9 p.m. for tacos.
Hale Family Dental
5201 Bloomington Ave.
Dentist Adam Podratz opened his Hale Family Dental on Bloomington Ave four years ago, acquiring it from another retiring dentist, Dr. Brandenburg.
After graduating from dental school in 2001 he practiced in Wisconsin and in Colorado before moving to the Twin Cities four years ago, to Hale, his wife’s childhood neighborhood. He became a dentist because, he said, “I wanted to go into the medical field and like the idea of fixing things.” He likes, he said, treating all ages from kids to seniors.
His advice to patients for healthy teeth is prevention. “Regular maintenance and prevention – get your teeth treated when problems first start so you won’t have bigger problems in the future.” He is an advocate of conservative treatments to help preserve healthy teeth over the course of a lifetime.
5157 Bloomington Ave.
Since opening six years ago, Cheryl Ohlin’s cozy vintage shop carries repurposed home and garden decor, gifts, clothing and jewelry. But this charming shop is more than a simple antique store. It’s a destination for the increasing number of fans. “It’s an occasional shop,” Ohlin says, open only five days a month with each opening an event, with specialty items by local artists, and a chance to discover new items.
When the shop isn’t open, Ohlin is busy hunting and gathering new items for the shop. “I like the hunt,” she says. “It’s fun to find something unique. I like that a lot of our customers call this their happy place. They love to come in and see what’s new.”
August’s open dates are the 8th through the 12th. On Sept. 15, Urban Cottage will be holding a Saturday Flea Market, sponsored with the cooperation of the next door Masonic Lodge, with 15 vendors, including food trucks, music and other entertainment.
Open Wednesday Noon – 7 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Friday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cake Plus-Size Resale
5155 Bloomington Ave.
Cat Polivoda wants to make buying plus-size clothing not only more affordable but stylish, filling a void in the Minneapolis retail clothing market. And, she wants to do it without the usual stereotyping. A sign on the wall states the store’s rules of conduct. No gender policing, no food shaming, no criticizing appearances, it says.
She carries high quality previously owned clothing from women’s size 14 and up and men’s clothing with waist sizes starting at 44 inches. “Everything is mixed on racks,” Polivoda said, in order to push against gender rules for clothing. The clothing skews to the high-end but the prices do not.
This year, City Pages awarded Cake the title of Best Boutique.
Open Tuesday – Friday Noon – 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday Noon – 4 p.m.
Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine
3761 Bloomington Ave.
Chef Marla Jadoonanan, a native Trinidadian, learned to cook her island’s traditional foods starting at age 8, when her recently widowed father sent her and her sister to learn to cook from the women in the village. The cuisine combines techniques from India, Africa, Latin America and France, using the island’s available ingredients. “Healthy creole flavors,” she calls them. The most popular choices at her restaurant are the curries (chicken, beef, pork, fish, shrimp, tofu and vegetables), the Jamaican jerk and the oxtails.
The food is good enough to have featured her on the Food Network and recently, local food celebrity Andrew Zimmern, a huge fan of Marla’s, has come to her defense, because it is unclear how long she’ll be able to stay at the Bloomington location.
The building’s new owner, she says, has been making moves to move her out. There have been steep hikes in her rent, harassing emails and vandalism to her sign. The restaurant’s air-conditioning was stolen and then the wall was resealed. So far, there’s no proof on who did this. She has a GoFundMe page in case a move is necessary. https://www.gofundme.com/save-marlas-caribbean-cuisine.
For now: Open Tuesday – Thursday 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. & 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., Friday – Saturday 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. & 5 – 9 p.m.
Glad Creations Quilt Block
3400 Bloomington Ave.
For more than 42 years, the shop on the corner of 34th Street and Bloomington Avenue has quietly served a small but dedicated and inspired group of quilters. Nancy Raschka-Reeves has been a quilter since her mother, who will celebrate her 100th birthday this year, made and sold colorful fabric purses in her home. “The person who sold me fabric had three quilt shops. I ended up teaching there, and sold my mom’s purses.”
Now, Susan Dyer, Raschka-Reeve’s business partner, is giving customers a choice of hundreds of 100% colorful cotton fabric, quilting and sewing supplies and their own exclusive line of quilt patterns. The shop also offers classes, including traditional hand techniques and sewing machine work. It’s worth a trip to see some of the truly impressive quilt art displayed at the store.
Open Monday, Wednesday – Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesday 9:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.