Wine and beer OK for La Ceiba Bistro


On Tuesday, March 24, the City Council License Committee unanimously recommended approval of a “C-2 On-Sale Wine with Strong Beer license [that] shall permit amplified or non-amplified music by three (3) or fewer musicians.” for La Ceiba Bistro at 3500 Bloomington.  They satisfied the city requirement for four off-street parking places.  The full City Council approved the license on Friday, March 27.
Neighbors discussed the license on the Powderhorn and Corcoran e-democracy forum.  Although they had serious questions about hours, everyone was quite positive about the opening.  One reason for that is that Ephraim Eusebio, the owner of the building has been the eloquent spokesperson for the license.  Here is a typical exchange:
“Hola, neighbors!
“I just returned from a Q and A with Sara Lopez at PPNA and Latino immigrant women involved in their Appetite For Leadershp Program who have expressed some of the same concerns that have been expressed on this forum.
“This program’s events and meetings are all in Spanish and are designed to emphasize the role of women as positive change activators.  This free six-week course is open to Spanish-speaking Powderhorn residents, and once a week participants learn healthier ways to prepare staple Latin American recipes while visitors from the City of Minneapolis, Police Dept., financial planning, public and women’s health and others stop by to share info.
“This week Hector [Hector Ruiz, who will run the new restaurant] answered their questions and volunteered to come back and teach a class on Latin cuisine in the future. The intersection of food preparation, popular education and resource-sharing makes Appetite for Leadership a safe space for women to feel empowered. If you would like to join Appetite For Leadership program please contact Sara Lopez at 612-722-4817.
“Hector Ruiz answered all of their questions relating to hours, alcohol, jobs, food, health, philosophy, etc.
“Regarding the extended hours, he does not intend to be open before 8 a.m. or stay open beyond 11 p.m., but the way he explains how the permit works is that if he has the leeway he will not run into issues.  For example, if there is a special event or occasion once in a blue moon that goes beyond regular business hours, he can avoid any issues arising out of regulatory concerns.
“He says his hours would most likely adhere to Cafe Ena’s hours: MON – THU 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.; FRI 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.; SAT 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.; SUN 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
“All of Hector’s establishments are sit-down restaurants that do not cater to a drinking/bar crowd. He explained to me that that is his thinking behind the vestibule entrance, where diners walk into an experience, where they are greeted by a host and brought to a  table with glassware and cloth napkins.  Food is his life and he wants to deliver the best food at the most affordable prices possible to us!”
Mala Vujnovich wrote back: “Thank you Ephraim and Sara for meeting and discussing the concerns of neighbors. Especially the concerns of the Latino women who were feeling especially impacted regarding this business.   It is good to get the info out there so everyone knows what’s up. It will be a grand addition to the neighborhood.”
Earlier Ephraim wrote:  “Hello neighbors!  I’m just about to head out to appointments, but I will briefly address some of the concerns voiced here. La Ceiba Bistro will be an upscale South American, Mexican fusion soul food restaurant along the lines of the old El Meson on Lyndale and 35th. The  proprietor, Hector Ruiz, currently has three active successful neighborhood restaurants all in the southwest corner of Grand Avenue (Café Ena, Rincon 38 and La Fresca). Just Google Hector Ruiz chef and you will read about his accolades. All of these successful business nodes are seemingly challenged with parking but the philosophy behind small neighborhood restaurants is that it will draw from the neighboring community mostly. Just scanning the street this morning on a Sunday I counted at least 20 visible open spots for vehicles to park and this does not include the spots adjacent to the park on 35th Street. And developing this corner I wanted to attract the kind of business that would be safe for the neighborhood, add a positive vibe and have this node of 35th and Bloomington active after 6 p.m. when the May Day closes.  This new restaurant does not currently plan to be open beyond 11 p.m. Maximum seating will be 65 seats or under. Please visit any one of those restaurants in the near future to get a true feel of what excellent cuisine and atmosphere are headed our way!  Best, Ephraim.”
It helps that Ephraim lives less than a block from the business and has been active in the community for years.  A major reason the neighborhood supports the venture is their confidence that Ephraim cares about his community.

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