Muddy Waters is moving...and becoming a restaurant

Categories: Coming Soon
Muddy Waters sign.jpg
Muddy Waters iconic coffee cup will float down the street this spring.
We always thought Muddy Waters could endure anything. The longtime 24th and Lyndale coffee shop has survived its customers through their punk phases, rave phases, and boho phases for more than 20 years. It even survived a BMW crashing through its plate glass windows. But on August 1, the owners received a notice that they couldn't endure: Their landlord was raising their rent a whopping 66 percent.

Fortunately, the shop's owners, Sarah Schrantz and Danielle DePietto, decided to make the most of the situation and move Muddy's, as well as expand it. The Hot Dish talked to Schrantz to get the scoop.

Schrantz and DePietto are the shop's third set of owners, having acquired the business in April of 2008. The shop was in dire financial shape back then, Schrantz says--"It was so close to bankruptcy when we bought it"--but they improved revenue by adding more food items, which soon surpassed coffee sales.

But DePietto, who has cooked at several iconic Minneapolis restaurants, including the old Loring, New French Cafe, and the Vintage, could only do so much with Muddy's menu. All items needed to be simple enough to be made by one barista, who was also serving coffee, using only a toaster and a microwave.

The two realized they'd have to take on a lot of debt to move the coffee shop, and it would be an uphill battle in a category that had grown much more competitive in the past two decades. "In Uptown there's literally a coffee shop on every corner," Schrantz says.

But the owners had long been interested in opening a restaurant/bar, so they decided that if they were going to take a small risk, they might as well take a big one. And they've already begun the process of converting 2933 Lyndale, the building just north of Lyndale Tap that's owned by Jon English, into Muddy Waters Bar and Eatery.

2933_Lyndale.jpg
http://jonenglishhairspa.com
Muddy Waters' future home--currently "a hot mess"!
With the help of a third partner, Patrick or "Paddy" Whelan, Schrantz and DePietto are preparing to move into the 3,900-square-foot space, which English was formerly using as storage, and converting the courtyard between it and English's production studio into a patio. ("The patio alone is bigger than our entire customer space," Schrantz says of her current, 950-square-foot digs.)

In case you're concerned about a Minneapolis institution changing its stripes and developing a look as slick and polished as a $75 haircut, Schrantz wants to assure Muddy's fans that the new space will have "the right amount of rough edges and character." In fact, she described the former barn-cum-garage that lacks heat and air conditioning as simply "a hot mess." There's a concrete floor, a timber ceiling, walls made of concrete block that's been "painted and chipped away at 50 times" and "electrical fuses that say 1942 on them."

Needless to say, the project will be a complete build-out. But when it's finished, the owners are planning to have a coffee bar in front, a 35-foot bar, an open kitchen, and a private dining room that will seat about 10 with huge barn windows that will open onto the patio.

Starting at 7 a.m. the coffee bar will serve drinks and breakfast sandwiches, and the rest of the space will be open for lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks. As for the decor, Schrantz says that, like the current Muddy's, it's not going to match. "It's going to look like an amazing party happened there 80 years ago."

Schrantz describes the menu as American bistro, offering everything from beef carpaccio and tenderloin to fried chicken and French fries. Schrantz says she believes the concept will create another option for Lyn-Lake diners without stepping on any of their neighbors' toes. Compared to the sports bar-esque Lyndale Tap and the more upscale, about-to-open Heidi's, "We'll be somewhere right in between," Schrantz says.

If all goes as planned, the shop will reopen in early April. "We're scared and we're elated," she says.

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25 comments
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hezelcrowns

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Matsfan8
Matsfan8

You knew it was just a matter of time.  I've got tons of quarters and I think you know who it is.  If there's anything I can do to bring back Arkanoid cocktail version game to your neew digs , please let me know, seriously.  I never loved anywhere as much as the old place where dogs were welcome (now I doubt they are now).  The clientele and especially Danielle.  Love you guys.  Loyal customer since 2002.    And yes, it's SID.    a/k/a   Tony.p.s.       I believe Sara may the backbone  -  no oversight on my part. p.p.s     I'm man enogh to admit I'm a little weary of a new place.  Maybe I'd feel more invited if I saw at least 30 'mats pictures/quotes/grafitti       and of course....   The be all and end all -  "arkanoid cocktail versio (sitdown game.         Sid (GOD of ARKANOID). 

hezelcrowns
hezelcrowns

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dannypmc2001@yahoo.com
dannypmc2001@yahoo.com

Please keep saumer as a barista....she is hotter than ga asphalt...i wish I had balls enuff to ask her out...she seems cool

Tom Tom
Tom Tom

Sounds like hell. Do you know how many sober people support coffee shops, and they're turning it into a bar?? Good luck.

Sarah
Sarah

awesome! i'm so excited to see in all unfold. i know it will be great!

Hutton Doppleganger
Hutton Doppleganger

Oh Rachel, its sad when business-senseless people don't read their leases closely, nor when "journalists" neglect to do any proper work.

Greta
Greta

It all sounds amazing... can't wait to watch the progress. I'll be there for coffee, an egg sandwich (then lunch, happy hour, and dinner) and the best neighborhood company the day of the move! Yay Muddy's!

Greta
Greta

It all sounds amazing... can't wait to watch the progress. I'll be there for coffee, an egg sammich (then lunch, happy hour, and dinner) and the best neighborhood company the day of the move! Yay Muddy's!

That Guy
That Guy

So, how long before the space is bought and turned into a hipster-douchebag bar full of drunk morons that weave off the sidewalk and make you slam on your brakes? Sauce II anyone?

Poppa Jacks Pizza
Poppa Jacks Pizza

muddy waters. I'm thinking that's the swill they clean her dishes in. oh! an american bistro - that would mean IHOP or TGIF, gosh they have INCREDIBLE onion rings!!

433
433

Ah, I remember in 1995 when they charged $3 for a plate of microwaved Spaghetti-Os.

Ooh, and their banning paying customers from playing cards.

Was is City Pages or the Twin Cities Reader that awarded 24th and Lyndale "Best Corner to Drive Out of Control at a High Rate of Speed in a Southeasternly Direction" in their Best of the Twin Cities issue? And that was BEFORE the car actually did!

Drew
Drew

Please stay open late (1 AM!)

mcblog
mcblog

hopefully the old location turns into a trader joes with a full time traffice cop outside.

bridget
bridget

This sounds really cool - hopefully their old location won't turn into a vacant building...

Matsfan8
Matsfan8

Trader Joe's ?!    Really?

433
433

No, it was in the early 90s, so it was one of the big two.

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