Author Archives: Chris Schommer

Pepitos and Parkway Theater Acquired, New Restaurant Tenant Announced

MINNEAPOLIS, MN, February 14, 2018


Pepitos restaurant and the Parkway Theater, two popular institutions located in the Field Regina Northrop neighborhood of South Minneapolis, have been officially acquired and are scheduled to re-open in June 2018. Pepitos Mexican Restaurant, located on the 48th Street block of Chicago Avenue South, enjoyed a long and revered 46 year-run as a fixture in the neighborhood under the ownership of Joe Minjares, who also owned and operated the adjacent Parkway Theater. Due to a serious illness, Minjares had to close Pepitos Restaurant at the end of 2017, though its nearby deli on Nicollet and 46th Street remains.

Enter local investor/entrepreneurs Ward Johnson and Eddie Landenberger, who live in the neighborhood and saw the potential to renovate both the restaurant and theater, in an effort to bring new life into these two establishments. Both Johnson and Landenberger are longtime fans of Pepitos, and Johnson, in particular, has a special connection to Pepitos. “My wife and I had our first date at Pepitos. And fittingly in 2001 it’s where I proposed,” said Johnson.

After an extensive remodel, Johnson and Landenberger will continue to run the theater as a classic/indie movie and live performance venue. “Our goal is to restore the Parkway Theater to its former glory and bring new energy to the space through renovation, curated movie and speaker series, contemporary chamber music and more,” says Landenberger, a veteran of neighborhood redevelopment projects in South Minneapolis.

As for the restaurant, the pair found another family-owned, neighborhood institution to take over operations. El Burrito Mercado, a fixture in St. Paul’s West Side for 36 years, will open El Burrito Minneapolis in the space formerly occupied by Pepito’s. El Burrito Mercado is led and operated by Milissa Silva-Diaz together with her sister and niece, which makes it a 100% women-owned Latina business. Fittingly, according to Silva-Diaz, the bar portion of the restaurant will carry a theme featuring prominent Latina entertainers, artists, and influential women. Like it’s St. Paul counterpart, El Burrito Minneapolis will feature an award-winning menu of authentic Mexican cuisine, a take-out deli, as well as their popular tamale-making classes.

Minjares, for his part, is happy to be handing off the torch to people with deep connections to the neighborhood, and to his restaurant. “It’s bittersweet to say goodbye,” says Minjares. “But I feel like I’m leaving things in good hands, and there’s a bit of serendipity to be handing over the reins of the restaurant to another family-owned Mexican restaurant with a long history in the Twin Cities.”

Plans for the renovation of the Parkway Theater and the opening of El Burrito Minneapolis are pending approval of all necessary plans, permits, and liquor licenses.


Eddie Landenberger, is a commercial real estate developer, broker and property manager with extensive experience serving arts organizations and non-profits in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Eddie currently serves as Vice President at the Land Bank Twin Cities, overseeing acquisitions and property management of a diverse portfolio of urban properties. Prior to the Land Bank, Eddie spent several years as a business broker and economic development project manager developing restaurants and creative arts spaces in Minneapolis. As an active arts patron, he is strongly connected to the local arts community through Kate Nordstrum, his wife and music curator of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series. He has an engineering degree from the University of Minnesota.

Ward Johnson has over 20 years of experience in business operations and entrepreneurship. As owner/CEO, he guided local pet food manufacturer Sojos ( from a one-man operation to a manufacturing leader in natural pet products, until their ultimate acquisition by WellPet, LLC in January of 2016. He currently serves in a mentoring, consulting and investing role for local start-ups and seed stage companies. He attended the University of Minnesota and has a BS with an emphasis on Entrepreneurship and Marketing from the University’s Carlson School of Management.

Milissa Silva-Diaz, a Mexican-American, is a passionate diversity advocate with a vision to unite teams through culture, food and music – while infusing a good measure of business savvy. She is the eldest daughter of immigrant, entrepreneur parents, Tomas and Maria Silva. Milissa is most known for her innovative leadership at El Burrito Mercado, the multi-million dollar Mexican & Latino marketplace & restaurant, which employs over 80 staff members in St. Paul. Before taking on her role as El Burrito Mercado CEO and partner- owner, along with her sister Suzanne and niece Analita, she pursued other experiences which heightened her level of education and professional experiences in areas of private label foods, Latino entertainment promotion, and corporate experiences with companies like Target, Supervalu, and General Mills. Milissa currently serves on the board for Latino Chamber of Commerce and is a current board member of the St. Paul Festival & Heritage Foundation. She was recognized as the 2009 recipient of Minnesota’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce “25 on the Rise”.

The Neighborhood celebration RESCHEDULED to Saturday, June 17

The Neighborhood celebration has been RESCHEDULED to Saturday, June 17 due to weather concerns.

Field Regina Northrop is commemorating 52 years as a neighborhood, and once again we will celebrate with an event for friends and family at McRae Park. Our annual spring neighborhood celebration kicks off at 11 a.m. at McRae Park.

From 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. there will be activities at the park, including a variety of musical entertainers, games of chance, face painting, kids games, and of course, ice cream and fabulous food. Food truck vendors will be on hand serving a variety of treats. There will be plenty of food choices for everyone!

On stage, we have a program of family-friendly live music and dancers. Join us on Saturday, June 17 to celebrate with your neighbors!

Keep track of the event by visiting or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest information. This event will take place on this date – rain or shine. We will provide alternate location in case of rain on June 17.

Social Media Coordinator advertisement

The Field Regina Northrop Neighborhood Group (FRNNG) is seeking a temporary social media coordinator to help promote neighborhood events and information social media platforms (primarily Facebook and Twitter) and our web page. This contract position is funded for three months. This person or group should be able to help develop existing content from our print newsletter and new content from other sources to effectively communicate with residents and business online. Coordination between the FRNNG webpage and social media will be important.

Applicants should have experience with Facebook and Twitter administration and communication strategies, as well as wordpress content editing and publishing. Please share examples of communication work on social media with your application in addition to a sample three month budget required for an average of 3-5 social media posts every week.

Send your application to by May 18th with Social Media Position in the subject line. A committee has been formed to review the applicants and will award the project no later than May 25thst.

4700 Cedar Ave Development presentation – Wednesday 2/15

In February the development group who is working on re-developing the abandoned gas station on the 4700 block of Cedar ave re-submitted their design to the Minneapolis planning commission for review after their initial proposal was tabled pending revisions. A diagram of the plan is shown here overlaid on the existing property. On Wednesday, February 15th the Architect in charge of designing the proposed redevelopment of 4700 Cedar will attend the Field Regina Northrop Neighborhood meeting to discuss the site plan and neighborhood concerns. The Presentation will take place at 6:30 at the beginning of the regularly scheduled monthly board meeting.

The meeting will take place  at the Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church on the main level. The address is 1620 E 46th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407. For more information please contact the office at (612) 721-5424

NRP Phase II Plan adjustment

The Field Regina Northrop Neighborhood Group (FRNNG)  Board of Directors voted on November 16, 2016 to add the following language and dollars to its NRP Phase II Plan Education Strategy 4.1.A.1 “Arts in the Community Project”.  Add the language, “Program will also include other community building, arts education strategies such as; Visual, Performing, and Multi-Media arts programs.”  FRNNG Board plans to allocate $10,000.00 to this strategy for future programs.

For questions or comments please email

46th Street repaving to begin September 29

This press release was provided by Hennepin County 

Starting Thursday, September 29, Hennepin County will begin repaving 46th street (County Road 46) between Lyndale and Cedar avenues. Crews have been active in the area prior to this date doing prep work.

The milling operations, or pavement removal, will be the first major activity. It will start on the west end of the project area and move east. In total, work is expected to last two weeks, but the schedule is weather dependent and subject to change.

Traffic will be maintained in both directions during this work, but will be diverted to either side of the roadway depending on where the construction activity is occurring. For your safety and the safety of our crews, please slow down as you travel through this area.

Thank you for your patience.

Creating safer lane configurations

Crews will begin by removing the top layer of pavement from one side of the roadway at a time. Next, they will lay fresh pavement, let it cure and then apply fresh paint markings.

When the new paint is applied, it will create a newly configured roadway to improve the safety and experience for all road users.

East of Nicollet Avenue: 46th Street will be changed to a three lane configuration with one traffic lane in each direction and a shared center turn lane. Bike lanes will be added on both sides and on-street parking will be removed.

West of Nicollet Avenue: 46th Street will retain two lanes with one lane in each direction. Bike lanes will be added in both directions and parking on the south side of the road will be removed.

Benefits of the new configuration include:

  • Narrowed lanes for vehicles to encourage safer speeds
  • Dedicated lanes for bicyclists
  • Pedestrian buffer space from motorized traffic provided by the bike lanes
  • Improved striping to help travelers navigate the roadway safely
  • Improved traffic flow from the center lane moving turning vehicles out of the way
  • Greatly reduced number of conflicts from vehicles maneuvering around turning traffic

Planners and engineers expect the new design will decrease conflicts and potential crashes by half.

Based on community input

The final design of this project was based heavily on input from area communities, residents and stakeholders. Many expressed an interest in creating a safer and more pleasant experience for all road users, especially pedestrians and bicyclists.

A working group studied transportation issues in this area and considered possible measures that could be implemented with the paving project. The group consisted of representatives from the Field Regina Northup, Kingfield and Tangletown neighborhood associations, as well as city and county staff. Local businesses and property owners were also engaged in this process. An informational open house was held in 2015 to gather input and help guide the planning of the project.

Thank you to all who contributed to this process!

Contact Hennepin County

Learn more about the project at 


Bob Byers, P.E.
Project engineer

See active projects on our interactive road construction map.

Learn more about how transportation is connecting people to places.

Pick Up a Free Home Radon Test Kit

FRNNG, in partnership with the City of Minneapolis, is offering residents free radon test kits during February for “Radon-Awareness Month.” The neighborhood group has received 100 kits on a first-come basis. The tests will be available for pickup at two times and locations. If you cannot drop by during these times, please contact the neighborhood office.

Sovereign Grounds Coffee Shop (813 E 48th St)

Saturday, February 6, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.


Turtle Bread Company (4762 Chicago Ave S)

Saturday, February 20, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.


Radon Cancer Risk

Radon is a health concern and is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. When breathed in, the radioactive particles from radon gas can damage the cells that line the lung. Long-term exposure to radon can then lead to lung cancer. Radon is found in nearly all soils and gets drawn into the home as a colorless, odorless gas that passes through a building’s foundations and can accumulate in the house.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends taking action to reduce radon in homes that have a radon level at or above 4.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). If your free radon test kit measures above this level, you might want to consider a follow-up long-term test to confirm your results or contact a radon mitigation specialist. The Minnesota Department of Health has more information on radon and mitigation speciliasts on their radon information webpage:

New Italian Restaurant Opens on Cedar Avenue

ie_entrywayThe weekend after Thanksgiving, ie – short for Italian Eatery – opened its doors at 4724 Cedar Avenue. This welcome new addition to the growing food scene in south Minneapolis has created a lot of buzz in the neighborhood.

Owners Eric and Vanessa Carrera closed on the property in the fall, and managed a complete remodel to the building that formerly housed Cork Dork and Carbone’s, which moved just across the street. The space, created in collaboration with Shea Design, is now a sleek, modern space along the lines of a stylish downtown restaurant, with the warmth and coziness of a neighborhood joint. According to Eric, “We wanted to create a place that people in the community could come to for a date night, or right off of a walk along the parkway.”


Eric and Vanessa Carrera, owners and operators of restaurant ie on 47th and Cedar Avenue.

Eric and Vanessa Carrera, owners and operators of restaurant ie on 47th and Cedar Avenue.

The Carreras have been grateful for community response. “We wanted to be a neighborhood place, but we’ve been blown away by the support we’ve received. So many people have come, and introduced themselves as our neighbors, and brought their friends,” he says. Dishes are Italian-inspired, seasonal dishes at approachable price points. Early favorites on the menu include dry-rubbed beef short ribs, a wild boar meatball and garganelli baked pasta, and charred octopus appetizer. There is also a small-but-mighty dessert list and a full bar, including specialty cocktails, and an extensive beer and wine list.


The Carreras are feeling satisfied about the launch of ie, and are already planning for new ways to serve the community, including weekend brunch service starting in January, a special Valentine’s Day menu, and hint at more to come, “We’ve got big plans for the spring and summer that the neighborhood will love!” For more information, visit 
or call (612) 223-8504
By Carrie Shidla, Member, Communications Committeeie_counter

46th Street Community Open House


46thIn the Summer of 2016 Hennepin County will be performing a “mill and overlay” of 46th street that will extend the life of the road. This process removes the top layer of asphalt and replaces it with a new smooth surface. During this process there is an opportunity to rethink the lane configuration of the corridor when re-applying the lane markings. This paving project could provide improvement opportunities for vehicular traffic, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Residents and business owners are invited to join representatives from Hennepin County, the City of Minneapolis, Field Regina Northrop, Kingfield and Tangletown for a community meeting and workshop to discuss the future of 46th street from Lyndale to Cedar Ave. This joint meeting will take place at the Field Middle School auditorium on Wednesday October 21st from 6-8pm. A map of the area will be displayed to allow posting comments and identifying problem areas. Staff will provide information on existing traffic volumes, crash history, and background on previous ideas for improvement.

Many community members have called for traffic calming measures on 46th street as the process of driving, walking, or cycling around this four lane corridor is often described as a “crazy” experience. Hennepin county officials recognize this and their data shows that 46th Street is experiencing a rate of crashes significantly higher than comparable streets. A working group has been established to study the transportation issues in this area and to examine actions which could be implemented with the paving project. The group consists of county and city staff members with representatives from the Field Regina Northrop, Kingfield and Tangletown neighborhoods.

423One option for traffic calming available to the County in this situation is what is commonly known as a “4-to-3 Conversion” where the current four lanes are converted into two single vehicle lanes heading east and west with a center turn lane. Similar projects have become very common around Minneapolis and have achieved the result of a more predictable and steady traffic flow, with a significant reduction of crashes and injuries. A local examples of this type of conversion is 50th street between Lyndale and France Ave, which was converted from a four to a three lane street in the early 2000s. This type of configuration reduces the dangerous weaving that often occurs when people must stop to make a left hand turn which is common today along many sections of 46th street. This is particularly dangerous to people crossing on foot who are often invisible to drivers passing by quickly on a four lane street.

Different sections of 46th Street present their own problems, from the hectic 35W ramp to the wide open “speedway” north of McRae Park to the calmer areas along the far east end of the corridor. Many cyclists must use 46th to cross the freeway and there may be room for bike lanes in a three lane configuration and 46th Street is listed on the Hennepin County’s master bike plan. Parking may be impacted for sections of the corridor. The County is studying these options and others, and is actively seeking neighborhood feedback on these issues. Many neighbors have already weighed in and you can too even before the October 21st meeting. Just send your thoughts, comments, and wishes to the FRN office at, contact us on Facebook or Twitter, or call the office at (612) 721-5424 and leave a message. Thank you to everyone who has already taken the time to comment, your input has been very valuable already.

Look for more updates on the FRN webpage and our Facebook and Twitter. Neighbors will also be receiving a reminder postcard closer to the October 21st meeting.

Additional information is available on the county website at: In the search box, type “46th Street Study”. Questions or comments can also be directed to the county and city staff members:

Hennepin County
Bob Byers (612) 596-0354
Kelley Yemen (612) 543-1963

Allan Klugman (612) 673-2743

Plants and flowers for 2nd Avenue

49thNeighbors:  As you may know or have read, the Field Regina Northrop Neighborhood Group (FRNNG) Greening Committee has been working to maintain the lands east and adjacent to the sound barrier walls of 35W South running from 42nd Street to 51st Street along 2nd Avenue South.  We have made a lot of progress in maintaining the lands (mowing) with some planting of perennial flowers & plants since May, 2015 to today.

The next phase of our maintenance efforts includes planting as many perennial plants and flowers along the wall to meet two goals 1) add some flower/color to the expanse of wall space; and 2) lessen the amount of land that will need to be mowed annually. With the cooperation of neighbors across several communities, we will make our first planting effort during the next month or so with a call for neighbors to split and donate perennial plants & flowers that do well in Minnesota’s climate.

Call for plants & flowers:  If you are splitting plants/flowers over the next month, please consider donating some of these to FRNNG’s Greening Committee for planting along 2ndAvenue; 2nd Avenue remains a primary thoroughfare for most who are entering or exiting 35W South.  We are looking for a variety of plants including hostas (sun-worthy) and other hostas; false indigo(baptisia); varieties of Bee Balm; Black-Eyed Susan; Aster, cone-flowers; Joe Pye; ornamental grasses, Asiatic Lillies, Lillies, etc.  While it is understood that these propagate over time, we are less interested in plants that are so invasive that we will spend our time, excising the overgrowth.  Of course, the Greening Committee welcomes all donations with some description of the plant’s needs (sun, shade, dry, soggy, etc.) – any added guidance or cautionary notes regarding donated plants is appreciated.  For plants or flowers that are best split in the spring, please keep FRNNG Greening’s needs in mind.  Send us an email of spring split and we’ll track back to you in spring, 2016. Email to

HELP IN DIGGING OUT PLANTS: We will help dig/separate plants/flowers for those who are not able to do so or would appreciate a little help. We’ll do our best to keep up with requests for help in the digging & separating effort. Please provide contact information & address, as appropriate.  Patience is appreciated. Email to

PLANT DROP OFF:  If you are able to drop-off plants, please do so to 205 East 48thStreet (between 2nd & 3rd Avenue South – Maroon House with orange door).  Plants may be left on the garage pad (signs will mark the place).   If you have difficulty in lifting or transporting, please call Tim Price 612-385-2297 or email to: Timis willing to help if you are traveling to his home to drop off plants if possible.