Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Caffeinated Solidarity Forever
Forgive a temporary abandonment of our staid, neutral journalistic values: Fuck yeah, Starbucks on Snelling Avenue in St. Paul! Following a 14-1 vote reveal on Wednesday afternoon, the shop at 300 Snelling Ave. became the first union Starbucks in Minnesota, Eater’s Justine Jones reports. “I’m elated—very happy we won,” barista Marshall Steele told Eater. “It feels amazing to be making that history, that we were the first Starbucks in Minnesota to unionize.” Despite nasty union-busting from the world’s largest coffee chain, workers across the country are absolutely kicking ass in their NLRB elections: So far, 35 stores have held elections and 32 of those have voted to unionize, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday. Over 150 shops have announced their intent to form unions with SEIU-affiliate Starbucks Workers United; click here for a recent update on all of the unionizing Starbucks in Minnesota.
The Vaccine Mandates… They Do Nothing!
Much hubbub was brewed up over the proof of vaccine mandates implemented this past winter by Minneapolis and St. Paul. To the vaccine hesitant, proving one’s vaccination status before entering an eating/drinking establishment was tantamount to living in Stalin’s Soviet Union. Maybe worse! But here’s the thing, MinnPost’s Greta Kaul reports: The oppressive, tyrannical state simply decided not to oppress via its tyranny. At all. There were complaints of restaurants and bars not complying, sure—27 in Minneapolis, 23 in St. Paul. But zero enforcement actions were taken by either city during those 22 days of menacing Big Brother overreach. Instead, Minneapolis opted for an “educational approach,” a city PR rep told MinnPost. When the gears of commerce are threatened, however slightly, you can count on government getting out of the way.
Midtown Greenway is Getting a Makeover, Again
For many cyclists, the Midtown Greenway redo was one of the biggest bummers of last summer. Usually when a road or a bike trail gets resurfaced, the result is a fresh smooth ride that makes pedaling feel effortless and delightful. But when the first leg of the Greenway project finished, we were left with a razor-burned, bumpy-ass mess. “First of all, they missed a lot of places,” Soren Jensen, executive director of the Midtown Greenway Coalition, told us in 2021. “Just from an overall aesthetic, for a professional-looking trail, it was kind of a mess.” Basically, it came down to cutting corners, using a thin slurry mix made from crushed rocks that made for bumpy rides, awkward pavement splits, and unfinished grooves. Now, perhaps thanks to a petition with 2,268 signatures, the Star Tribune reports that the project is getting a redo. When and how it will happen, however, is TBD.
Movie Magic Returns to Minnesota
When Jay Boller wrote this exhaustive oral history of Jingle All the Way, many of his sources pined for the era when Minnesota was a major player in luring Hollywood productions to our state via generous tax incentives. Former Gov. Arne Carlson, in particular, relished his ‘80s and ‘90s hobnobbing opportunities. It’s unclear whether Gov. Tim Walz plans to party with Ed Harris, but he certainly had the opportunity: Harris is among the stars finishing up shooting on Downtown Owl, an upcoming dramedy based on the 2008 Chuck Klosterman novel. (Two of Racket’s four employees recall that book fondly from their college days.) In addition to Harris, the film stars Lily Rabe, Vanessa Hudgens, and Henry Golding, plus locals Derek Hughes, Arden Michalec, and Emma Halleen. Downtown Owl is set in 1980s North Dakota, so barroom sets at St. Paul’s The Spot—one of the most underrated bars in town—make a whole lotta sense, aesthetically speaking. Additional filming locations include Independence and Elko New Market. Co-directed by Hamish Linklater and Rabe, the film could premiere as early as January, the Star Tribune reports.
This is a Peter Kirihara Production
We’re a sucker for a Steve Marsh profile, and his latest on Peter Kirihara—the man who made the North Loop what it is—is no exception. You may or may not know Kirihara as the guy behind Moose and Sadie’s, Bev’s Wine Bar, and Jetset; per Marsh’s assessment, he’s “an empowered multi-hyphenate: a successful homosexual-Japanese-American-from-East-Bloomington dude made good.” But two-thirds of his beloved North Loop businesses shuttered in short succession. First it was beloved gay bar Jetset after a new landlord bought the building, followed by beloved coffee shop Moose & Sadies, whose landlords refused to cut Kirihara any kind of COVID-related break. This spring, he’s rebooting Jetset in the old Honey space on East Hennepin, providing Mpls. St. Paul Mag with a great opportunity to profile the pioneering business guy with an innate sense of cool.