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Food & Drink

LUSH Mpls Reopens with Biscuits, Drag, and LGBTQ Vibes

You just can't keep a good gay bar down.

10:58 AM CST on November 30, 2021

Coming to LUSH: Crystal Belle, biscuits, Jason Matheson, and much more!

LUSH is back, baby! 

No we’re not talking about the overpriced, transphobic soap and bath bomb chain. We’re talking about LUSH Mpls, the Northeast LGBTQ bar with a history of bottomless drink specials, drag shows, and murder. (I wish I was kidding about that last one, but I’m not.)

This morning it was announced that LUSH would be reopening, thanks to a new team at the helm: drag queens Andrew Rausch (Crystal Belle) and Jared Lawrence (Nikki Vixxen), biscuit maven Jennifer Lueck of Betty and Earl’s, and biscuit enthusiast Jason Matheson of FOX 9 and myTalk 107.1. That’s an interesting gang!

They purchased the 11,000 square-foot building for $2.6 million.

Lueck will be moving Betty and Earl’s, which is co-owned by Matheson, into the kitchen, where they’ll be serving the biscuits they are known for, as well as sandwiches and sweet treats.

“Not only do I own a restaurant centered around my papaw’s name and biscuits but having that restaurant inside of a venue that I’m a co-owner of is beyond exciting,” says Matheson. 

Meanwhile, Rausch and Lawrence will be in charge of entertainment.  

“I look forward to welcoming guests into our warmer and inviting space filled with vibrant colors, artistic details and textures, paired with great food and drink,” says Lawrence. 

The last we heard from LUSH was when it closed abruptly during Pride weekend in 2020. The news came as quite a surprise to staff, which included Rausch. The reasons cited included COVID, but also the owners had been looking to step away from the business.

Now, about that murder history:

In 2009, former romantic partners turned business partners Kelly Phillips and Ty Hoffman founded LUSH, to great success. Five years later, however, the two got into an argument about the bar and restaurant. Hoffman pulled over to a Holiday gas station in Arden Hills, where he shot Hoffman three times as he tried to exit the car.

Hoffman went on the run. A manhunt ensued for several months over the summer; Hoffman was eventually arrested at an Arby’s in Shakopee. He pled guilty to second-degree murder, and is currently serving a 25.5-year sentence.

After that tragedy, ownership went to members of Phillips’s estate. They eventually sold the business to Ken Darling, who added a dance floor, an extra bar, and lots of fun viewing parties and drag shows to the schedule.

While the new LUSH gang don’t have an opening date set yet, they do plan on being open Wednesdays through Sundays in the near future.

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