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RIP East Lake Street’s Peppers & Fries

Plus e-bike brouhaha, trolls take over Detroit Lakes, and remembering Prince in today's Flyover news roundup.

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Good bar.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

East Lake Burger/Burrito Bar Down

For almost a decade, Peppers & Fries cooked up top-notch burgers and burritos from 3900 E. Lake St. in Minneapolis. Earlier today, the father-daughter duo behind P&F—Steve and Marie Frias—announced they'll be closing up shop at the end of the month.

"It's time for Steve to announce his semi-retirement, and Marie's return to a 'normal' life," their Facebook announcement reads. "Your laughter, loyalty, and love for good food have truly made Peppers & Fries special." Two important things to note here: 1) There'll be a farewell celebration on June 29 from noon to 7 p.m. featuring live music and tear-tinged burgers 'n' brews; 2) Steve still plans to keep slingin' burgs around town in the P&F food truck for the foreseeable future.

Our buddy Trevor Born at Longfellow Whatever got the scoop on this big East Lake shakeup, writing that the Frias family has roots in the restaurant game going all the way back to St. Paul's Boca Chica in the '60s. Steve and Marie ditched their day jobs to launch Peppers & Fries inside a long-vacant Super America in 2015; they'd go on to score accolades from City Pages and the Strib for their over-the-top specialty cheeseburgers—PB&J, Bankok, Quesadilla Crunch, etc. The Friases recently sold their building "to a yet-undisclosed buyer," Born reports.

"It's bittersweet," Marie tells Longfellow Whatever. "We've watched kids be born, families grow up, people pass away, and had staff and neighbors that stuck with us... It's been great, but it's time to have a social life."

E-bike Blunder

Who could've predicted that an over-hyped, statewide, first-come/first-served program to give away discounts on 1,300ish e-bikes could've cratered so spectacularly? Committed Flyover readers might remember this past Tuesday, when yours truly wrote...

How tricky will tomorrow's e-bike lotto be? Here's hoping not tricky at all, but we're not optimistic. In a perfect world, there'd be an e-bike in every pot, tossed out like giveaways to the corn lobby. But this is a Democratic state, baby, and that means you can expect means testing, forms, half-measures, and fine print up the wazoo to maybe, possibly score up to $1,500 toward an e-bike.

(If you were that annoyingly prescient, you'd annoyingly I-told-ya-so, too!)

Turns out the process proved tricky beyond anyone's wildest imagination, with the rebate website overheating after just 80 folks submitted their applications. Those remaining 1,220-ish partial rebates will be unloaded at a TBD date. The Minnesota Department of Revenue is blaming the developer it hired to the tune of $150,462; state Sen. Omar Fateh (DFL-Minneapolis), who authored the program, is directing complaints to the DoR. The bungled rollout is supplying ammo to free-market bozos like the Center for the American Experiment, who are rightly rubbing the state's nose in the messy saga, likening it to the disastrous 2013 debut of MNsure.com. (We promise to never link to them again.)

It is possible to spin some positives out of this, however. Clearly, with a reported 30,000 Minnesotans clawing at e-bike rebate opportunities this week, demand is high for (relatively) cheap alternative modes of transportation that could help alleviate the current climate crisis. If government can shell out massive $7,500 credits on (massively expensive and resource-heavy) electronic cars and trucks, surely the pool for e-bike cash can be expanded well beyond the current allotment of $4 million between this year and next.

Or, and forgive my pie-in-the-sky naïveté, maybe an ultra-rich country that's at least feigning interest in reducing greenhouse gases could give everyone a $2,000 e-bike, provided they want one. On the list of stupid shit the government bankrolls, that'd be near the bottom, IMHO.

Trolls: Not Just for the Internet!

If you're anything like my mom and dad, you love posing next to Danish artist Thomas Dambo's towering troll sculptures in Breckenridge, Colorado. Well, guess what: Minnesotans don't have to travel quite that far to enjoy his large-scale whimsy. Dambo's "largest [installation] to date" debuts Monday in and around Detroit Lakes, MPR News reports, and it'll feature a jumbo rabbit, a 36-foot troll, multiple mirrored portals, hundreds of birdhouses, and other Dambo creations made from recycled materials inside his Copenhagen workshop. Visitors are encourage to consult with the spoon-waving troll at Detroit Lakes City Park to obtain clues to the whereabouts of the other sculptures, all of which were funded by local businesses and philanthropists. “I go to great lengths to hide them because I want to show us all that trash is a treasure,” the artist tells MPR's Dan Gunderson, adding that the big bunny is the ultimate payoff. “You can only find [the bunny] if you can solve a riddle.” Dambo's work exists in 17 countries and across 19 U.S. states.

Happy Heavenly B-day, Prince

Prince has been gone for eight years, but we'll be damned if we stop recognizing the Minnesota music legend's birthday anytime soon. Prince Rogers Nelson would've turned 66 today, and let's commemorate the occasion by revisiting two high-profile Prince remembrances authored by our very own Keith Harris: this one in Pitchfork ("How Prince Changed Minneapolis") and this one in Rolling Stone ("Minneapolis in Mourning: A City Celebrates Prince"). But it's a Friday! Let's go out the way Prince would've wanted. No not this way, but with a fantastical, can't-make-this-shit-up Purple One anecdote, of which there seem to be an infinite number. Gotta wonder what happened to that lil black poodle!

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