We’re in the midst of a big week for Rochester restaurants and bars.
Five West Kitchen + Bar, the much-anticipated “New American” restaurant on Rochester’s west side, opened Wednesday morning at 7, and by this weekend, with fingers crossed, La Vetta should have its doors open on the seventh floor of the H3 Building downtown.
Both are a few months late to the finish line, but from what I’ve seen and heard, it will have been worth the wait.
Five West is the new venture by the owners of the Loop Restaurant and Bar downtown, who have three other restaurants in the Twin Cities, hence the name. At 7,800 square feet, with an elegantly flashy look and seating for about 220 inside and another 100 on the patio, served by an outdoor bar, this will be a big deal in the Rochester dining world.
Among other features, it’s open for breakfast, a time of day that the nearby Rooster’s Barn & Grill had to itself until now. That will be one big thing that sets Five West apart from the pack, says John Buck, general manager and part-owner. “It’s being open 18 hours a day and accommodating people at all times of day,” he says.
Having a new hotel right next door and another nearby doesn’t hurt, either, and John says Five West will be catering to their needs, as well as venturing into the catering world — in fact, they’ll be catering a wedding party for about 400 people on the Peace Plaza Saturday.
About their outdoor bar, which will be one of the great happy hour attractions in town: There are only a few places in town that have anything like it. Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon near Miracle Mile has one on its deck, and a few other places such as Cowboy Jack’s and the Tap House have bars that face both inside and out. But you’ll have to check out the patio yourself to see why this is going to be big.
Regarding La Vetta, Scott Foster of Nova Restaurant Group said last week that they were putting the finishing touches on that airy space high above downtown and they should be ready to go this weekend. The seventh-floor patio has a sweeping view of Rochester west of Broadway and a great panoramic view of Soldiers Field Park.
Though it’s associated with Terza on the main floor of the new Andy Chafoulias-developed building — and Terza and La Vetta now share a Facebook page — Scott says the lounge will have its own look, identity, menu and live entertainment to boot.
Both Five West and La Vetta could be game changers for Rochester nightlife.
Foraging for a parking spot
If you’ve checked out Forager Brewery at Kutzky Market when the dinner bell is sounding, you know it’s tough to find a parking spot nearby. The parking lot is small and tends to be full, as is the curb along Ninth Avenue Northwest, by Kwik Trip.
Where to park? Let’s start with where not to park. I wouldn’t try an after-hours spot in the lots at Joe’s Auto Care, Aquabase Plug, G & J Body Shop or any other nearby business. You can follow Ninth Avenue around to the frontage road, or as savants are now doing, park in the Barlow Plaza lot, which may not be kosher, though it’s wide open after 8 p.m.
Ceiling panels and blacktop at LTS
If you’re a fan of LTS Brewing’s taproom, you’ll be glad to know they’re adding sound panels on the ceiling to keep the noise down. It’s a fairly spartan, warehouse-type space, which is part of its charm, but the noise can be lively when it fills up.
You might also like to know that the gravel parking lot is due to get some blacktop next week.
The taproom is at 2001 32nd Ave. NW and is open from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.