Sing along with me!
It's Jim Wentzell Day/
Super Jim Wentzell Day/
Happy Jim Wentzell Day/
A state and federal holiday/
Have a steak on Broadway Day/
Drink up a Manhattan, HEY!/
AND THIS IS THE happy drinking song!
YES! The night of our collective hopes, dreams and vision arrived last night at Good Sports Bar and Grill. It was the simple, elegant, solid-proof-we've-turned-the-corner-in-NoMi vision of longtime Hawthorne neighborhood contributor Jim Wentzell: a good restaurant on West Broadway Avenue, where you can order a steak and Manhattan.
Jim Wentzell gave us that dream, the way tribes in ancient times might receive a prophesy from their oldest, wisest elders and the prophesy takes root in every mind: we can leave this hard and rocky place, pass through difficulty but arrive on the other side of obstacles. And on that other side there is a happy, safe, productive place with meat and drink for all. If we work hard, if we all pull together, we can get to that place.
We believed in it, gravitated toward it, worked at it. And last night...
...the vision became a reality.
In the photo above, former Hawthorne Board Chair Peter Teachout poses with his youngest child and Jim Wentzell.
Here are more pictures and stories from last night...
Social gatherings like Jim Wentzell day inevitably turn into opportunities for NoMi movers and shakers to socialize. Above, Sarita Turner (the Executive Director of West Broadway Coalition) and Council Member Don Samuels have an impromptu confab. What are they chatting about? I sure hope it's the problems at Hawthorn (sic) Crossings strip mall, where there is open drug dealing day after day. I'm just saying.
Realtor and historic home preservationist Connie Nompelis chats with Pat Carney. Pat took a bunch of great pictures which are probably already online. (Nompelis is prounounced No-bell-is, it's Greek)
Jim's almost-his-birthday-cake was provided by Cub Foods. A VIP at Cub named Ed Anderson probably had a lot to do with it.
Council Member Diane Hofstede made an appearance, sharply dressed as always. Above, she poses with "ladies man" Jim Wentzell and his lady friend. I hear they've been together for, like, 17 years or something? Jim has great taste.
The guy above standing next to Council Member Diane Hofstede is a real estate developer named "Swami." He has been the quiet man behind the scenes responsible for so much progress on this part of West Broadway. As far as I know, this is the first time his picture is being published or his name is being associated with all the wonderful work he's accomplished in the Hawthorne Neighborhood. Swami doesn't appear to seek the limelight at all. But this guy deserves our thanks and praise.
Mike Christiansen of CPED picked up the tab for Jim Wentzell. In the photo above, Mike continues to prove the ongoing Johnny Northside hypothesis that there's no family friendly way to prose with a Polish sausage. The sausage came from Pam Patrek, but was made by the husband of the person known on this blog as "the Polish woman." This sausage frequently shows up at various celebrations of revitalization progress in the Hawthorne Neighborhood, whether planned or impromptu.
As is usually the case at "revitalizer" events in NoMi, the smallest members of the neighborhood were passed from hand-to-hand so lots of folks could enjoy "baby face time." One of the owners of Good Sports bar commented that it had probably been a long time since the establishment was so family friendly that a baby was present. To which I replied, "Well, you mean a baby present that wasn't dropped off for Child Protective Services?"
Sherman Patterson--an aide to Mayor Rybak--poses with a friend. When progress is being made in North Minneapolis, Patterson often has his fingers in it behind the scenes.
The Teachout family loved the family friendly atmosphere at Good Sports. They had pizza with their kids, and then some virgin pina coladas; proving that "fun" is the first word in "fundamentalist."
JoyAnne Teachout thought she'd lost her purse and called the bar after leaving. Then she called back to say the purse had turned up. While the purse seemed to be missing, everybody looked for it, even City Council Member Don Samuels.
Peter Teachout had a conversation with U.S. Bank Branch Manager Mohammed Agoubi about criminal activity at Hawthorn (sic) Crossings strip mall, and what can be done about it. Agoubi also sits on the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Board of Directors.
One of the great guys who runs Good Sports.
Another great guy from Good Sports. Here, I was trying to get the secret 12-spice chicken wing recipe out of him. I couldn't get the recipe itself, but I learned it was invented in about 1992 at "All Sports" bar and offers had been made of up to $5,000 for the recipe, but all the offers have been refused. Incredibly, there is no catchy, distinctive name for the chicken wings.
Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?