Blue Door Pub taps SE Como

The city hosted a neighborhood forum to discuss implications of the restaurant’s debut, including parking and its late closing time.

Co-owner of the Blue Door restaurant Jeremy Werner, far right, sits and listens as resident Joe Russell expresses his concerns regarding the new location in Southeast Como. The Como Blue Door is expected to open in February.

Sam Harper

Co-owner of the Blue Door restaurant Jeremy Werner, far right, sits and listens as resident Joe Russell expresses his concerns regarding the new location in Southeast Como. The Como Blue Door is expected to open in February.

Benjamin Farniok

An area pub known for its eccentric burger will soon be firing up its grills near campus.
 
 
Despite brewing community concerns about parking and late-night business, Blue Door Pub’s owner said the eatery will debut a third location in Southeast Como by late February. 
 
 
Jeremy Woerner, co-owner of the Twin Cities restaurant chain, said Blue Door U will sit on Como Avenue Southeast near 15th Avenue Southeast.
 
 
During a city-led forum at Van Cleve Recreation Center Wednesday, neighborhood residents discussed the project. Feedback was mixed, as some voiced excitement for the arrival of a new popular restaurant, while others speculated that it could worsen traffic and parking congestion along the already well-traveled business corridor.
 
 
At the community meeting, city officials said site plans include 27 parking spots, tripling the nine required by municipal codes. 
 
 
Joe Russell, a Southeast Como landlord, said more cars could make it harder for his residents to find a place to park.
 
 
But added traffic from Blue Door U could boost patronage for other area businesses, others at the meeting countered.
 
 
Dan Nelson, owner of Nelson Auto World-University Service, said customers might park their cars for service at his business and walk to the restaurant for food while they wait.
 
 
Russell said he also takes issue with how an establishment that will sell wine and strong beer and seat up to 80 people could fit into the family-friendly image he hopes to rebuild for the neighborhood.
 
 
Others said they worried that the pub’s 2 a.m. closing time could draw crime to the area.
 
 
Co-owner Woerner said the more lights and foot traffic could actually serve to keep crime down, he said, as would security cameras inside and outside the building. Woerner said police officers with whom he met about the upcoming opening told him that they liked the idea of a late-night business for the area.
 
 
“They were actually the ones who said, ‘You should go for 2 a.m.; you really should,’ ” he said. “The loudest people, it seems, are the ones who have never been to one of our locations.”
 
 
Como Avenue business owners are eagerly anticipating their new neighbor, said Tom Vaith, who owns the building that will house the new pub. 
 
 
Vaith, who is also overseeing the contracting for the restaurant space, said the establishment’s local reputation will drive customers to the area, as well as give University of Minnesota students a distinct dining option for visiting family.
 
 
He said that after a tanning salon shuttered, the space had remained vacant for two years. While a number of businesses could have taken the spot, Vaith said, he kept the space open specifically for a Blue Door Pub location.
 
 
“The neighborhood wants Como Southeast to be noticed? They will be noticed now,” Vaith said. “Everybody knows the Blue Door.”