Stadium Village businesses hope for ordinance change

The move would allow Minneapolis restaurants to expand outdoors more often.

Fans react to a United States goal against Portugal, at Nomad World Pub on Sunday.  The Nomad World Pub  received a permanent expansion of license for the duration of the World Cup to show games and host food trucks.

Holly Peterson

Fans react to a United States goal against Portugal, at Nomad World Pub on Sunday. The Nomad World Pub received a permanent expansion of license for the duration of the World Cup to show games and host food trucks.

Ethan Nelson

When Minnesota Vikings fans pour out of TCF Bank Stadium this fall, an expanded Stadium Village could be waiting to feed them.

Some restaurants in the area plan to take advantage of a proposed city ordinance change that would allow Minneapolis businesses with liquor, beer and wine licenses to expand their premises outdoors for more days each year than previous rules allowed. 

“This is a chance to keep Vikings fans here,” said John Abdo, president of My Burger, which has a Stadium Village location. “We want people to know that this is a great place to hang out, too.”

Previously, the ordinance allowed alcohol-serving businesses to get temporary outdoor expansions for 12 days each year. But if the amendment passes, they’ll be able to apply for a waiver to expand for longer. The City Council will vote on that measure Friday.

My Burger plans to serve food and beer in its adjacent parking lot during Gophers and Vikings games, Abdo said.

“This is great because now we can do any and all events [outside] instead of having to pick and choose,” he said.

No business has come close to exceeding the 12-day limit, said Linda Roberts, assistant manager of business licensing for the city, but area business owners were acting proactively when they approached the city with concerns that they might exceed the limit when both the Gophers and Vikings play on campus.

“This is just a way to get businesses some extra revenue,” said Ward 2 Councilman Cam Gordon, the ordinance’s author.

Other restaurants in the city have taken advantage of the existing outdoor expansion ordinance.

For the duration of the FIFA World Cup, the Nomad World Pub on the West Bank applied for a monthlong expansion of its license to televise each soccer match on an outdoor Jumbotron and host food trucks and Brazilian dancers.

If passed, the policy would be implemented citywide in an attempt to help businesses that may suffer from the Vikings’ temporary move to Stadium Village. Downtown business owners hoping to recoup revenue they would normally receive from Vikings games traffic are looking to make up for the loss with the help of the expansion ordinance, Roberts said.

“Businesses across the city also wanted to have this opportunity because they’re on the light rail line,” she said. “[They] want to do more things to attract game-goers to where they used to start off the games.”

Whereas Vikings fans are used to hitting downtown bars and restaurants postgame, this fall will offer them the chance to see the University area in a different light, said Stadium Village Buffalo Wild Wings manager Josh Nienow at a public hearing June 17.

“We’ve been doing Gopher events for a couple of years now without any incidents at all,” he said at the hearing. “It’s not just a positive for Buffalo Wild Wings; it’s for the community.”

A related ordinance also up for City Council consideration this week would increase the number of days that the owners of commercial parking lots in Stadium Village can use their spaces for event parking from 15 to 24 days. The proposed ordinance would also allow that limit to be waived in certain cases.

“This [ordinance] is more geared toward the Vikings and Gophers games because it is defined in an area that’s right around the TCF Bank [Stadium] area,” Roberts said.