Sub-Zero restaurant has a new weapon to even the odds against local competition — beer.
Business has been slow since the establishment opened in June. Owners Alex Davis, Gary Davis and Jim Helvig attribute low sales to a lack of alcohol — almost a necessity in campus hangouts, they said.
After almost four months in Minneapolis’ license investigators’ offices, Sub-Zero’s permit to sell beer finally came through. Tuesday marked the first time beer poured downstairs at 412 14th Ave. S.E. since The Gopher Hole closed in March.
At first, the owners didn’t consider serving alcoholic beverages; they wanted to cater to students under 21 years old with video games, pool, darts and food. But their decision forced them to turn away several potential customers who just wanted a beer.
Though owners applied for their license in July, compounding problems in the licensing office constantly pushed back an approval date.
The major delay stemmed from a lack of sufficient parking to support a 3.2 beer license, said license inspector Laura Boyd. Despite this problem, Sub-Zero had friends on their side to push the approval through council.
“Sub-Zero and Crazy Carrot are some examples of the Dinkytown Business Association’s attempt to work around the council’s parking rules,” said Barry Bosold, vice president of the association. “We are really trying to support business in Dinkytown,” he said.
Now that beer is a mainstay at the establishment, the true test begins. If business still doesn’t improve, Sub-Zero will close its doors before the new year.
“If you get known for not having beer, it’s going to take a while for people to realize you do have it,” Alex Davis said.