Imagine you're an aspiring restaurateur. You've weighed the risks, appointed a team of trusted talent, secured your funding, identified your target audience, and come up with a pretty solid concept. But then there's the whole property search, and that's where, realistically, you start having to make real compromises. Though the excellent and ever-inventive Haute Dish has managed to become a chic and thriving restaurant despite being essentially attached to Sinners Gentlemen's Club, it's still gutsy for a restaurant to set up shop next door to a strip club. But that is precisely what owners Chrissy Kabanuk and Bill Schweng did when they opened Maruso Street Food and Cocktails on Seventh and Hennepin, sandwiched between Barfly and the Lure Show Club, formerly the Skyway Lounge, an adult hideaway put on the map by Oscar-winning screenwriter (and former City Pages columnist) Diablo Cody when she regularly participated in amateur nights as research for her blog and later memoir. Though it's near a strip club, not in a strip mall, eating at Maruso is a little like shopping at Pier 1: Its going for a bright, global feel (whether achieved or not), the interior aesthetic is completely hodgepodge, and it's affordable enough for someone who has just moved into... More >>>