We've heard of paving paradise to put up a parking lot, but paving a parking lot to put up a paradise?
When Bull's Horn owners Doug and Amy Flicker bought the Sunrise Inn in 2017, they inherited as part of the purchase the rear lot: a dusty dirt plot that the city wanted repaved.
“Frank had always been like, ‘Aw, they’ve been bugging me about it,’” Amy laughs of the former 3.2 bar's old owner.
The parking lot's repaved now—and Bull's Horn is throwing a fish fry this Saturday to celebrate completing the project.
If it seems weird to honor a place where you park cars, know that it's not just about a bunch of asphalt. The Flickers took the time and spent the money to build an eco-friendly lot that reduces stormwater runoff and decreases freshwater pollution. It's a celebration of their neighborhood—Bull's Horn is situated in the Minnehaha Creek Watershed Area—and to some extent the city of Minneapolis.
The couple wasn't sure when they bought the building exactly what paving and replacing the lot would cost, especially if they hoped to do it sustainably. Balancing city requirements with environmentally friendly plans—adding cisterns, putting in ground prep work for rain gardens and permeable pavement, using the pricey permeable pavement itself—that added up fast.
Before long, they were looking at a price tag of nearly $120,000, which is no joke for a fledgling neighborhood business.
Amy shouts out councilperson Andrew Johnson: “Being a new business, and trying to come up with those funds—and our intention of doing it in a sustainable way—his office was like, 'You can have a couple years.'”
They also got a $32,000 grant from Hennepin County for doing it sustainably. And since those funds don't really come in until the work's done—ya gotta put the money up first—customers came to the rescue too, raising roughly $7,000 with discounted beer punch cards.
“It was really helpful to have people be so supportive," Amy says.
Local small businesses have been helpful, too.
“We're partnering with Fulton beer and Coastal Seafoods and Fortune Fish, those guys have been interested and supportive of what we’re doing," Amy says of Saturday's outdoor bash. “And Fulton’s always interested in having a party—we were like, yeah, let’s celebrate the parking lot.”
In addition to fish from Coastal and Fortune and the Fulton beer tent, they'll have a DJ, plus plenty of games and family-friendly stuff. Doug’s judging a fish filleting contest; there will be live tattooing. There's even a fishing contest for those who want to compete in the days leading up to the fish fry (more info on that here).
You won't want to miss the seafood meat raffle courtesy of Coastal, either, which gets going at 6 p.m.
Parking Lot Fish Fry
Bull's Horn Food & Drink
Saturday, July 13, 4-9 p.m.
4563 S. 34th Ave., Minneapolis