Lake Wine and Cheese coming soon

Construction is wrapping up at 404 West Lake Street (at Grand Ave.), which means that Lake Wine and Cheese should be opening soon. No longer will Uptown liquor lovers have to rustle up cash to buy their beverages or battle Hennepin-Lake Liquor's notorious gauntlet of a parking lot.

We spoke with the new store's owner to get more details.

The former G & L Furniture store, which had been looking a little shabby of late, has been extensively remodeled this summer, and Lake Wine and Cheese owner Binh Le says he hopes to have the new shop open in about a month or a month and a half. Le and his family have a background in food/beverage retail and restaurants, operating the Arby's and Ben and Jerry's outposts at MSP Airport and the Metro Liquor Warehouse in St. Paul, along with a few other businesses around the country.

Le says that Lake Wine and Cheese will have a similar concept to Surdyk's or France 44, in combining a liquor store with cheese shop/deli/gourmet foodstuff retail. The Uptown neighborhood has several liquor stores (Hennepin/Lake, Hum's, Lowry Hill...), but no combination food/liquor shops within its bounds. "It's a good location," Le says. "The area needed something different than a regular liquor store."

The shop will offer spirits, wine, and beer--close to 1,000 craft options, he hopes. The cheese will be cut to order and the deli will offer sandwiches and such, plus gourmet foodstuffs such as crackers, chocolate, and prosciutto. Le says he's traveled extensively for business and hopes to incorporate some of the elements he's seen at other food and liquor shops to make Lake Wine and Cheese feel like a cozy, European-style market. When it opens, the shop will be retail only, but if business goes well, Le says he will deploy plans for expansion, which could include eat-in seating among other amenities.

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