Loring Pasta Bar purchased by longtime managers; will relaunch as LRx

The erstwhile Loring Pasta Bar

The erstwhile Loring Pasta Bar Google

The Loring Pasta Bar will soon relaunch as LRx: Loring & Pharmacy Bar in Minneapolis' Dinkytown neighborhood. 

Three longtime Loring and Varsity Theater managers finalized a deal Monday to purchase the restaurant as well as the building, says Joe Henkin, who managed both businesses for 14 years. Henkin and his partners, Lynn Nyman and Joe Kennedy, plan to unveil their new venture on August 9. 

Henkin would not comment on the purchase price or Monday's abrupt layoffs

He did, however, spill some details about LRx. The new ownership team is currently updating the restaurant's aesthetics and overhauling its menu; the well-established music and dance calendar will remain unchanged. A young Bob Dylan lived above the Loring back when it was Gray’s Drugstore, hence LRx's pharmacological name. 

"We're excited for the relaunch," Henkin says. "We just need to add some accents and perfect the menu."

Having sold the Varsity for $2.51 million last month, Jason McLean -- the embattled former owner of the Loring and the Varsity -- has now completely divested from his businesses along the 1300 block of Fourth Street. McLean is alleged to have sexually abused five female students while he was an instructor with the Children's Theatre Company Co. in the 1980s, according to civil lawsuits filed in 2015 and 2016. 

Bad PR stemming from those allegations hurt business at the Loring and the Varsity, the latter of which will soon resume regular concerts and events. It's likely no coincidence that "staff owned and operated" has prominent placement on new signage from LRx. Henkin says LRx and the Varsity will maintain tight working relationships when it comes to weddings and events. 

Loring Pasta Bar originally opened in 2001; the Varsity Theater re-opened in 2005.