2.6.11

Sidewalk of the Week: 28th Avenue and 42nd Street

[Two spotted cows hang out on the corner of 42nd and 28th and gaze longingly Eastward. Why? Why not.]

One of the real tests of a walkable neighborhood is if you can go to your corner and find all the “basics," all the necessities that you might need in your everyday life. The idea being that your neighborhood streetcorner, the collection of shops gathered there, can stand in for the Walmart out on the freeway. This is the "old fashioned" idea that you can actually walk around your city in order to do your shopping. This is the idea that, only a half mile away, connected via sidewalk, sit a cluster of buildings run by business owners with actual names who will sell you milk or bread, or maybe there's a café that you can walk to from your house.

And of all the little corner clumps in South Minneapolis, there's nowhere that I've been that comes so perfectly close to having everything you need as the oft-overlooked corner of 28th Avenue and 42nd Street. Here you will find everything one could possibly need, and all in perfect proportion, and everything at near-ideal levels of human-scale and local ownership and charm and propriety. Yes, this corner has everything you need. If I was stranded on a desert island and could choose only one Minneapolis intersection to take with me, this would be the corner I'd choose.

[You can count on the sporting goods store if you require pants clearance.]

[This old brick one-story building holds both a grocery and entrepreneurial opportunity.]

You will find a bike shop that serves amazing coffee, the most charming little bakery with fresh loaves of bread, tasty cookies, croissants and muffins at can't-be-beat prices, a barber shop, a “chow mein” style chinese restaurant, a sporting goods store, a well-stocked hardware with a host of old dudes ready to answer any questions, a mid-sized grocery store, a bar with outdoor tables, a great selection of tap beer, and delicious burgers.

A typical visit to the corner goes like this: I went there to check out a bicycle but stopped and grabbed a croissant at the Baker's Wife, got a wonderful single-source coffee from the Angry Catfish, finally bought the basketball that I'd been meaning to get from the sporting goods store, and then read a book over a pint of beer at Buster's. While I was sitting there I witnessed one of the corner's more delightful economic rituals, as pair of bakers emerged from the bakery bearing large bags of fresh hamburger buns, walked around the corner, and delivered them into the front door of Buster's. That's about the most local supply chain possible.

[The Baker's Wife lady delivers buns to the burger-happy folks at Buster's.]


[A woman waits to cross 28th Avenue holding her bag of just-made Chinese takeout from Bill's Chinese Gourmet. Why Bill's? Why not.]

South Minneapolis is dotted with wonderful little commercial corners like this one, just about every spot where two streetcar lines intersected. But few corners can offer so much of what you need in so few store fronts as this corner. And that's why 28th and 42nd is this week's sidewalk of the week.

[A Baker's Wife is hands down the most charming bakery in Minneapolis.]

12 comments:

Reuben said...

Bill's Garden is fantastic and super-cheap. I highly recommend it.

One of the drawbacks of typical Grid networks (like in S MPLS) is that sometimes these pleasant commercial nodes can be hard to find.. at least for me anyway. They tend to blend into the neighborhood a little bit too much, know what I mean? I drove around in circles in S MPLS for a half hour once last December trying to remember where that darn sporting goods store was. Finally found it, but not before driving nearly the entire length of 35th, 38th, 42nd, and 48th streets. I guess that's what smartphones are for, huh?

Bill Lindeke said...

It's a little known fact that Bill is a very traditional Chinese name. My great-grandfather was named Bill and he was an ancient Chinese scholar.

Brian said...

I would say, the only corner in south Minneapolis that may have a slight leg up on this one is 48th and Chicago. But 28th Ave and 42nd St is fantastic!

vtuss said...

And if the long-rumored ice cream shop opens at this corner, it will be a bigger boon!

Anonymous said...

Sigh... this post makes me homesick!

Shameless plug: We are selling our lovely home, which is just a couple of blocks up 28th from this corner. If you are interested, please drop me a line - reid@reidster.net.

GED Online said...

It's garden is fantastic and highly recommendation about it, the only corner is South Minneapolis, but 28th AVE and 42nd Street is fantastic.

Dave said...

Also of note - Tom's Ballroom Dance Studio is on this corner. He has been giving us lessons for our upcoming wedding. Highly recommended to other South residents.

Anonymous said...

Also a city library is only a block away on 28th Avenue (Roosevelt Library).

Ann said...

You can also get your hair cut while your car is being repaired.

Jen said...

And you can get you spine aligned at Dr. Kori's chiropractic. He has walk in appointments for only $20!

Anonymous said...

I have grown up in this neighborhood. Busters is fantastic, the bakery has been around forever and its amazing. Bills is great! Enjoy the area!Get to Busters early!

Bill Lindeke said...

its amazing to think i only scratched the surface of this wonderful corner. it'll be nice when those empty storefronts see new businesses in them.