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The Receipt: How Much Money Minneapolis Makes on Park Restaurants

How much do Sea Salt, Sandcastle, Tin Fish, and Bread & Pickle make for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board?


Photo Courtesy of Todd Buchanan

As the weather gets nice, more of us are visiting the great restaurants of our Minneapolis parks. They really are good, too. (Look for my and Joy's revisit/review of Sea Salt in the July issue of Minnesota Monthly.) Tin Fish came first, then Sea Salt. In recent years, Doug Flicker's Sandcastle has done well at Lake Nokomis, as has Kim Bartmann's Bread & Pickle on Lake Harriet.

But just how well are we talking?

We can find out, because instead of paying monthly rent, these seasonal restaurants pay a percentage of their gross revenue to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB). The contracts stipulate that each restaurant must pay the board 12 percent of its gross revenue. And since this is public information, we can look into just how much money these places make annually. Bear in mind: "gross revenue," tallied below, comprises all the receipts coming in before the restaurants pay utilities, food costs, and staffing costs.

Sea Salt: $3,372,091 
Payment to MPRB: $415,462

Tin Fish: $1,405,126
Payment to MPRB: $168,915

Bread & Pickle: $1,342,301
Payment to MPRB: $167,922

Sandcastle: $787,012 
Payment to MPRB: $94,441

Pretty good for seven months of business, right?

Of course, the owners do have to outfit the kitchens. The lease with Sandcastle, for example, requires an investment of $526,000 into kitchen equipment and facility upgrades. Sea Salt–generated Park Board revenue amounted to $1.5 million between 2005 and 2013 (as they grossed $12.7 million over that period) but Sea Salt has also made improvements to the surrounding area. For the seafood restaurant's current lease period, expiring in 2023, Sea Salt has committed to spending $200,000 on built-in equipment, plus $600,000 on improvements to the site.

Bottom line: It's a win for the park board, it's a win for the restaurants, and it's a win for those of us eating at them.

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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