It's no secret Brooklyn Park has been working hard to attract new restaurants. Now, one of its newer locally-owned restaurants is starting to pick up steam with some good reviews.
At Gramsky's in Brooklyn Park, sandwich shop owner Jeannette Nevilles isn't afraid to tell you what sets her place apart.
"It's the Iowa flair," said Nevilles.
Born and raised in Iowa, Nevilles' country-style cooking pays homage to her roots with menu items such as a pork tenderloin sandwich and Iowa State Fair recipes, including an Italian Grinder sandwich you must order 24 hours in advance because Nevilles does not do soggy sandwiches.
"Everything is just fresh. You have to come in and order, and then I make it," said Nevilles.
Nevilles admits her restaurant location is challenging. It's hard to see, tucked back in a strip mall near Festival Foods in Brooklyn Park.
"This is where I had to start because I didn't have a lot of money, but it seems to be working," said Nevilles.
Heavy Table magazine recently gave Gramsky's a glowing review, calling the fried catfish, "Perfectly cooked and not the least bit greasy."
Good reviews and word of mouth go a long way for an independent restaurant.
"People tend to only notice when some big chain comes because they put all the marketing dollars in. And when you have a mom and pop store, they don't have a million dollars to throw at the marketing," said Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeff Lunde. "It's word of mouth, so it takes longer to build that up."
This year, the City of Brooklyn Park will step up its efforts to attract new restaurants of all varieties. It's lowering fees for business owners and working with brokers who pick restaurant sites.
"It's a misnomer to think a restaurant wants to be the only restaurant, restaurants like to be around other restaurants cause they tend to drive off each other," said Lunde.
At Gramsky's, the restaurant name is a nod to grandsons who call Jeannette Nevilles, "Gram." Nevilles' big job is getting others to know the restaurant name. She's confident, one visit is all it takes.
"Oh, I know they'll be back. Yeah, yeah, they'll be back," said Nevilles.
According to the Mayor Lunde, Brooklyn Park is averaging between five to ten new restaurants a year.
Alexandra Renslo firstname.lastname@example.org
February 5, 2018