Owner of Maple Grove’s 3 Squares: ‘The Darkest Days Are Behind Us’
Since 2008, Maple Grove has been home to 3 Squares, a restaurant that gives people a reason to come in at pretty much any hour of the day.
“It’s like your second kitchen,” said Stephanie Shimp, one of the owners of 3 Squares. “We want to be your second kitchen.”
Some come in for the food.
“One of the best things about 3 Squares that we like is the variety of the menu,” said Rachel Hovey, a 3 Squares customer. “I mean whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, I feel like we can always find something that fits.”
While others come in for their award-winning Freehouse beer.
“These beers with the orange, green, brown, yellow blue handles are all brewed in house,” said Shimp.
3 Squares is one of seven restaurants operated by the locally-owned Blue Plate Restaurant Company.
Shimp takes great pride in providing a neighborhood restaurant experience that keeps people coming back for more.
“I think we have great food,” she said. “We’re a good value, and I think we take care of people. We go to that extra step to make sure we know your name, or we know what’s going on in your life.”
Their efforts have helped them grow a loyal customer base, which has been important to keep the business running during the dark days of the pandemic.
“Yeah, we try to do our best to eat out as much as we could,” said Zach Hovey. “So we certainly are happy they’re back open and we can go to have breakfast like this.”
3 Squares’ breakfast is one of the things in which Shimp takes great pride.
“Not many people are going to make Eggs Benedict at home,” Shimp said. “I bet our Hollandaise will knock your socks off and you’ll come back.”
Rachel Hovey can certainly attest to that.
“The ham was perfect, and egg, and it was just yummy,” Hovey said. “So I can see why it’s a popular option on their menu.”
Yet even with the delicious menu options, Shimp can’t sugarcoat the challenges of the past year.
Surviving the pandemic
“It’s been hard,” Shimp said. “It’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve had to go through in business.”
State and federal assistance has helped in the short term.
In the meantime, the servers wear masks and goggles, they’ve switched to an all-digital menu and they have partitions dividing the seating areas.
Meanwhile, in the past month, Blue Plate has worked with Hennepin County to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to the entire staff.
“I’ve never seen so many happy,” Shimp said. “And happy tears too.”
With warmer weather ahead, and more people getting vaccinated every day, optimism is high that things will soon get back to normal.
“I feel like we’ve turned the corner and the darkest days are behind us, and we’re gonna get through this,” Shimp said.