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New Lake Nokomis eatery 'The Painted Turtle' opening June 12

The new lakeside concession stand is working with local companies like Kramarczuks Sausage Company and Herbivorous Butcher to serve up snacks, sandwiches and salads.

MINNEAPOLIS — Hungry hikers, bikers and beachgoers now have a spot to grab food and non-alcoholic drinks at Minneapolis' popular Lake Nokomis.

On Monday, June 12, The Painted Turtle opened in the concession building formerly occupied by Sandcastle, which chose not to renew its lease last year after serving up snacks for the last decade.

The Painted Turtle, brought to Nokomis by the team behind Unleashed Hounds and Hops, officially opened Monday but had staff working during a soft launch last week.

So what's on the menu?

The casual lakeside restaurant is working with local companies like La La Ice Cream, Kramarczuks Sausage Company, and Herbivorous Butcher to serve sliders, walleye dishes, salads, and more.

Two things that won't be on the menu this season are beer and wine.

The Painted Turtle explained on its website that oversight of state law allowed alcohol to be served at the location for the last 12 years, a mistake that was realized after The Painted Turtle secured its lease.

Under state law, a facility needs 25 seats covered with a roof and three walls to serve beer and wine, the restaurant said.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board sent KARE 11 this statement Monday:

"The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, along with our new Lake Nokomis vendor The Painted Turtle, were surprised to discover that the building does not meet the State of Minnesota/City of Minneapolis’ requirements to serve beer and wine. This was especially surprising as the previous tenant was able to do so from the same facility. We are working with The Painted Turtle to remedy the situation and get the space in compliance as soon as possible."

-Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

According to a City of Minneapolis spokesperson, Minnesota’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division received a complaint about Sandcastle not having indoor seating in 2021 and a division inspector who responded found the restaurant to be permanently closed.

An AGED spokesperson also responded to inquiries Monday, saying in part, "To the best of our knowledge, the City of Minneapolis had worked with the Sandcastle to grant local approval of the license with the business owner agreeing to put up walls and provide indoor seating." 

She went on to say, "However, The Sandcastle did not follow through with the agreement. Before the city or state took action to correct the breach in contract, the Sandcastle went out of business."

The Painted Turtle owners say they hope to get licensed to regularly serve drinks by summer 2024. They say they now plan to build a structure similar to a three-season porch that would seat 25 people without fronting the construction bill. 

"We found out the Park Board had budgeted money for this park for capital improvements and so they shifted those funds to build it for us," co-owner Dawn Uremovich said.

Uremovich added that they plan to serve at least some drinks this summer by hosting events with nonprofits.

"We're going to do four events with nonprofits where we can do beer and wine," she explained. "We're going to have four weekends here starting ... mid-July where we're going to have nonprofits here. 51 percent of our profit from our beer and wine sales will go to the nonprofit here."

The Painted Turtle was approved for a five-year lease that started on Jan. 1.

The new restaurant is one of several eateries now open along the Minneapolis chain of lakes. Here's where else you can grab a bite by the water:

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board says city inspectors found that Bread and Pickle at Lake Harriet and the new Bde Maka Ska Pavillion are in compliance with state law. A spokesperson did not provide information on the status of Sea Salt Eatery.

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