R.T. Rybak, The Gastro-Mayor?

Is Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak the most food-forward city official in the country? He’s probably a contender. A few choice food-focused excerpts from his State of the City speech: “In 2005, it took the City 79 days to issue a liquor license. Now it takes 31 days. In 2007, it took the City 42 days to issue a restaurant license. Now it takes 14 days.”
“One of our most successful tools is the 2% Loan Program. Last fall, we made our 1,000th 2% to Blackbird Restaurant, when we helped owners Chris Stevens and Gail Mollner come back from a terrible fire at 50th and Bryant to a new home at an increasingly vibrant intersection at 38th and Nicollet.”
“We also recognize that in a city where small food businesses once grew into General Mills and Pillsbury, the new food economy can also help build tomorrow’s jobs. That’s why we have helped start two community kitchens — Kindred Kitchen on West Broadway and Kitchen in the Market in the Global Market — to help home-based entrepreneurs take the next step toward commercializing their businesses and hiring employees.”
[While listing things made in the city:] “A growler of beer from Minneapolis’ newest brewery, Harriet Brewery, a new business that was made possible by a change in City ordinances.”
“I believe that similarly, the Legislature should make the changes in State law that will allow Surly Brewing Company to brew and sell beer in a new restaurant that I would like to see on a rejuvenated upper riverfront.”
(In 2009, we talked to Mayor Rybak about the future of food and water in Minneapolis.)

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