The changing faces of downtown

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Meet Taylor Smrikárova (née Cooper) [Real Estate Developer]:

I’m a 34 year old real estate developer at Seward Redesign Inc. with no kids but a 20 pound cat named Percy. Although I postponed my wedding celebration three times due to COVID-19, I legally married my four-year-old boyfriend, James Smrikárova, last May. I am originally from Prince George County, Maryland. I also sit on the board of directors of CommonBond Communities, the City of Lakes Community Land Trust, the Commercial Land Trust Initiative, and the City of Minneapolis Zoning Board of Adjustments. Four years ago we decided to find a better city life, and within six weeks we had moved across the country to the Twin Cities, out of sight and without family ties or job openings. In the DC area, we left behind two jobs and two diplomas (each) and seven roommates between us.

2021 summer bucket list:

I look forward to outdoor festivals like Open Streets and Northern Spark, and the Green Day / Weezer / Fall Out Boy concert at Target Field.

The most interesting place in the city center:

Edwards Dessert Kitchen. Seriously, this bathroom is so beautiful.

Best park to read:

The small park under the avenue Hennepin bridge.

Most Underrated Attraction:

Peavey Plaza with its renovated fountains. A gem hidden in plain sight!

Burger of your choice:

Smack Shack’s Connecticut Lobster Roll.

Destination of the day off:

Ride an electric bike on the 3rd Avenue bridge and discover the new contemporary art exhibits at the Walker.


Meet Amy Krummen [Empty Nester]:

In July 2019, my husband, Stewart, and I sold our 14 year old home and moved from St. Louis Park to Encore in Minneapolis. One of the many things on my husband’s to-do list was to live downtown. It didn’t take long to convince me that this was a great location as we visited a seventh floor apartment that overlooked the Mississippi River. We were familiar with the area as we often cycled from our suburban home on Saturday mornings via the Cedar Lake Trail to the Mill City Farmers Market. Then after a coffee and pastry from one of the food vendors, we would return to the Greenway trail between Bde Maka Ska and Cedar Lake. One of our favorite places to go on a Sunday afternoon was a production at the Guthrie Theater, so crossing the street from the theater was like crossing the street of longtime friends.

Preferred night meeting place:

There are so many to list, and all within walking distance! Umbra for its delicious food and cool atmosphere, the Aster patio for its wonderful view and relaxed atmosphere, the Nicollet Island Inn for its historic and intimate charms and Zen Box for having the best take out to eat on the 12th floor terrace of our building!

Most Memorable Live Show:

Benjamin Leftwich at 7th St Entry, and Guys and dolls à la Guthrie.

Burger of your choice:

Beef purchased from Sunshine Harvest Farm at the Mill City Farmers Market and grilled on our own grill.

Destination of the day off:

Bike ride along the West River Parkway to Minnehaha Falls or across the campus bridge to the University of Minnesota agricultural campus.


Meet Jeffrey Bores + Michael Hawkins [Lawyer + Financial Operations]:

Jeffrey is the managing partner of Chestnut Cambronne PA, a Washington Square law firm, and Michael works in financial services at Target Corp. We have lived at Stonebridge Lofts for over six years and are currently renting out, with the goal of moving into Eleven when full. We also own taraNa Yoga, which is located at 38th Street and Grand Avenue South in the Kingfield area. All of our classes are currently online, so Jeffrey teaches from our downtown apartment. Jeffrey sits on the board of the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, and we (before the pandemic) saw about 90 theatrical performances a year in the Twin Cities and elsewhere (new theater festivals like the Pacific Playwrights Festival in South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California, and the Humana Festival of New American Plays at the Actors Theater of Louisville).

Choice of drinks:

For beer, Modist Brewing’s False Pattern and any collaboration between the Fair State Brewing Cooperative and BlackStack Brewing. For a cocktail, the boulevardier of JD Hoyt’s Supper Club (which goes very well with the Steak Spaulding!) Or a big well-watered martini on the terrace of the Monte Carlo.

Preferred night meeting place:

For now, our favorite hangout is at home: the meal kits from Jamie Malone’s Keep It Grand (formerly Grand Cafe). We splurge on the Big Kit for a week of dates or savor some of the home-made entrees like Beef Wellington with Bordelaise Sauce, Kugel Potato and Roasted Vegetables. For a special nighttime rendezvous: PS Steak. Get the Denver Cup and treat yourself to a Seafood Ride!

Hang up every day:

Runyon’s – for the chicken wings, of course.

Most Underrated Attraction:

East Town’s mini theater district. We are within walking distance to Guthrie, Open Book (where Ten Thousand Things performs), the Southern Theater (which hosts many theater companies), Mixed Blood (a true theater gem) and Theater in the Round.

Most Memorable Live Show:

It was February 20, 2020, when we saw the Minnesota Orchestra’s Grieg and Rachmaninoff concert schedule, with Tine Thing Helseth on trumpet and Eivind Gullberg Jensen on conduct. Rachmaninoff’s Symphony no. 2 was amazing.


Meet Alyssa Gogil [Registered Nurse]:

I am 28 years old and moved to Minneapolis from Manila, Philippines in 2017. I am a registered nurse and currently working as a field nurse coordinator for an organization located downtown. I love my five minute walk to work! I love living downtown with my husband, Aaron, and our two feathered friends, Samantha and Julien.

2021 summer bucket list:

To try all the restaurants on Eat Street, along Nicollet Avenue.

Basic groceries:

Trader Joe’s because I live above it, ha! It’s so convenient, and the staff have always been great. They go above and beyond, especially when we have been affected by COVID-19.

Hang up every day:

Starbucks in East End: kudos to Cody and his team!


Meet Théo + Sarah Erasmus [Solutions Engineer + Pediatric ICU Nurse]:

We are both 24, married and just moved from St. Paul to Minneapolis. Theo works for Apple as a solutions engineer and Sarah works as a pediatric critical care nurse (AKA, a quiet hero) at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. No children for us yet. Right now we have no excuse to travel, we love to travel!

2021 summer bucket list:

Biking from Mill City to Stillwater.

Burger of your choice:

Parlor (still a classic!)

Preferred night meeting place:

The kitchen and the Freehouse bar and JUN Szechuan.

Destination of the day off:

Hang around the Gold Medal Park and Stone Arch Bridge for spontaneous food trucks and jazz bands.

The most interesting place in the city center:

Guthrie Theater, Stone Arch Bridge, the rooftop terrace of The Vicinity Apartments (located in the Mill District) and US Bank Stadium overlooking The Commons Park.


This article originally appeared in the June 2021 issue of Magazine Mpls.St. Paul. Learn more about downtown Minneapolis, 2021 summer style, sponsored by the mpls downtown council, here.



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