Basil Reopens After Temporary Closure

Seven weeks after abruptly, but temporarily, closing its doors, Basil has reopened with the blessing of the city of St. Louis Park and Hennepin County. The kosher New York-style pizza restaurant closed on May 4 and opened June 24.

Owner Peter Runge said the first-day response was very busy.

“We got some new faces in, and all the old faces,” Runge said. “The general St. Louis Park community, too. They’re excited across the street; they won’t have to see me anymore.”

The “across the street” Runge was referring to is St. Louis Park City Hall. Runge said he worked closely with the staff at the city to assure compliance.

“The city gave me the opportunity to get all the code work completed, and everything takes longer than you think,” Runge said. “The temporary permits expired, and we had to stop.”

Jacqueline Larson, the communications director for the city, said that all the requirements of the mechanical and electrical permits had been met on their inspection on June 22. Julia Selleys, the senior environmental specialist for Hennepin County – which gives the food license – gave her OK to open after her June 22 inspection.

The biggest hang-up was the ventilation hood. Runge ordered a new, custom-made hood to replace the one that had previously been there, which took five weeks to have built. He said his biggest takeaway from the experience of having to close was to work closely with the city and ask more questions.

“The city was really helpful,” he said. “Mostly, the concept was right. The age of the hood was the thing. If I researched it more we’d have gotten it right away and we’d have been done a month ago. There’s always something and you have to plan for it.

“Now we have to make sure the food tastes good and people are happy.”