For five years, Vitali Logman made Vitali’s Bistro one of the two Kosher restaurants to operate in St. Louis Park. But on Jan. 1, he closed up shop on Minnetonka Boulevard and relocated to the Hyatt Regency in downtown Minneapolis.
“We had realized something wasn’t adding up with the financials to make sure we’re not just staying afloat month to month,” Logman said. “Certainly there was a caveat we’d be open a certain number of days, being closed on Shabbat and the holidays. But we looked at books and decided it didn’t make sense.”
An expiring lease – and one that would be more expensive to renew – gave Logman the opportunity to move the bistro to a space considerably smaller. Where we could hold around 40 people on Minnetonka Boulevard, the new location is a small storefront on the skyway level with only a few tables. Even with the smaller footprint, it enables him to do everything he wants to do.
“We brought the crepe machines, we have baking space in the back,” he said. “It’s small, but what we need.”
He keeps the same hours that he did in St. Louis Park – 8 a.m-9 p.m. – and closes early on Friday because of Shabbat. He has a regular clientele from a nearby apartment building that connects to the skyway. He still gets some traffic later in the day from people on their way back to St. Louis Park. He also has a catering business that he still maintains, thanks to an agreement to use the kosher kitchen at the Hyatt. Both Vitali’s and the Hyatt’s kosher kitchen is supervised by Rabbi Shimon Perez – who also supervised Vitali’s in St. Louis Park.
Logman said he makes his own bread, bagels, pita, and wraps. The smaller storefront, which had been empty for the better part of 10 years, allows Logman to operate better.
“We’re more focused, more efficient, with a smaller footprint and less overhead,” he said.