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Union Features Restaurant With Retractable Roof

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(credit: CBS) Natalie Nyhus
Natalie Nyhus joined the WCCO-TV team in January of 2011. She anchors...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The people behind Crave, Urban Eatery and the new Figlio have another concept coming to downtown Minneapolis.

The corner of Hennepin Avenue and 8th Street will soon be home to a new restaurant that will literally blow the roof off Minnesota dining. It’s called Union and has something we’ve never seen in Minnesota: a retractable roof.

The owners had to travel all the way to Turkey to find this roof design that truly is open air.

The new restaurant and lounge is going into a spot that was once home to a Burger King, Snyder Drugs and, most recently, Shinders.

“Union was a culmination of the experience of dining and entertainment combined.  We wanted to bring something special and iconic to the twin cities,” said owner Kam Talebi.

Well into construction, this three-level concept will open its doors the week of Nov. 19. The intended audience will be those who want to defy Minnesota weather.

“When we looked at doing this, we wanted to be able to operate without weather challenges,” Talebi said.

Retractable roofs typically exist on places like ball parks, but usually use beams or a trellis system. Not this one.

“It’s sort of like an accordion,” Talebi said. “It opens up and closes up in a couple of minutes and allows us to provide this outdoor-indoor experience throughout the year in a weather-controlled environment.”

The novelty comes at no small cost. The roof will be worth $1 million dollars, but Talebi thinks the payoff will be priceless.

“If it’s snowing, you’re having a great dinner looking at the IDS.  In the summer, you’re dining under the stars for a true outdoor experience in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.”

Union will have three levels. In addition to the roof, the main dining room will seat just over 200 people. The downstairs will have a lounge called Marquee, which will have a separate entrance to cater to the nightlife crowd.

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