More than two years after they purchased a forgotten industrial building from the 1930s, Andy and Kari Friederichs are in the final stages of preparing Rochester’s first modern food hall to open in June.
The Friederichs have done extensive remodeling to make the former Libby’s/Seneca building at 1232 Third Ave. SE into The Workshop, a classic-style food hall with six food vendors, a bar and an old-school men’s barbershop under the same roof. It stands across Third Avenue from where the main canning plant once stood.
The first step in launching the project is opening Workshop Barbers, a classic barbershop on the north end of the complex.
Andy Friederich, who will be the lead barber, plans to open his new shop on May 4. It will open with Friederich and another barber working the chairs. The Friedrichs' dog, Charlie, will also be a daily fixture in the shop.
The wood and tile setting of Workshop Barbers, along with straight razors and scissors by the old-school chairs feels like stepping back in time.
“This is a traditional barber shop,” he said.
A barbershop might not seem like a natural fit with a food hall, but the couple said they simply brainstormed what they thought Rochester needed and what they enjoy doing. While he is known for renovating apartment buildings, like The Parker, Andy Friederich said his real passion is being a barber.
“This is what I like to do. I love cutting hair,” he said.
Meanwhile, preparations for opening the food hall will continue. With historic photos and other touches throughout, the main food hall area will feature five restaurant choices.
Cob’s Kitchen: Named after the landmark Libby/Seneca corn cob water tower, Cob’s will focus on soups, salads and sandwiches.
Reid’s Pizza: The name Reid is a nod to Reid, Murdoch & Co., the original owners of what became the Libby/Seneca canning plant. It will specialize in Detroit-style pizza made in a rectangular pan with a thick, but not deep-dish crust.
Murdoch’s Place: It will serve up classic burgers and malts. The name also harkens back to Reid, Murdoch & Co.
Birdie’s Coop: Chicken will dominate its menu.
Julio’s Tacos: As the name suggests, it will serve up tacos and other South of the Border fare.
Kari Friederich describes the overall food offerings in The Workshop as “fast casual, elevated.”
The main dining area seats 300, with a variety of booths, high-top tables and cafeteria-style seating. The decor has a 1930s feel, with many historic photos of the canning plant. Four local artists are also painting murals throughout the complex.
There is also a central stage for live music performances.
The patio area out front will seat another 100 customers. Part of the outdoor seating, dubbed Charlie’s Patio after the Friedrichs’ chocolate lab, will be dog-friendly.
The Workshop Bar will serve a full selection of mixed drinks, wine and beer, including brews from Rochester’s breweries. It is located on the south end of the complex.
For large parties and meetings, The Workshop has the Minnesota Room set aside. It seats 60 and features an audio-visual system for presentations.
The Friedrichs anticipate needing 50 to 60 employees to staff the food hall and bar. They plan to hold a mass hiring event in early May to recruit their team before the June opening.