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Whoa, Nellie — downtown Rochester eatery reopening under new name

The former Grand Rounds Brewing space downtown will reopen as Nellie's.

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Whoa, Nellie.

It looks like the metamorphosis of a downtown Med City brew pub will culminate in a reopening Monday with a new name and new focus.

Tessa Leung, owner of Grand Rounds Brewing Co. & Restaurant at 4 Historic 3rd St. SW, announced early this year that she planned to move the brewing equipment to Pine Island and open South x Southeast Minnesota Brewing Co. in the iconic chalet that previously housed the Pine Island Cheese Mart .

The plan was to convert the Rochester brew pub into a restaurant. While closed for the pandemic, the brewing equipment was removed from Grand Rounds and renovation rolled ahead.

On Monday, Nellie's on Third Kitchen and Bar will open for business in the 145-year-old building on the corner of Broadway and Third Street Southwest. It will be serving customers on the Third Street patio, following state guidelines, and offering online ordering for pick-up.

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Reservations will be made on Nellie's website , which also hosts the online ordering.

Since the state of Minnesota does not allow a person to own and operate a brewery as well as a restaurant with a full liquor license, Nellie's will be owned by Nelson Leung, Tessa Leung's husband. He was also the owner of Sontes Restaurant, Grand Rounds' predecessor. It will be managed by Kelly Amundson.

Nellie's is described by Leung as "an eclectic mix of food and decor that is meant to showcase the laid-back, but quirky atmosphere found on Third Street in downtown Rochester.."

The change shouldn't bother Grand Rounds brew fans, because Nellie's will serve beer made by South x Southeast, as well as an extended wine and cocktail menu. The food menu will include homemade focaccia-style pizza, Reubens and other sandwiches, hand-dipped cheese curds, Tater Tots and gourmet burgers.

Nellie's will feature separate areas, each with a different feel. The Great Room will sport TVs for fans to watch games. The Aviary will have its own vibe, and the Aquarium will be available for private events. The Arcade will offer customers a change to play Skee-Ball with their friends as well as "the Minnesota favorite," pull tabs.

This will not be the first relaunch for the Leungs in the 145-year-old building on the corner of Broadway and Third Street Southwest.

Nelson Leung opened a tapas restaurant and wine bar there called Sontes in 2006. Sontes closed at the end of 2014 to make way for Grand Rounds . Both had good runs, accumulating awards and fans.

Now it looks like it's Nellie’s turn to try to charm Rochester diners.

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Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in Heard on the Street. Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.

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