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Answer Man: Mayo Clinic's Block E center opens Wednesday

Answer Man, what's the latest on Mayo Clinic Square i n Minneapolis? I was driving down Hennepin Avenue last weekend, looking for trouble, and that whole block is torn apart.

Hopefully, you changed your mind about finding trouble on Hennepin Avenue and instead went home and wrote to the Answer Man.

What used to be called Block E, on Hennepin between Sixth and Seventh streets, has been peeled open and is covered with plastic while they work on the facade. On the third floor, the 15-screen cineplex has been gutted, and that's where the 22,000-square-foot Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center has been installed.

Though you'd never guess it by the view from bustling Hennepin, the clinic announced Monday the center will open on Wednesday. AMedical Director Jon Finnoff said, the Mayo center will employ about 30 people, from doctors and physical therapists to sports medicine specialists.

It also will give Mayo a huge public profile in downtown Minneapolis, just blocks from Target Field and the Target Center arena, and it's a kind of beachhead for Mayo services in the Twin Cities.


When the $50 million remake of Block E is finished, there will be practice facilities and offices for the Minnesota Lynx (now sponsored by Mayo) and the Minnesota Timberwolves nearby as well. The whole project is supposed to be done early next year.

Dear Answer Man, what happened to the Lord Essex restaurant at the Kahler Grand Hotel? It looks like it's closed, though a friend told me it might reopen.

I called the Kahler Monday morning and was told the Elizabethan-styled restaurant with the stained glass and knight's suit of armor out front had closed over the summer. There had been some talk about reopening this fall, she said, but apparently, that wasn't panning out. It appeared to be good knight, Lord Essex.

But later in the day, my boss checked with Pasquale Presa , the executive chef who's in charge of the Kahler and Marriott restaurants, and he said things were still up in the air. Last night, Pasquale sent a note saying that "due to the high demand of guests enjoying the Lord Essex winter menu," the restaurant will reopen on Nov. 1 and will be open through May 1.

No word yet on days and hours of operation. The restaurant was open Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., in recent years.

Dear Answer Man, you recently mentioned that 25 years ago Saint Marys Hospital celebrated its 100th anniversary, and you mentioned cake. Do you know the unusual shape of that very big cake at the celebration 25 years ago? — Curious in Chatfield

Was it in the shape of Mother Alfred Moes, the foundress of the hospital? No, it was a cakey model of the hospital, which 25 years ago was a bit smaller than it is today. Today is the 125th anniversary of the hospital's opening day.

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