Harriet’s Inn is the newest project built in the East Harriet Neighborhood although you might not notice it. Smart Associates and Firm Ground teamed up with the restaurant owners to create a turn of the century English pub in Minneapolis. With this inspiration we surveyed the area to document the feel and context of the neighborhood to build a building that would fit in and look as if it has always been there.
This new restaurant enriches the neighborhood in many ways. First and most obviously we have replaced an abandoned gas station with a warm inviting neighborhood pub. As part of the owners request we reused the gas station building from the 70’s as the back of house for the restaurant and brought the face of the building out to the street to bring back the old world feel of building lined streets. This reuse of the existing building saved tons of concrete from the landfill while saving our client money as well as practicing green building strategies.
The one thing that is not apparent from the outside however, is the sizable effort to build on this site. Like many sites in Minneapolis this was not the first building built on this location. This corner lot has been home to at least 3 other building dating back more than 100 years. In our investigation of the site it was shown that the soils had been excavated and backfilled so many time that they were unsuitable to build on with a conventional foundation. In order to build Harriet’s, 16 helical piers needed to be dug 20 feet into the ground to get to fresh soil.
What makes this restaurant truly Minnesotan though is the connection to the outdoors, the Jucy Lucy menu and the craft beer culture. Harriet’s has a 30 foot span of glass in the main dining room area that slides out of the way to make the whole restaurant an outdoor patio. This summer you can enjoy yourself on the enclosed patio sipping on their 30 tap beer selection or huddle around the fire on the cool summer nights enjoying a beer cheese Lucy among others. All of this is what makes Harriet’s Inn the perfect Minnesota neighborhood pub.