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Letters to the Editor: Mix New American Diner by

The closing of Mix New American Diner is generating quite a bit of discussion around Chaska. The following are three letters to the editor received in recent weeks regarding the restaurant:


Chaska blew it again

"Well, Chaska, you blew it again. It was with much sadness that I read of the closing of MIX New American Diner after a short, but expensive, run in Chaska.

In an endless parade of sub-par restaurants that have come and gone from the area, MIX was what we had been waiting for. Excellent food, great atmosphere, and decent prices for an A-tier restaurant. This is a business that should have been supported.

City Council, you failed us. With businesses interested in locating in Chaska, you owe it to them and to the community to do everything possible to raise their visibility. Help support the businesses that gird the tax base of the area. Get a task force in place to study what is broken about Chaska’s business climate.

Chamber of commerce, you failed us. It is your JOB to ensure the viability of the business climate in the city in which you generate membership fees.Every worthy business startup in our area that fails because of external factors should be taken personally by chamber members, and especially paid chamber leadership.

Chaska Herald, you failed us. You should take personally anytime you hear that a resident does not know of a business located within the city limits. It’s your JOB to report on our people, our accomplishments, and our businesses.

And people of Chaska and surrounding areas, you especially failed us.

You need to patronize the good businesses in the area. The owners of Mix invested in YOU by putting this business in your town. Those of you who are unaware - become aware. If you want vibrant, healthy businesses in your city, be willing to support those who take the risks to bring the business to you.

What would happen to our local economy if we looked first to our own merchants before bringing our discretionary dollars to other cities? Our citizens could have helped this worthwhile business find success in Chaska.

2008 was a tough time to launch a business - retail, restaurant, or otherwise. It looks like it is too late to save Mix, but it may not be too late to save other businesses in our area that are deserving of our support and appreciation for trying to make our area better for its citizens.

Please buy local, and when ever possible participate in our local economy.

My hats off to the founders of Mix, and I am sorry that the community did not rally around your efforts."

David Happe



What this family wants

"I just had to respond to the letter on Jan. 8 entitled “Chaska blew it again.” The author stated that “MIX was what we had been waiting for.” He went on to state that the restaurant offered “excellent food, great atmosphere, and decent prices for an A-tier restaurant. This is a business that we should have supported.”

Well, maybe it was what he was waiting for, but apparently not the majority of Chaska residents, or as the saying goes: Give the people what they want and they will come.

I agree it did offer a great atmosphere. My family and I walked in when it first opened and were pleased with the friendly ‘50s-style diner atmosphere. Yes, it was just what we were hoping for – a family friendly, casual dining place that our whole family could enjoy.

But then we saw the menu, with the majority of prices ranging from $13 and up, with some items on the menu as high as $25 or more. Now, I’ll admit that I can’t recall exactly what was on the menu, but I remember looking and thinking that there would not be much that my children would enjoy.

So, I’m sure that the food served was excellent and the prices may have been reasonable as far as A-tier restaurants go, but it was not the kind of menu that appealed to a family with young/school-age children. And to expect a family of five to pay $50 to $75 for a dinner-out is just not feasible. We decided to take our dining dollars elsewhere.

The writer stated that the “people of Chaska … failed us. You need to patronize the good businesses in the area.” I strongly feel that it wasn’t the people that failed, but it was the restaurant that failed in meeting the needs of what Chaska residents want.

I won’t speak for all resident, but my family wants fun, casual family dining with reasonable prices. How about turning that 50s-style atmosphere into a fun soda shop with burgers and sandwiches and thick chocolate shakes? How about a sit-down pizza place with authentic Chicago-style pizza?

How about something that appeals to families with children that won’t break the bank? Personally that is what this family wants and if you want to open up something like that in Chaska, we would be happy to support you."

Kristy Miklas



They blew it, not us

"This is in response to David Happe’s letter to the editor about how we let the MIX diner down.

We senior citizen’s couldn’t wait for the MIX to open. And, when it did, we were excited and went over at different dates and time.

I took company from Minneapolis. We thought what they did – that the inside was great and so was the service.

We got our first shock when we read over the prices. Too embarrassed to just walk out, we stayed and ordered. My guest ordered hamburgers. Myself, a turkey/bacon sandwich. The bacon was not cooked and ice cold. We all drank water.

We told them as we left, unless they lowered their prices, they wouldn’t make it in this town.

We’ll … I am offended by your letter Mr. Happe. You and others may be able to afford eating out at those prices, but not seniors on a fixed income. We wanted them here. We wanted to be able to go over and eat.

They blew it, not us."

Jan Geis




Not that upscale

Chaska planners blew it by permitting an upscale restaurant to open. (“Chaska blew it again,” Jan. 15.)

Face it, Chaska is not as upscale as some of its leaders believe. We are ordinary, moderate and fixed income residents. We need a family restaurant with affordable prices, a varied menu and breakfast. Breakfast diners in the area are very limited. This we would support.

Also, don’t blow it again: The intersection of 41 and 61 (old Highway 212) has been ruined. Two corners have nice frontages, and then a big brick box is put right on the street of the southwest corner.

I hope the planners for the northwest corner are more careful and will set back the future development so the intersection is open and inviting as an entry to Chaska downtown.

Evelyn Grimm


Freedom to succeed, or fail

 I could not believe it when I read Mr. Happe’s comments from “Chaska blew it again” (Jan. 22).

I live in downtown Chaska and my family and I patronized MIX on several occasions while it was open. I am not sure if everyone who reads the letters in the Chaska Herald have had the opportunity to review the comments posted by other readers on its Web site, but this gives good insight into the opinions of some of the citizens of Chaska.

When I read the Jan. 22 editorial entitled “Downtown cries out for leadership,” I could not contain my disbelief with another commentary about how the city has failed.

This is an example of why our country is in the state that we are in right now – mortgage foreclosures, bailouts, restaurant failures. Many of our citizens are looking for handouts, and few take personal responsibility any longer.

I am sorry that the owners of MIX did not succeed. It would be wonderful if every business in the United States of America could succeed, however the reality of the situation is some do and some do not.

One of the values that the freedom of the United States gives us is the opportunity to take the risk to either succeed or fail. The owners of Mix took that opportunity and failed. That could be because of location, price, menu, investment, or many other factors.

The fact of the matter is, we would not adorn the pages of the Chaska Herald with praise for the City Council, and citizens of Chaska for the success of MIX, but we feel like we need to assess blame for failure of a business plan. The owners of MIX did not enter into this endeavor without knowing the risk before them.

Chaska has had many failed restaurants and bars; Chestnuts, the Mill, Pine Street, Amigos, Playoffs, Rain, just to name a few. For all of those failures, we have many successes that demonstrate how the city has fostered a healthy business climate; Pauly’s, Cys, Kelly’s, Dunn Bros., China Pagoda, Chaska My Love, Sarpino’s, Subway, Dolce Vita, and It’s Just Perfect. When developing a business plan, these successes and failures need to be taken into account, and figured into the risk.

I assume that the owners of MIX did this, and built a business plan around what they felt would be successful. Truly the owners of the MIX are responsible for the failure of their business, not the City Council, chamber of commerce, or the citizens of Chaska.

We need to embrace the tenants that built this country and made America strong. This includes our right to freedom, both the freedom to succeed and freedom to fail.

In this great country we are given the facilities to create our success. This success is not guaranteed, and we should not rely on government (city, state or federal) to protect this right.

Steve Herrmann



No Michelin stars, good regardless

I have followed with great interest the ongoing discussions of the restaurant business in Chaska, started by discussions about the demise of MIX.

Some have speculated that the prices were too high. Others have argued that Chaska can support such prices. Both are correct.

For a restaurant to succeed it must offer its patrons a good value for their dining dollar. I too went to MIX, waiting a month or so after it opened to be sure all the bugs were ironed out. The décor was “upscale diner” and created a nice, comfortable atmosphere. The prices seemed a bit higher than the décor would suggest, but that really wasn’t a big deal.

The problem was the food. Not that it wasn’t good, because it was good. Both my wife and I enjoyed our meals, but we both left MIX feeling that the quality if the food, while good, didn’t match the prices. MIX offered entrees that would have been fine had I paid $12 for them, but at $20-plus, the quality simply didn’t match the price.

In other words, it was a poor value. Had the entrées been worth what I paid, I’d have happily returned. Had the entrees been priced to match their solidly good quality, I would have returned. As it was, I never went back.

An example of a restaurant that is doing it right lies at the other end of the dining spectrum. Chaska My Love is far from the experience MIX tried to provide. The goal at Chaska My Love is to serve good quality, inexpensive, home-cooked Mexican food, and they succeed.

Nothing is fancy at Chaska My Love, but the service is fast and friendly, and the food was far better than the prices would suggest. I paid $7 for my meal, and left feeling like I got a great value for my dining dollar. The food was solidly good and the prices just right for today’s economy. Good service and good food at a good price is always the right formula, no matter what type of restaurant it is, and Chaska My Love has the three elements of a restaurant that deserves to survive. Do yourself a favor. Support a local restaurant by popping into Chaska My Love for a good meal that won’t win any Michelin stars, and won’t require federal bailout funds to pay for.

Daniel Kessler


MIX blew it, not Chaska

Believe me, I would have loved for MIX to have succeeded downtown. (“Chaska blew it again,” Jan. 16.)

The outside and inside was fantastic, but MIX missed a great opportunity with their menu.

My family and I went to MIX one time and left hungry and disappointed. We were disappointed with the menu and especially the prices. We spent nearly $50 for the four of us and what we had was not that great. Walking out the door we decided that we would probably not come back.

I would have preferred a restaurant like you see on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. People love restaurants where you can get a good breakfast, burgers and comfort food in one and at a reasonable price.

Corey Husfeldt




SOUND OFF: What do you think? 



Jan 15, 2009 | 1102 views | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Seems to me, Dave, that
by seano
 in response to Letters to the Editor: Mix New American Diner
Feb 08, 2009 | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Seems to me, Dave, that Daniel is saying what everyone else is saying. MIX’s food, while good, didn’t justify the prices that were being charged.

I had the opportunity, along
by Dave Happe
 in response to Letters to the Editor: Mix New American Diner
Feb 06, 2009 | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

I had the opportunity, along with my wife and daughter, to eat at Chaska My Love this past weekend. The food was fantastic, and the prices were terrific. The atmosphere is terrible, but you absolutely get what you pay for. I thought the value of their food was the best value for the dollar in Chaska. Absolutely will be visiting there regularly.
I was talking with a restaurant owner in an adjacent city who is looking for a new location (relocation). I mentioned the Mix/Embers building, and how much money must have been spent on the renovation. Someone can buy that place from liquidation cheaply. His comment? “Who in their right mind would open a restaurant in Chaska? What they want is $5 complete meals.”
That’s not an editorial comment by me. That’s a comment from a business owner, in an adjacent city, commenting on the outside perception of business leaders of what Chaska is looking for.
I’m giving up the fight here. I see no potential for an upscale restaurant to locate in Chaska, because the majority won’t support it. I will continue to drive through Chaska, to Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, and Minnetonka. (now with the occasional side trip to Chaska My Love).
I thought that Daniel Kessler’s letter was insightful, but Daniel I think you are in the minority.

Two more letters to the
by Mark Olson
 in response to Letters to the Editor: Mix New American Diner
Feb 05, 2009 | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Two more letters to the editor from the Feb. 5 Chaska Herald were added at the end of the original posting regarding MIX New American Diner.

NOT good food and too high a
by chaskacitizen
 in response to Letters to the Editor: Mix New American Diner
Jan 31, 2009 | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print

NOT good food and too high a price. I personally will pay good money for good food. Unfortunately, Mix did not fill the bill with theirs. I tried the restaurant on two occassions…the first was a test run and I was not impressed. The second was in December when the desperate emails were sent out to help them save the restaurant. Our group spent almost $300.00 in the restaurant 6 adults and 4 kids. Once again, I left unimpressed and knew they would not make it when I walked out the door. When I can make better quality food at home, I won’t go to a restuarant to pay more for bad food. I am sorry, this is not meant to be hurtful but an eye opener. The diner itself was cute, but then you should have gone with diner food. It was a contradiction to the name and menu (plus not good quality food). Independent restaurants can survive and thrive and be good in example I point out Hazellewood Grille Excelsior, Jakes, Axels, Maynards, I frequent these places several times a month and pay good money for good food. As side note— Lolas on the lake is unimpressive. I have eaten there 3 times and wont be back. However, their sister restaurant Jakes — I partronize. Here is an example of the same owners two different menus and one that probably wont make it because the menu is not good. I would suggest also the Chaska Golf Course grilles’ food is still lacking. I have eaten there twice and my soup was from a can — sorry Charlie, but please reevaluate your menu as well. You have the perfect setting, etc but your food is lacking. Again, if a customer can make it better at home — why come to your restaurant. This will be even more true in this economy. However, people are still eating out at the above restuarants and Big Bowl, Redstones, Wildfire etc. high dollar restaurants. Everyone is excited to try a new place but you have to hook them on the first impression, then they will return.

oh my gosh, I almost have
by dana
 in response to Letters to the Editor: Mix New American Diner
Jan 30, 2009 | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print

oh my gosh, I almost have to laugh! my family went to the mix last mothers day for lunch, I did not go but I asked how it was. They said that the food was pretty good,but it was too expensive, and also that the waitress had DUMPED A TRAY OF WATER ON MY DADS BACK! I can’t believe 2 people! they also did not offer a discount or anything. My family never returned.

First I'll tell you why I
by mhrreast
 in response to Letters to the Editor: Mix New American Diner
Jan 29, 2009 | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

First I’ll tell you why I did not patronize MIX. When I pay fine dining prices, I expect a visually relaxing quiet atmosphere. Disappointingly, MIX offered neither. So what does it take to succeed? In my observation, the restaraunts that succeed have a location, menu, decor, atmosphere, and pricing that complement and balance each other and “the locals”. They work together to keep the customers coming back. If any of those are especially outstanding, then it may become a “destination” restaurant and less in need of balance. Pauly’s, Axel’s, Lion’s Tap and Lord Fletcher’s are examples of a well balanced business. Suzette outside of Jordan, and St. Alban’s boathouse in Exclesior, and Sunset in Wayzata exemplify destination restaraunts. Regarding the comment that you must be a chain, I avoid most chains.

I don't think any new
by Jbop
 in response to Letters to the Editor: Mix New American Diner
Jan 29, 2009 | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I don’t think any new restaurant will really succeed in downtown Chaska because of the traffic. We don’t go down there for that very reason unless we have to. The truck traffic especially is ridiculous! When is it really busy down there? At the times when people want to go out to eat. 7:00-9:00 A.M., ll:00-1:00 and 4:00-6:30 or so. I think that Pauly’s does well for a variety of reasons. They serve alcohol, they have specials, they have different price points and activity going on. Also, there is ample parking and you can get to their restaurant by avoiding the main downtown intersection and coming out to the east of Coopers to get to it, or coming to it from the east side of town. Until you re-route highway traffic out of downtown, I don’t think much will succeed.
Two more letters to the
by Mark Olson
 in response to Letters to the Editor: Mix New American Diner
Jan 29, 2009 | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Two more letters to the editor from the Jan. 29 Chaska Herald were added at the end of the original posting regarding MIX New American Diner.

I just recently learned of
by Audreysfirstdaughter
 in response to Letters to the Editor: Mix New American Diner
Jan 24, 2009 | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print

I just recently learned of this restaurant’s closing and while I hate to see another closure, I’ll admit no surprise and tend to agree with most of the reviewers. I’ve eaten at The Mix about 4 times and was always underwhelmed. The menu was overpriced and limited and that’s the reason it’s closed. Spice Up, a couple of blocks away has a chance to succeed. Prices are reasonable and as a fan of Indian cuisine, it’s pretty good and authentic. You know it’s not that we don’t want good restaurants in Chaska. Personally I’m tired of meeting friends and family at restaurants in Mpls and Edina because Chaska hasn’t had any good restaurants for a long time.

Many great comments, and
by Dave Happe
 in response to Letters to the Editor: Mix New American Diner
Jan 23, 2009 | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Many great comments, and hopefully some things that future business owners can use as they design a business to launch in Chaska. Thanks to all who posted civil comments in the best interest of clarifying their opinions! We may disagree, but I am thankful none the less for the thoughtful responses. See you around Chaska! – Dave

Mr. Happe, I too would have
by Mbraden
 in response to Letters to the Editor: Mix New American Diner
Jan 21, 2009 | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Mr. Happe, I too would have to strongly agree with the others regarding Mix. As a Chaska resident and someone who has been in the food business for 30 years, Mix missed the boat. They had a great opportunity to make a big impact and fell far short.
I went there with my family soon after opening and dinner for four of us (two sandwiches, a $13 macaroni and cheese and a salad, with the $4 fries) was $90. While the food was good, the value was poor. We dine out often and don’t mind spending a little money for good value.
The menu mix was also poor. Basically it was burgers, fried shrimp, fried fish and chips and a few other entrees that were high priced. Did I mention the $13 macaroni and cheese?
As a restauranteur it is one thing to cook the food that you want and love to cook, the kicker is, is that what your customers want? Unfortunately with Mix, I don’t think it was.

I have to agree with much of
by seano
 in response to Letters to the Editor: Mix New American Diner
Jan 21, 2009 | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

I have to agree with much of what Chaska2000 had to say, particularly the part about the first impression. The ala carte menu was a really bad idea, the entire menu was overpriced, and frankly, the staff didn’t seem prepared. Our server dumped the tray of beverages on me on our first visit and they did nothing to adjust my bill until I asked for it.
We didn’t go back for several months. When we did, we found an adjusted menu and much better operation. But I know many other people who had bad first experiences there and didn’t go back.

Thanks for your comments! A
by Dave Happe
 in response to Letters to the Editor: Mix New American Diner
Jan 18, 2009 | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Thanks for your comments! A few specific responses.
Kristy Milkas. Thanks for your thoughtful letter. While we may disagree, new businesses should read your letter as they could learn what you (and others) may be looking for in a new business to locate within Chaska.
Jan Geis. Your letter stated you were offended. Please accept my apology for your perception. I meant no disrespect to our seniors or others for whom eating at Mix was not a realistic financial option. I was wanting to direct my comments to those in Chaska and the surrounding area(s) who take their money OUT of Chaska to other places such as Redstone in Eden Prairie. But I meant no disrespect to you or other Seniors, and feel badly if my letter offended you.
Chaska2000. We have a lot of places like that in the area. But there is nothing like Mix unless you drive into Eden Prairie or beyond. I spoke with a Chaska business leader just after my original letter was published, who talked about the younger urban professionals who live in Chaska but spend their disposable income in Eden Prairie, Minneapolis, or other areas that offer them what they are looking for. We already have great places for burgers, fries, and malts in Chaska. We need a diversity of things available if we want to reroute people off of the new 312 to patronage the downtown Chaska area. MOST of our local businesses (and I frequent several) are hurting in Chaska.
Drayzen. I can emphathetically state you do NOT speak for everyone in Chaska when you tell me I shouldn’t be spending my money there. There are many people in Dahlhgren township (mailing address Cologne) and other areas that use Chaska as our “hub”. All of the businesses that we frequent, such as my Chaska bank, Chaska grocery store, Chaska bakery, Chaska coffee shop, Chaska car wash, Chaska drug store, gas station and other businesses located in Chaska would be significantly hurt if not closed, if me and my neighbors took your advice to heart. And the fact that you compared Mix to Embers tells me you likely never even darkened their doorstep.
It is my hope that the letter I wrote is useful to it’s intended audience. The good news for prospective new businesses is the responses to this letter (thus far) do not represent the sentiments of 100% of the residents (but may be the majority), and within the responses there are some extremely useful tidbits of information that hopefully will help the next tenant in Mix’s old space be successful in Chaska.

Wow Mr. Happe (from
by Drayzen
 in response to Letters to the Editor: Mix New American Diner
Jan 15, 2009 | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Wow Mr. Happe (from Cologne)! I think I speak for everyone here in Chaska when I say you’d be better served worrying about the business district in your own town. I’d be curious to know just how many times you dined at The Mix.
Here in Chaska, we don’t feel obligated to support something we don’t believe in or have an overwhelming interest in. Everyone knows the risks involved with opening a business – particularly one that offers the same service as the last two which occupied that building and eventually closed (J’s, Embers).
And I must say, you have a lot of gumption to grandstand when the economy is in its current state. Take your elitist opinions elsewhere.
I support the businesses in this town whenever possible. And I believe that most residents here do too. But I WILL NOT pay considerably more or settle for sub-par quality just to pump money back into our great town.
In case you forgot, Chaska was named the eighth best place to live in the country just two years ago.

As a Chaska resident and
by Chaska2000
 in response to Letters to the Editor: Mix New American Diner
Jan 15, 2009 | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print

As a Chaska resident and former restaurant owner, I have to strongly agree with the bottom two letters. When Mix Diner was first mentioned…I was excited! I thought: “a place in Chaska for breakfast, burgers, greasy fries, and thick milkshakes”. That’s where the first mistake happened for all of us. Our perception of a diner (family oriented, comfort food, cheap prices, strong coffee and great stories). No one envisioned goat cheese and Kobe Beef.
Second mistake: they needed to know their client. Chaska/Shakopee/Jordan/Carver/Victoria are mostly families (and good sized families). Cost effectiveness and a kid friendly menu are a must!
Third Mistake: First Impression is a must! When I visited for my only time in early June…I had to pay $4 to add fries to my sandwich. Service was okay, but nothing special. Atmosphere was really nice (everything was brand new). But I left feeling I didn’t get the “value” of a $17 lunch. Therefore, I never went back.
Lastly: These are very difficult economic times…

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