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County Admin to WFH Concern Trolls: Workers Have ‘No Obligation’ to Goose Downtown Lunch Sales

Plus a MN-launched YouTube food star, passive-aggressiveness kills a Northeast haunted house, and an incredible pair of jeans in today's Flyover news roundup.

Meet Minneapolis|

This image of Noa is featured on the Meet Minneapolis website.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Hennepin County Doesn’t GAF About Any Downtown Work Mandates

As you may have heard, C-suite execs and downtown Minneapolis boosters like Mayor Jacob Frey and certain media figures really want your butt in a cubicle. Forcing the unwashed masses to return to offices might be their cause célèbre these days, but normal people have at least one major ally on their side: Hennepin freakin’ County, which is adapting the requirements for how its workforce works. While police, jail employees, certain service centers, and other obvious in-person gigs still require people to be in-office, according to this Twin Cities Business piece by Adam Platt, around 68% of county employees are now hybrid or 100% remote. “We have an obligation to provide service to residents. There’s no obligation to make sure people are buying lunches in downtown Minneapolis,” county administrator David Hough tells Platt, citing job retention and the potential for better service as reasons to stay flexible. “I’m a leader who expects innovation, not a leader who does bed checks.” While T.C. Biz found that 67% of workers are in the office at least one day a week, it’s not doing enough to save downtown anyway. As this piece in the Strib explains, the real issue is that mega-corps like Target opted to set up shop elsewhere during the pandemic/unrest/timely lease renewal negotiations, creating major vacancies.

YouTube Food Dude Tries 4 Food Trucks

Have you ever heard of William Sonbuchner—aka Sonny Side? His 10 million+ YouTube subscribers certainly have, and Viraluae became aware of the online food dude when his channel, Best Ever Food Review Show, visited the Twin Cities over the weekend to document “the Midwest’s most insane food truck creations.” Why are we asking you about this guy? Well, because he’s One of Us; turns out Mr. Side grew up in St. Cloud, worked at a central Minnesota Applebee’s, and eventually relocated to South Korea, where he started cooking up dreams of travel-show food stardom. (“The 35-year-old as a hipper version of fellow Minnesotan Andrew Zimmern,” the Star Tribune’s Neal Justin wrote in a 2020 profile.) After watching a few vids, we can safely say Side hits a watchable sweet spot between Guy Fieri’s everyman goofery and the worldliness of a Zimmern. So, what about that big food truck showdown? Side sampled from four killer-looking trucks—a pho French dip from Russell's; Indian pizza from Pizza Karma (we're big fans, too); birria ramen from La Bodega Taco Bar; and a double Angry Burger from the Angry Line Cook—before determining: a) They’re all great; b) Angry Line Cook’s double smashie was the best of the bunch. We’ll be seeking interviews with Side and the ALC team later this week! 

Minneapolis Haunted House Killed by Excessive Minnesota-ness 

Covid, bike lanes, minimum wage, wokeness—we’ve seen just about everything you can name blamed for an event's discontinuation. Now, in a Facebook post, the Lazarchic family of northeast Minneapolis offer this explanation for discontinuing the free neighborhood haunted house they’ve been opening up for 20 years: Minnesota passive-aggressiveness. "The owner received several passive notices from a neighbor, who talked to a neighbor, that heard from a neighbor where they were complaining about the traffic it caused one night a year for four hours or so,” they posted in their announcement. “No one ever addressed this directly with us of course because this is Minnesota." The Lazarchics also cite more concrete reasons for discontinuing the haunted house: It costs them $2,000 a year, and their regular crew isn’t available this year. In any case, Northeast just got a little less spooky.

Someone Buy These Pants!

The Facebook group Weird (and Wonderful) Secondhand Finds That Just Need To Be Shared is in fact both weird and wonderful, though rarely are its finds that just need to be shared in any way locally angled. Yesterday, though, Trista Marie spotted a pair of pants at a Rochester goodwill that you simply must see for yourself:

Look at those things! An honest-to-god work of art. If you're the local person who painted these pants, please know that you've brought immense joy to all of us here at Viraluae, especially the staff member who has a Muppets tattoo. And if you're a local person near Rochester with a free afternoon, please go get them!

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