Celebrate Pride, Professionalism, and Partnerships


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We love our communities for many, many reasons – and feeling cared for is certainly on that list. So, we invite you to celebrate the men and women who have kept the city of Saint Paul safe and sound for 160 years during Saint Paul Police Appreciation Day! This special event will take place on September 20th, 2014 at Midway Stadium from 2-5 pm. In the event of rain, the celebration will be pushed to the following day.

As far as activities, the list is expansive. The gathering kicks off with parking lot exhibits from 2-3 pm. This will be followed by action-packed demonstrations of departments’ specialized unit, including:

  • Mounted police
  • Bomb Squad
  • Motor vehicles
  • SWAT team work
  • Mobile Field Force
  • K9 COPS (as featured on Animal Planet)
  • Air rescue demonstration by highly trained members of the St. Paul Fire Department and Minnesota State Patrol, Minnesota’s first Mobile Air Rescue Team (M.A.R.T.)

While demonstrations only run until 5pm, the fun doesn’t stop there! There’s also music planned, which will be performed by Minnesota National Guard 34 Bull Infantry Division Band and the Minnesota Police Pipe Bands. And, of course, there will also be giveaways!

Finally, on a personal note: we here at Black Bear Crossings want to sincerely thank the men and women who risk their lives each day to make sure that Saint Paul community remains a safe and vibrant home for all citizens. We certainly know it can’t be easy – and we look forward to honoring all of that hard work this fall!


2014 Twin Cities Jazz Fest


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It’s right around the corner! The annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival is easily one of the most popular and beloved musical events in the metro area – and we’re happy to be in the thick of the action!


You’re invited to join roughly 30,000 other music lovers from June 26-28 to take in the 16th year of live, free jazz music, scattered in the vicinity of Mears Park, St. Paul.

Festival organizers plan to kick off with the annual multi-club “Jazz Night Out” on Thursday. This “sets the stage” for half the day on Friday, and a full day on Saturday, of continuous jazz music on a variety of outdoor stages.

What’s more, look for musicians to be popping up in neighborhood bars and restaurants throughout the festival.

A few highlights of this year’s festival include a handful of nationally-lauded headliners, including Grammy-winning singer Dianne Reeves and saxophonist Branford Marsalis. This year’s event also includes an appearance by the 2013 Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition winner Melissa Aldana and New Orleans “Big Easy” award-winning keyboardist Joe Krown. Check out the Twin Cities Jazz Festival website for much more information on the headliners, as well as the complete listing of performers.

Here at Black Bear, we’re looking forward to all the excitement right near our own backyard, and invite you to drop by our cafe during the three day extravaganza for a meal or a beverage!

Black Bear Crossings Decides to Close Doors


District Court Finds City of St. Paul Breached Management Agreement

Black Bear Crossings Decides to Close Doors

SAINT PAUL, June 2014 – The district court in Ramsey County ruled that the City of St. Paul breached a management agreement with Black Bear Crossings on the Lake by denying Black Bear’s request for an extension to continue operating the Como Lakeside Pavilion through 2018. In response to the City’s argument that it was not required to extend the agreement because of alleged breaches by Black Bear, the court found that the terms of the agreement were “clear and unambiguous” and that the City had “failed to come forward with evidence” that would justify its refusal to extend the agreement. In a previous ruling, the court found that statements the City made to the local media about Black Bear caused “irreparable harm” to Black Bear’s business. The court ruled May 15, 2014, that the City “is liable to [Black Bear] for any money damages caused by its breach of the agreement.” Citing the “bitter dispute” over the City’s breach of the agreement, however, the court did not require the parties to continue doing business together. While Black Bear has the right to appeal that aspect of the decision, given the damage to its business caused by the City’s conduct, Black Bear has decided that 2014 will be its last year operating the Como Lakeside Pavilion. Black Bear will fulfill each of its current wedding-and-event contracts for 2014. For events booked for 2015 or after, customers’ space reservations will be honored as booked. These customers, and any other customer who books a wedding or event before a new vendor is chosen, will have the option of using their own catering service. David and Pamela Glass, who have owned and operated Black Bear since 1997, indicated that while they are sad to see this chapter in their lives close, they feel vindicated by the court’s ruling. “For 17 years, Pam and I poured our heart and soul into Black Bear to make it a destination for the community worthy of Como Park’s rich heritage. We received countless awards and accolades for our service and now a court of law also recognized our contributions,” said David Glass. “The Glasses will pursue damage claims against the City to compensate them for the irreparable harm that the City caused to their business both in breaching the contract and making erroneous statements to the media that their breach was justified, which a court has now found to be without merit,” said Jan Conlin, Black Bear’s lawyer and chair of the Business Litigation Group at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P.


Black Bear Crossings has operated the Pavilion since 2000 pursuant to a management agreement with the City. In 2009, the City asked Black Bear to renew the management agreement. The management agreement that resulted from that request contains an option for Black Bear to extend the agreement through 2018, which Black Bear exercised in June of 2013. When the City decided not to honor its commitment to extend the agreement, Black Bear sued the City in district court in Ramsey County. About Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. (http://www.rkmc.com) is a litigation firm whose clients include blackbearcrossings.com numerous Fortune 500 corporations, emerging markets companies, entrepreneurs, and individuals as both plaintiffs and defendants. With more than 220 lawyers located in Atlanta,Boston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York and Naples (FL), the firm is frequently engaged in high-stakes, complex litigation with significant bottom-line implications for clients. Its business lawyers handle complex transactions in a variety of market segments and industries. Chambers USA 2014 ranked the firm in the first band nationally in the Antitrust: Plaintiff category, and regularly gives it top rankings for litigation. Corporate Counsel has named the firm a “Go-To Law Firm” and Multicultural Law has ranked the firm as one of the top national law firms for diversity. The American Lawyer ranked the firm seventh in the country in the 2013 Pro Bono Survey, and twice named the firm to the A-List.

Look Sharp in J. Hilburn


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Wedding season – two words that mean hundreds of different things. Guest lists, venues, food, music…the list goes on.

With all the tiny, niche details making up a couple’s big day, let’s not overlook something that typically gets less attention: menswear.


Like wedding and bridesmaid dresses, the choices for grooms and their wedding party are varied and highly dependent on personal taste and style. The good folks at Texas-based direct-to consumer menswear seller J. Hilburn offer some of our favorite classy options for men; they’re of exceptional quality, affordable…and best of all, completely personalized.

The backstory on J. Hilburn; this company launched in 2007 with a simple goal – to deliver designer-quality, custom fitted mens’ shirts, made with the same caliber of fabric used by the world’s most exclusive brands.

Now, the company offers a whole range of apparel – ready-to-wear casual clothes, outerwear, belts, ties, cufflinks, and other accessories, and, most recently our main concern, formalwear.

Playing on the popular and profitable direct sales model, the company now has over 2,500 sales reps around the country, meeting, talking with and measuring customers to the tune of $35 million in revenue yearly.

And, as the reviews show, we’re not the only ones who think they’re doing something right.

When you work with J. Hilbrun, you don’t browse the racks or click to order on a website. You sign-up to receive a visit from of the seller’s personal stylists, a vast network of agents scattered all over the country.

Your stylist will meet you at your convenience to present options and measure you for the best fit and personal taste. Their website gives a nice glimpse into the options they have available.

What kind of suiting catches your eye? Take a gander at the company’s Lookbook and maybe it’ll give you an idea of why we think J. Hilburn is a solid bet when it comes to streamlining and simplifying your formalwear shopping.


Reasons to Get on a Bike – Nice Ride MN


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Some big infrastructural changes are coming to St. Paul – and they’re all for those on two wheels.

As bicycling continues to grow in popularity for leisure, commuting, and everything in between, the city is taking steps to ensure riders get the most out of their surroundings.

According to the bike-sharing wunderkind organization Nice Ride MN, the city of St. Paul is tweaking a substantial development plan, slated to include 214 miles of new bikeways. 68% of these are going to be off-street, including a nearly 2-mile loop around the downtown area, and others will be prime for getting to pristine settings like Como Park.

So, as these changes come to fruition, let’s glance at five of the many reasons why more people are choosing to strap on a helmet and put rubber to the road on their 5-speeds.



Limiting the risk of heart disease is one huge reason to make exercise a daily thing; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pegs it as the number one killer of women in the United States today. The structure of a bicycle delivers that preventative low-impact aerobic exercise; it’s also fabulous when it comes to building muscle tone, without the heavier stress on knees, ankles and other joints caused by jogging

You also can’t shake a stick at the more cosmetic benefits to biking; according to a study found in Women’s Health magazine, a 135 lb. woman pedalling at between 12 and 14 mph for 60 minutes will burn around 488 calories. That’s a lot off the waistline, and at little impact when compared to running or walking.

There’s plenty of info out there about the benefits aerobic exercise has on physical health, but as it turns out, your brain actually stands to gain a ton, too. The American Journal of Psychotherapy reports biking, even at a slow to moderate pace, two to three times weekly, improved energy in study participants by 20% and decreased normal fatigue by 65%. What does this have to do with your mind? Well, as energy levels rise, your brain releases the chemical dopamine, which in turn generates even more energy. Biking; it’s basically an endless supply of self-generated human happiness fuel.


Well, more accurately, free, after spending a little cash on the right bike and safety gear. It’s no secret that gas prices around the country continue rising, and making cycling part of your lifestyle can make a dent in keeping your budget balanced. Environmental advocate the Sierra Club posits that, if each American adult was to park their car and make one, four-mile bike trip each week, we would collectively save around $2 billion in fuel costs. At roughly four dollars a gallon these days, the total savings lands somewhere in the $7.3 billion range.

This doesn’t even include parking costs; don’t get me started there.

All in all, that’s a lot of green for going green.


Believe it or not, according to Business Insider magazine, about half of all Americans live within FIVE MILES of their school or workplace. That’s, at most, a roughly 20 minute ride each way at a normal cycling pace. Now, it’s a big step to all of a sudden park the car and bike to work every day, but for the more intrepid reader, consider this staggering stat; by biking between 7-10 miles each workday, you’ll obliterate around 3,000 calories a week.


There has been nothing short of a boom in new bike share programs in major cities around the country, which typically allow riders 30 to 45 minutes of transportation for a small annual fee. Nice Ride MN, which launched a bike sharing program in Minneapolis in 2008, is rapidly expanding its reach. In fact, by the middle of 2013, the organization announced that over 700,000 rides had taken the bike-sharing program out for a spin. The concept is as simple as it gets; check out a bike from a kiosk anywhere around St. Paul or Minneapolis, ride around, drop it off at any other kiosk when you’re finished.

So, next time you find yourself considering visiting us on four wheels on a beautiful day, double back and consider getting on your bike instead!


Finding Your Story





Black Bear Crossings is pleased to announce a special forthcoming event  – an event acclaimed St. Paul-based author Kathleen Vellenga hopes will help attendees “discover what’s in [their] own hearts and teach how to show it to others.”

This month, Vellenga will host “Finding Your Story,” during which time she’ll be reading excerpts from her novel, Strangers in Our Midst, a novel that examines early American history through the eyes of two distinctive characters: Elisabeth, a passenger on the Mayflower, and Attitash, a young member of the Wampanoag tribe. In the novel, the two girls form a trusting bond, which becomes threatened by the larger cultural forces and societal fears in play.

After her reading, Vellenga plans to lead a workshop for guests on how to create an original memoir or work of fiction.

When asked to describe the impetus for her work and “Finding Your Story,” Vellenga had this to say.

“Prof. Julius Lester wrote: “History is not just facts and events, history is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another’s pain in the heart our own.”  I have been rewarded since publication of Strangers in Our Midst to hear from many that they feel the heart of both young women in my story.

My original intention with this book was to tell the story of the Immigrants (the Pilgrims) and the Native people as two separate stories.

When I took a class on “finding the heart of your story” which focused on our own lives, I learned that a significant influence in my life was a cross cultural friendship with a young woman who saw what needed fixing in ME and reached across.

I realized that it is plausible for an intercultural friendship between the young women in my book.”

Vellenga is a graduate of Macalester College and a former MN state legislator. She describes her 14 years in office as a chance to “break down cultural barriers and empower people.”
“Finding Your Story” begins at 7pm on Thursday, April 24 at Black Bear Crossings.

“WOW” Your Guests With A Champagne Brunch Wedding


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Champagne Brunch Ceremonies & Receptions at Black Bear Crossings Café & Banquet Center

One of the first steps of planning a wedding is deciding on the date, time and location of the ceremony & reception. These three things set the overall mood of a wedding. Champagne brunch receptions have gotten a bad rap in the past, but are quickly becoming more popular for the following reasons: they offer the couple an intimate, affordable, uniquely stylized event that can be more memorable because it is different from what you usually see and will leave your guests saying “Wow”. A brunch offers more options for creativity, dates, & venues, a timeline on your terms, better airfare rates and travel options for your honeymoon, and discounted rates across the board for most wedding vendors.



Brunch weddings are one of the most cost-effective receptions you can have. Wedding vendors from musicians, photographers, venues, etc… typically offer discounted rates for daytime events. Rental rates for venues, catering minimums, as well as menu prices tend to be less during the day. Bar bills also tend to be significantly lower for daytime functions. Here at Black Bear Crossings, our champagne brunch menu includes a champagne toast, and cupcakes! That means it can be a complete package, at great savings. The overall mood of a champagne brunch reception is elegant, simple and relaxed. Playing up the simple elegant theme will not only save you money on wedding décor, but it will also “wow” your guests. If you book a morning ceremony on our outdoor promenade, followed by a champagne brunch in our banquet room, you will receive a free upgrade for your wedding!


More Availability

The availability of venues also opens up as well. There is far less competition for space on Saturday or Sunday mornings. This means you don’t have to stress out about finding a venue.

More Photo Opportunities

Running out of daylight for photos after your ceremony will not be an issue when you have a morning ceremony followed by a champagne brunch. You would be surprised by how may couples do not allot enough time for photos after the ceremony. They are often scrambling to get in last minute shots before the sun sets.

The “Wow” factor

Simply combining the words champagne & brunch, and you know you are in for a good time. With a brunch reception, there is unlimited potential for customization. That expression of creativity gives variety to your wedding guests and makes your wedding more personal and memorable. Instead of a typical hosted bar, you could offer your guests a customizable mimosa bar, with a variety of freshly squeezed juices and berries.  Or another great option is a fully loaded bloody mary bar, or a specialty coffee station. When it comes to the menu, you guests can only say “Wow” to our chef carved signature bone-in smoked ham, or our  chef performance omelet station or waffle station.  And for desert, not another wedding cake. Why not a donut tower, or a coffee cake on every guest table? Other great daytime dessert options include our mouth watering petite sweets assortment, Pam’s homemade pies, and we cannot forget the cupcakes!!! In addition to all the great food, the natural light pouring in all the windows provides an ambience that cannot even be compared to a typical banquet hall with incandescent lighting.


Intimate Weddings /  Second Marriages / Vow Renewals

The more relaxed mood of a champagne brunch makes it the perfect choice for smaller, more intimate weddings, second marriages and vow renewals. The level of stress tends to be significantly less with a daytime reception. This allows you to truly celebrate your two families becoming one, and to enjoy your very special day.


Whether you choose a champagne brunch, or an evening reception, our professional wedding planners here at Black Bear Crossings Café & Banquet Center are here to help make your ceremony & reception everything you have dreamed of.

Black Bear Crossings Café and Banquet Center Is Going Green!


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The environment has always been important to Pam and David Glass, owners of Black Bear Crossings Café and Banquet Center. These are the ways Black Bear Crossings’ is going greenRainforest Alliance Certified Coffee, local goods, biodegradable cups made from corn and staff participation in St. Paul’s Citywide Clean Up.

The Rainforest Alliance’s sustainable agricultural program oversees the certification of farms that produce tropical crops such as coffee.  Farms must meet a set of environmental & social standards (agrochemical reduction, ecosystem conservation, worker health & safety) to become certified. In short, the use of toxic chemicals and pesticides is greatly reduced, and sustainable farming methods are practiced to help keep the earth beautiful and healthy for future generations. Rainforest Alliance coffee is healthier for you and many people believe it tastes better. Organic coffee is processed without the use of chemicals allowing the native nutrients in the coffee bean to remain untainted.


Many of the ingredients used to cook the food offered at the Black Bear Crossings Café, as well as the Native American jewelry & crafts being sold are bought locally when possible. Buying locally grown food helps conserve energy and protects the environment from harmful exhaust fumes (most food travels 1,500 miles).

Many of the disposable products used at Black Bear Crossings Café are biodegradable. Although they may appear to look the same as normal disposable cups they are quite unique. Biodegradable disposables are made out of natural elements such as corn, and other renewable vegetable matter. Because biodegradable disposables are made of natural elements, the disposables will naturally break down in landfills in a matter of months and leave no toxins in the earth. When the weather turns chilly, and fewer customers are drawn to eat outside, the disposables are put away and the dishes come out for the fall & winter months.

Each year around Earth Day St. Paul has their annual Citywide Clean Up. Black Bear Crossings Café and Banquet Center plays an active role in this yearly clean up. The Café provides a meal for the volunteers. This is an event that staff looks forward to each year because they love to see the community come together to clean Como Park, home to Black Bear Crossings Café and Banquet Center. The hard work that the entire Como Park community does to keep the Park clean was acknowledged this past year. The Como Lake Neighbor Network won the 2013 sustainable St. Paul Award in the water quality category!


Going green in other ways includes: using energy efficient light bulbs, hand dryers in restrooms, water served upon request, re-usable trays, lighting sensors have been installed in some rooms, replacing old equipment with renewable energy efficient models, frequent donations of leftover food to charitable groups, minimizing the use of chemicals on site, etc.

Pam and David are always looking for things they can do to help improve the environment. They understand that if everyone does their part, the environment will flourish. Next time you are at Black Bear Crossings Café & Banquet Center, remember the food you are eating or the coffee you are sipping is environmentally green.

17th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration


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David Glass’ (owner of Black Bear Crossings) Native American and Irish heritage is kind of a big deal around here! We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in honor of David’s mother, Jane Dwyer Glass. She was 100% Irish, and was one of the famed St. Paul Valentine’s Day triplets born on 2/14/21 – the first surviving triplets in St. Paul. Black Bear Crossings’ Irish Crème Latte is named after her, Diamond Jane (she loved to play cards and almost always won).

The Feast of St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday celebrating the most recognized patron of Ireland, St. Patrick (c. AD 385 – 461). Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early seventeenth century and is still celebrated today. To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day we will be having a feast of our own.

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On March 17th, 2014 we will be hosting our 17th Annual St. Patrick’s celebration! You could say it’s our St. Patrick’s Day celebration’s lucky golden year (17th annual on March 17th). Our St. Patrick’s Day celebration will begin with a Traditional Corned Beef & Cabbage Dinner at 5:00 PM, followed by a performance by The Biddies Galore -“3 women who can’t stop dancing”. They have performed at our cafe with their young students every St. Patrick’s Day for the past 17 years! It is great family fun. Arrive early to save a seat!

Four leaf clover decorations and St. Patty’s Day treats are proudly displayed in the café. We will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with Irish inspired food & beverage specials all month long! During the entire month of March we are serving:

  • Corned Beef Sandwiches on Rye
  • Rotating Soups: Irish Potato & Irish Stew
  • Irish Beers
  • Irish Cream Lattes
  • Irish Cream Mocha

Whether you are Irish or not we invite you to stop by Black Bear Crossings Café and Banquet Center to enjoy great food, entertain and fun!

Cupcakes, Gourmet Food, and Bears – Oh My!


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For the past nine years, Black Bear Crossings Café and Banquet Center has hosted an “Annual Bridal Tasting”, and this year was no different!

This event allows couples that have booked a wedding reception at Black Bear Crossings Café and Banquet Center to taste their mouthwatering menu selections. The room is a foodies’ dream filled with cupcakes, pies, a variety of entrees and every type of potato dish you could think of! While a portion of the day was dedicated to dining on delectable gourmet food, couples also had the opportunity to ask questions and explore the services offered by Black Bear Crossings’ preferred wedding vendors.

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From gorgeous flower arrangements to musical entertainment, the banquet room was filled with quality vendors including:

Buttercream Cakes – Wedding Cakes

Capitol Beverage – Beer

Flowerama – Custom Wedding Floral

J. Hilburn Custom Clothier – Gentleman’s Attire

Johnson Brothers – Liquor

Marriott Roseville – Hotel

Midway Party Rental – Décor

Midwest Sound & Light – DJ Services

North Beacon – Wedding Photography

Pavel Jany – Classical Guitar

Terzetto – String Trio

VIP Booths – Photo Booth

After everyone’s stomach was full of delicious food, couples had the opportunity to speak with each of the vendors. Many stuck around to ask questions about the eye-catching table setting displays created for the event. Each table was unique and showcased a variety of wedding themes. It was the perfect way to help couples get inspired for their own special day.



There is no doubt that the “Annual Bridal Tasting” is a lot of work for the whole team at Black Bear Crossings, but they enjoy putting it all together for their bridal couples! Planning a wedding can be stressful, but they hope the Bridal Tasting helps relieve some of that stress. Black Bear Crossing always strives to make every couple’s wedding a unique and unforgettable experience. If you are interested in finding out more about booking your wedding at Black Bear Crossings please contact Shannon Lovejoy at 651. 488. 4920. View more photos of the Taste Testing here.