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Urban Olive and Vine is a must-try location

The wine café offers an inviting atmosphere for customers of Urban Olive and Vine. Photo by Margaret Ontl1 / 2
Owner Kay Timm opened Urban Olive and Vine at 520 Second St. in the Harding's at Hudson building. To the right are the Fusti, stainless steel air and light tight tanks offering infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Photo by Margaret A. Ontl2 / 2

When you walk in the door of Urban Olive and Vine, located at 520 Second St. in the Harding's at Hudson building, intrigue sets in.

The right side of the wall is lined with sparkling stainless steel tanks called Fusti. They hold the "gold" within: infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars with names like Tuscan blend, blood orange, basil and jalapeno for the oils, and fig, peach and pomegranate for the vinegars. The air and light tight tanks assure the freshest of products.

Kay Timm, who lived in the Twin Cities for 25 years before moving back to her family home in Michigan, took a fresh look at Hudson when she was unexpectedly laid off from her job as an national account manager in February.

What she found was a thriving, lively town. Hudson offered her exactly what she had in mind, a year-round business community with a resort flavor. For Timm, the next step was researching what would be a good fit.

"I liked what I heard and it seemed like this was the right place to be," said Timm, who was in national sales for 30 years, first with Lenox and then for a cutlery company.

"I always thought I would love to have my own business, and I had interacted with small business for over 30 years so I had a good idea of what it required."

Taking a hint from the West Coast, Timm has created a business that offers customers a unique experience. First and foremost are olive oils and vinegars that customers may sample much like they would at a wine tasting. If they find something they like, they can purchase a small or large bottle of the chosen favorite.

Secondly, beginning in the morning Timm offers brewed Zingerman's Coffee, made from fresh-roasted beans. Paired with the coffee will be daily pastry items from Bread Art in Bayport, Minn.

Moving on through the day, the menu includes a variety of salads and panini sandwiches. On to the evening, the wine café - an inviting and cozy bar, booth and table arrangement - welcomes customers in to enjoy local and California varieties of wines.

In the fall, expect events featuring wine and chocolate, and wine and cheese pairings.

Last but not least, Timm has brought in a wide variety of gift and gourmet items ranging from sauces to local cheese and imported Greek olives. Picnic baskets and coolers complete the offerings.

Timm is assisted by her son, Ryan, who manages the Gopher Hills Golf Course in Cannon Falls, Minn.

"When people walk in the door I want to make them feel at home," said Timm. Even though she has a lot to offer, it is displayed tastefully on shelves from the original store.

"I tried to keep the character of the building," said Timm. "It has so much charm."

While all of the offerings give customers a lot of different options, it is the olive oil and vinegar that takes center stage. Timm plans to rotate the varieties offered.

The olive oils are produced in California or Italy, and the vinegars are primarily from Italy.

Tasting is believing. Whether you are after a hearty panini, a light salad or want to tickle your palate with exquisite samples, a stop at Urban Olive and Vine might be in the offing.

The store is open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call (715) 386-0400.