ReGrow Dining Spotlight

Nicole and Daron Close, Owners

When you look up the word “success” in the restaurant dictionary, you will find Acqua WBL. Husband and wife team Daron and Nicole Close met and fell in love while working for the highly successful D’Amico Group in Minneapolis. After managing several D’Amico properties successfully, they searched for the right location to open and operate their own restaurant. In 2009 their dream became a reality when they came across the quaint old house for rent on Craigslist wherein the restaurant now operates in the Marina Triangle. Growing up in Roseville and White Bear Lake, Daron was well aware of the need for a higher quality of dining in the area they decided to take the risk.

With creative Italian fare, unique craft cocktails and an imaginative wine selection, it wasn’t long before Acqua was the hottest restaurant in the area even recognized among the Top 50 Italian Restaurants in the country. Deciding to build on their success, the couple opened a second location in Forest Lake along with three Meet Markets, Pi Pizzeria, The Grill at Forest Hills, MIZU Japanese. Over the past two years they have scaled back a bit to maintain their quality and focus on their White Bear Lake brands including managing Cabin 61 and Admiral D’s.

When COVID hit they pivoted quickly establishing Curbside Take-Out, Delivery and Grocery to help generate the revenue necessary to keep them afloat. A Server Relief Fund was created and 10% of all gift cards sold was donated to help their staff through the transition. The community rallied with support raising over $15,000.

Nicole and Daron are immensely grateful for their opportunities. They credit the city’s investment in the Marina Triangle district as well as the incredibly supportive community as keys in achieving growth and maintaining their success.

This article was featured in the White Bear Press.