On a rainy, cool day Ha Tien is a warm and welcoming site. The shelves are lined with colorful products, and the aroma coming from their deli – roasted pork and pepper shrimp – is intoxicating. It’s been over a year since the Daily Planet last stopped in to Ha Tien Market. In that time, much has changed around the grocery store, located at 353 University Ave. The Green Line has been completed, construction has ended, and things are starting to settle down into a new normal. But according to Ne Dao, proud co-owner with her husband Son, that new normal may not be for the better.
Standing in the midst of their root vegetable section, we discussed how the Green Line had affected their business. Did it bring in new customers? Was it easier for old customers to reach the Market? To my surprise, Ne spoke critically of the light rail station that sits in front of her business.
The small chartreuse and white building on the corner of East Lake Street and Stevens Avenue might be easy to miss, but what goes on inside might well become a model for solving the problem of fresh produce and healthier foods in lower income neighborhoods. The Good Grocer, a new kind of neighborhood co-op that opened June 15, is already getting healthy and affordable food to people in the area. Once, people living nearby in the Lyndale and Whittier neighborhoods had easy access to good and affordable food. But, after Sullivan’s SuperValu, a large grocery store with a 28-year history of serving the community closed two years ago, residents found themselves with few options. In an area where many don’t have much money to spend or reliable transportation to travel miles to buy groceries, the neighborhood had no access to a quality grocery store. Continue Reading
[Editor’s note: This is part of a series on businesses along the Green Line, one year after opening. We profiled the Dubliner and other University Avenue businesses in 2014 as part of a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Fund grant. We’re returning after the opening of the light rail to see what’s changed.]
Story by Loren Green, video by Allison Herrera
“The clientele changed and then the business changed,” recalled Dubliner owner Tom Scanlon. He’s not talking about the impact the Green Line has had on his long-running University Avenue Irish pub, rather changes that the Avenue has seen since he first acquired the business in 1984. At the time, it was a trucking bar. Continue Reading
[Editor’s note: This is part of a series on businesses along the Green Line, one year after opening. We profiled the Russian Tea House and other University Avenue businesses in 2014 as part of a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Fund grant. We’re returning after the opening of the light rail to see what’s changed.]
For almost four decades, Nikolai Alenov’s iconic Russian Tea House had done well, selling ‘Russian fast food’ even back in the days when Russian cuisine seemed daring and exotic. Alenov and his wife, Linda, served their lunch-only crowd their specialty beet borscht, cabbage and meat rolls, piroshky (buns filled with beef, rice, cheese and caramelized onion,) and beef stroganoff over vareniki (potato filled ravioli-like dumplings), attracting a fan base–people who were willing to drive from around the Twin Cities to their location on St. Paul’s University Avenue. Continue Reading
Pronounced “shee,” Sidhe are earthen mounds, which, in Irish folklore, house the Aos Sí, a fairy-like race. Sidhe Brewing, which opened in St. Paul this May, takes that lineage and ritual seriously. Head brewer Kathleen Culhane identifies most strongly with her Irish heritage, and the four owners’ pagan beliefs clearly influence the design and functionality of the brewhouse. With a logo that depicts the elements of beer and a taproom décor that subtly pays dues to key pagan symbols, it’s a unique stamp and is just one way that differentiates the brewers from their bearded brethren in the local microbrewing scene. Continue Reading
It’s Thursday afternoon and the customers keep coming through the door of Coastal Seafoods in the Seward neighborhood of South Minneapolis, lining up in the tiny store to make their selections. “It’s our busiest day,” says assistant manager Hazel Lauer. “It’s whole fish and salmon discount day. We have a lot of customers from cultures that aren’t Minnesota Hot Dish. They like whole fish rather than just boneless filets.”
She holds up two large, spiny, black sea urchins, the most exotic thing in the store, she says. Continue Reading
The city of Minneapolis is anxiously anticipating the opening of The Sioux Chef’s first venue: Tatanka Truck. Sean Sherman (Oglala Lakota) made waves over the last year by introducing his unique approach to Indigenous cuisine. Born and raised on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, he attended college at Black Hills State University. Part of his drive to create an Indigenous cuisine, free of processed sugars, dairy or flour, came from just being a chef in Minneapolis since the early 2000s,
“I had been cooking since I was 13 in the Black Hills, in tourist restaurants. And I thought It was silly that there was no Native restaurants,” Sherman said. Continue Reading
Café Racer, at 2929 E. 25th St., just opened this month after a long and serious review by the neighborhood, city staff and Council Member Cam Gordon. Gordon wrote: “I want to clear up any confusion about my views or understanding in relation to this new restaurant being proposed in Seward. “In general I try to approach these situations looking for ways I can help. When I learn about any new business, project or initiative, I start out looking for how I might assist a person or group in realizing their goals. If a project appears not to be in conflict with community goals or my core values, I work to help identify any issues or concerns and see if I can help find a path to a win-win-win situation. Continue Reading