The new sign hasn’t gone up yet outside the little cafe at 15th and E. Hennepin, but the former East River Market has been renamed the Chindian Cafe. The grocery shelves are gone, and the seating has expanded, from 12 seats to 20+. Chef-owner Nina Wong, who is ethnically Chinese, but born in Vietnam and raised in the US, has a new partner: her husband, Thomas Gnanpragasam, who is of Indian ancestry, but born and raised in Malaysia. “He’s a foodie,” reports Wong. “He loves to cook, and I trained him to be a chef.” (Wong got her training at AI International in downtown Minneapolis.)
Chindian Cafe, 1500 E. Hennepin, Minneapolis, (612) 676-1818.
Wong plans to add some Indian and Malaysian dishes to her menu, and already features daily specials like Nasi Lemak, a Malaysian dish of coconut rice with peanuts, fresh cucumber and anchovy sambal, alongside her Chinese stir-fries, Asian noodle salads, Asian hoagies and Vietnamese spring rolls.
The cafe is open Monday to Friday for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and for dinner from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Closed weekends, but most Saturdays, you can find Nina at the Mill City Market in downtown Minneapolis.