ST. PAUL NOTES | Cheng Heng, Trieu Chau, Homi and the Central Corridor


Once again, Central Corridor construction threatens small businesses along University Avenue. Construction is proceeding as planned, but the plan doesn’t take into account the paper-thin margin of mom-and-pop restaurants and what a few months of trenches and fences can do to them. The sort-of, half-way good news: because these are small businesses, a small number of people can make a big difference. So here are directions to a couple of places that offer really good food and should be able to stay in business.

Cheng Heng is a Cambodian restaurant, run by a family who serve great food in St. Paul and support a school back in Cambodia. My personal favorite: the chicken curry soup with noodles, easily enough to make two meals, but so good you’ll probably eat it all on the spot. At 448 University Avenue, it’s on the south side of the street and, as of April 15, there’s a path through construction to the parking lot. Read the Heavy Table review here. (Hours: 9:30-9:30, seven days a week. Telephone 651-222-5577)

Trieu Chau is right down the street at 500 University Avenue (Telephone 651-222-6148). My husband insists that it has one of the best bun bo hue soups in the Twin Cities, with a rich, spicy broth and lots of meat. Another favorite: great Vietnamese sandwiches on crusty baguettes, at least if you get there early enough in the day, before they’re all sold out. Trieu Chau also has a parking lot.

Homi, next to a Best Steakhouse at Victoria and University, serves “everyday food for everyday people …  basic food like chili beans, rice and tortillas,” according to co-owner Miguel Lopez. He’s too modest — he and his wife, Hortensia Reyes serve a great variety of homemade dishes, including chilaquiles, tamales, sopes and more. Homi Mexican Restaurant, 864 University Avenue, is open 8 to 9 everyday.  Call 651-222-0655. There’s a parking lot behind the restaurant – enter from Victoria, through the alley.

These are just three of dozens of fine restaurants on University Avenue — come on over to St. Paul and help keep them going throughout the construction season. 

(If you have a favorite restaurant — especially in the Central Corridor construction area — tell us about it!)

Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Collaborative.