The owner of six-year-old Afro Deli will close his popular restaurant by Nov. 17 in the African Development Center (ADC) on the West Bank, after a months-long fight and ongoing litigation over a lease renewal and and an ownership dispute.
Afro Deli owner Abdirahman Kahin, who also owns a downtown St. Paul restaurant and catering service of the same name, said he plans to re-open in January in StadiumVillage on Washington Avenue on the east bank of the University of Minnesota. That's about a mile from his flagship location. Kahin also said he is negotiating for another, unspecified site on the West Bank.
“This is our best year ever,” said Kahin, who has expanded to 33 employees amid the landlord dispute. “We’re expanding.”
Kahin, in a lawsuit filed in June after months of failed lease negotiations, asked a Hennepin County District Court judge to ban landlord ADC from claiming ownership in his restaurant, and asks for more than $50,000 for lost business.Kahin charged that the executive director had wrongly tried to take over the restaurant, even though Kahin is the legal owner of the popular bistro on Riverside Avenue near Augsburg College and the University of Minnnesota.
Settlement talks failed to resolve the dispute.