“I always open good restaurants, that’s something I know how to do,” said co-owner Tim Niver, and he’s not exaggerating, given his track record with Saint Dinette, Mucci’s Italian and the former Strip Club, all in St. Paul. “But you can’t predict everything. You get to a slow point, and you begin to see the flaws. We probably could have kept it going, but we’re business people, and you have to know when something has momentum, and when it doesn’t. It’s the right time.”
The restaurant’s last day will be Easter Sunday. Until then, the ownership team -- Niver, chef Adam Eaton and general manager Laurel Elm -- plan to operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily.
“It’s going to be a pretty limited menu,” said Eaton. “For the most part, it’s going to be sandwiches and bagels.”
Happily, that list of sandwiches includes what is one of the Twin Cities’ great cheeseburgers. Get it while it's still available.
“Yes, we’ll have the burger,” said Eaton. “But we’re scaling back. The small plates are going to become a lot more scarce.”
Niver said that Meyvn’s daytime business was good, but a dinner following never developed to their satisfaction. Is the location a cursed address? Meyvn is the third restaurant in five years to take a swing at the Lake-and-Bryant storefront.
Still, Meyvn isn’t disappearing entirely. Earlier this year, Kowalski’s Markets started selling Meyvn’s bagels, to the tune of 2,000 to 3,000 per week. The relationship started when Niver began selling frozen pizzas from his Mucci’s Italian to the supermarket chain.
“It’s a lovely partnership, and we’ll continue with it for as long as they’re on board,” said Niver. “I love the wholesale/retail side of this business, it’s helped me have another revenue stream.”
Another factor in the decision to close? The seemingly endless winter.
“It was horrible, and it’s something that no one wants to talk about,” said Niver. “The 60 days between January 15th and March 15th were the worst that I’ve ever seen, and I've been here a long time. And it wasn’t just at Meyvn. Mucci’s was off 25 to 30 percent, and Saint Dinette was off 30 percent.”
Compounding the issue was the loss of parking. Snowfall after snowfall pushed the city of Minneapolis to restrict parking to one side of the street for nearly four weeks.
“People didn’t want to venture out because it was cold, and it was snowing,” said Niver. “And if they did, there was the added hassle of encountering half the usual amount of street parking. If people aren’t out there, it won’t work. But that’s how it goes. We’re all going to be fine.”
Eaton said that the closure means that he’ll be back in the kitchen at Saint Dinette, full time.
“And I’ll learn from this experience,” he said. “And then we’ll do something else.”