Billy Tserenbat knew there was something special about the date May 4.

He chose it months ago for the opening of his new North Loop restaurant, Billy Sushi. And it’s Star Wars Day (“May the fourth,” get it?), which he feels gives it a kind of power.

“It’s a big day,” said Tserenbat, who owns Baja Haus and used to own Sushi Fix, both in Wayzata, and the Bibuta food truck. “May 4 is the day you really want to do something.”

It also happens to be the date Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz set for the current stay-at-home order to end, potentially allowing restaurants to reopen for dining.

Whether that order will actually be lifted is unknown, as Minnesota fights to flatten the curve and delay a spike in the spread of the coronavirus.

But while many restaurateurs are figuring out how to keep operating in a limited capacity for the long term, Tserenbat is sticking with his plan to open his doors on May 4 at 116 1st Av. N., Mpls. (in the former Sweet Chow).

“I’m not worried,” he said. “If it’s allowed, we can open.” If not, he’ll start with takeout.

The space is coming together, though with fewer seats than originally planned. It can hold 130, but he’ll set it up for 70, with diners seated 6 feet apart.

“It’s the most cheerful news,” said the bubbly Tserenbat, who sees it as a mission to give diners something to look forward to. “Everybody is so worried and so anxious, and we need something positive in this world right now.”

He knows his plans could change at any moment “in these unpredictable days.” (Check the website and social media, or call the restaurant at 612-886-1783, to confirm the potential opening.)

But he’s not letting that dampen his optimism.

“Obviously the crazy people do crazy things,” Tserenbat said. “So, I am one of those crazy guys.”

 

@SharynJackson