When chef Ann Ahmed announced last month that she was opening a new restaurant in south Minneapolis, the project didn't have a name.
Well, initially it did: Spice Market, but Ahmed quickly dropped that connection to star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's New York City restaurant of the same name. That Spice Market closed in 2016.
Ahmed has settled on a name, one that resonates with her heritage. She's calling her new enterprise Khâluna.
"In the Lao language, it's a simple translation, to 'please,' " she said. "But it comes from the Buddhist teaching which means 'compassion.' This is the name I personally can connect with, and it's a name in which I want to operate my business. It's my belief, and how I want to share it with the community."
Khâluna (pronounced khah-loon-ah) is going into the former Harriet's Inn (4000 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls.). The restaurant and bar will also feature a retail component, and that flexible space — with its own entry — will also be used as a gathering place for private events and cooking classes. Ahmed doesn't have a lot of food-and-drink details, and no opening date has been set.
Ahmed operates Lat14 Asian Eatery (8815 7th Av. N., Golden Valley, lat14.com) and Lemon Grass Thai Cuisine (8600 Edinburgh Centre Dr., Brooklyn Park, lemongrassmn.com).
Rick Nelson • @RickNelsonStrib