After 16 years in business, Dinkytown's Kafe 421 (421 14th Av. SE., Mpls., 612-623-4900, kafe421.com) is closing its doors. The restaurant’s last day is July 31.
The affordable and approachable bistro is the work of Georgia Sander and her daughter, Antigoni Sander. It has been a reliable respite for University of Minnesota faculty and staff, students, visiting parents and nearby residents, and a warmly hospitable alternative to the neighborhood’s wide swath of fast-casual restaurants.
“I don’t want people to think that I’m doing this because I have to,” said Georgia Sander, who emigrated to this country from her native Greece when she was a teenager. “I feel like it’s time. I’ll be 71 in September. You recognize your capabilities. But I have so many good memories, and I love the energy you get from the people coming in. You become part of their family.”
The Sanders aren’t leaving Dinkytown, however. The plan is to continue their popular catering operations in the restaurant’s kitchen.
“We’re contracted to be there for an additional year and a half,” said Antigoni Sander. “We have private events booked into the space for the next few months, and we’re open to additional inquiries for the space through Dec. 31st.”
The restaurant’s closing isn’t the only recent change for the Sander family. Antigoni Sander is a new mother of a 5-month-old baby.
“Obviously, it’s sad to see this era in our family come to a close, but we feel as if we’ve had an amazing run,” said Antigoni Sander. “We feel so lucky to have had the support of the neighborhood, and the university, all of these years. We’re excited to have a newborn in the family. I’m ready for Mom to retire, and slow down, and become an overbearing Greek grandmother.”