Can a restaurant location really be cursed? Or is it just the end of the year, when business owners decide to cut their losses and move on?
First there was the closing of Rojo on Nicollet Mall, in what was once Ling & Louie’s and Randle’s.
Now, Piggy Bank, which occupied the location in Uptown formerly known as Lotus, Game Sports Bar, Salsa à la Salsa, Boneyard, and Old Chicago (see what we mean by cursed?) has called it quits.
Burgers, vegan bar food, games and choose-your-own music was supposed to solve the problems at this troubled spot at 2841 Hennepin Av. S. in Minneapolis. Its tenure fell just shy of a year.
Kam Talebi, founder and CEO of Kaskaid Hospitality (the company’s portfolio includes Crave, Union Rooftop, Brit’s Pub and more), said this particular location may not be suited to a restaurant after all.
“The number of restaurants that have come in and tried certainly tells you that it’s a tough site to operate,” Talebi said. “If you look at the sheer size of the restaurant, you’ve got to look beyond hospitality to see what other uses there could be.”
About that size: The space is 6,000 square feet, plus a parking lot — which is both a benefit and a liability, Talebi said. (Maintenance, security and taxes make parking lots a little less appealing to business owners than to customers with cars.)
The address is only barely beyond the foot traffic at the crossroads of Uptown, Talebi explained.
“This is a second-tier location in Uptown,” he said. “It’s a block away from the nucleus and the heart of the dining and bar scene.”
Then there’s the other point restaurateurs often make when they close in Uptown: The neighborhood isn’t what it used to be. (See also: Libertine.)
“The dynamic of Uptown is changing and dining is becoming tougher and tougher as a sole offering. Either you’ve got to have a rooftop in your portfolio or have a very strong bar and nightlife component of the business,” Talebi said. “I think Libertine signaled that and there has been turnover, and certainly this location has had its share. And we just took a hard look at it and there came a point where it just didn’t make sense.”
Piggy Bank officially closed on Tuesday. Staffers were offered jobs at other Kaskaid restaurants, Talebi said.
As for the curse thing, Talebi isn’t buying it.
“Honestly, I don’t think so,” he said. “I think a location always comes with its set of challenges and plusses and minuses.” Here, there are simply more minuses.
“In general,” he said, “the demand for coming into Uptown has withered away.”