Naked sushi can't save Temple

Categories: Restaurants

With or without naked sushi, I’m surprised Temple lasted as long as it did, actually. When I reviewed the restaurant a year and a half ago, I thought the space was stunning but the food was wildly inconsistent. In the following months, as soon as Temple’s novelty wore off, it struggled to attract guests, despite a series of Hennepin Avenue billboards.

The aforementioned naked sushi event, which City Pages reviewed and photographed, was a big success. But it couldn't stop this from happening.

While WCCO’s recent report blamed Temple’s demise on rising food costs, I think Temple’s location may have doomed it from the start, even if the cusine had been better. Though 1201 Harmon Place is right off Hennepin Avenue and just blocks from Loring Park, the address always seemed like blind spot in a car mirror--right there, yet right out of sight. The fact that the space’s previous occupant, the Caribbean themed Tiberon, was equally short lived, will perhaps give future leasees pause.

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But the prize for most cursed restaurant address in Minneapolis has to go to 2819 Hennepin Avenue--former home of the poorly named but tasty Mysore Café, which just closed a few days ago.

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In the past five or so years, 2819 has housed nearly as many restaurants: Antoine’s Creole Maison, Taj of India, the nomadic Uptown Diner, and the Sri Lanka Curry House. The space has always seemed a little dark and awkard to me, in dire need of a decent decorator, and, renting 3,200 square feet of space (at about $25-$35 square feet, according to the realtor who’s selling the building) is not exactly cheap. Are underfunded, poorly qualified restaurateurs biting off more than they can chew, or is there something more to it…


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