Minneapolis's 5 most jinxed restaurant locations
In honor of Thom Pham's announcement that he'll be opening a new restaurant, Wanderers, at 555 Hennepin Ave.--a space notorious for its quick turnover of restaurant operators--Hot Dish decided to take a look at the Top 5 Jinxed Restaurant Locations.
5. 555 Hennepin Ave.
Will Thom Pham have better luck in this downtown location?
It's already taken down two other Asian eateries, Zake, and, before that, Musashi. Hell, it even killed an Olive Garden. (Did not even know that was possible: Isn't Olive Garden, like, the cockroach of the restaurant world in its ability to withstand any sort of apocalypse or wholesale nuclear meltdown?) The space has 9,000 square feet to fill, at prime downtown real estate prices, but restaurateur Thom Pham isn't daunted. "I love challenges," he says, while noting that the space that now houses Azia was home to seven restaurants between 1997 and 2002.
Despite the Hennepin space's enormous size, it has a *much* better location than Pham's former Temple: It's on a major intersection, very visible, with easy access to other restaurants/clubs if people want to make multiple stops. Now that Pham has a few more years in the business under his belt, and has cultivated a larger following of diners--the guy has 4,994 Facebook friends at last count, and he probably actually knows all of them--he could make this work in the same way that Kieran Folliard launched Kieran's in a smaller, more obscure location and, years later, was able to move the bar to Block E and pack an enormous space.
4. 1201 Harmon Pl.
Pham's former Temple was turned into office space.
Perhaps Pham will approach Wanderers using what he learned from his troubles at Temple, which was tucked in that invisible zone on the north side of Loring Park, a.k.a. downtown's Bermuda Triangle. The space is a prime case of being so close, yet so far away: It's a freaking block off Hennepin Ave., yet gets basically zero drive-by traffic. It's also enormous and has no parking. 1201 Harmon Place previously took out Tiburon, before Temple, as well. It was such a restaurant-killer that it's now been converted to office space. Whatever happened to the fish tank, anyway?