OM closed, owner Vikram Uppal mum on "Shanghaied" NYE party debacle

Categories: News
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In the aftermath of a truly terrible New Year's party, OM is closed.
In the wake of a disastrous New Year's Eve party hosted by Thrifty Hipster's Matthew Dowgwillo, it has become clear that OM -- the party's original venue -- has closed.

Owner Vikram Uppal had been silent as to the status of his restaurant and declined interviews. In an initial email response to questions about the failed "Shanghaied: New Year's Eve 2011" event, he said only, "The current status of OM does not have anything to do with this."

Uppal was a teenage real estate wunderkind, beginning work with his father at Uppal Enterprises at 18. In 2007, when Twin Cities Business magazine named him an "Emerging Leader," he boasted $25 million in real estate developments. The University of St. Thomas grad told the magazine he hoped to inspire others "to be the next Jack Welch, or the next Vik Uppal!"

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Chef Raghavan Iyer during OM's boom times.
In 2008, he jumped into the high-end restaurant game by opening OM on the first floor of the historic 401 First Avenue North building, which he owns. The restaurant specialized in high-end contemporary Indian cuisine crafted by James Beard Award-nominated cookbook author and chef Raghavan Iyer.

Then Uppal's name started popping up in the papers under less auspicious circumstances. In February last year, he told the Star Tribune he was working with lenders to resolve a $13 million debt on one of his apartment complexes.

This summer, Iyer quit his consulting job at OM, incensed that Uppal was ignoring his advice. He says he had to sue Uppal for his remaining wages.

"The main owner has no experience with restaurants. There's a lot of meddling," says Iyer.

In November, word got out that 401 First Avenue North was in foreclosure.

The foreclosure announcement set off rumors that OM was destined to close, and TC Food Finds tweeted they'd be shut by Janurary 1. Uppal denied the rumor.

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Vik Uppal in less contentious times.
December brought word of an epic New Year's Eve bash hosted at the restaurant by local promoter Thrifty Hipster. The invitation for "Shanghaied" promised an extravagant Asian speakeasy theme, with acrobats, go-go dancers, casino-style table games, and Japanese bondage art all going on in unused space within 401 North First Avenue. Tickets ranging from $45-95 were snapped up by 1,000 eager revelers.

Behind the scenes, however, trouble was brewing. The invitation went out long before anyone thought to call the city, according to Minneapolis's licensing manager Grant Wilson. He had to find out about it from a flyer.

"Somebody turned in one of those to us," he says. "We sent them a notice saying, 'You can't have a party in space you don't have permits for.'"


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17 comments
MN
MN

Vik is a total POS. His ex girlfriend used to live with me, I had to get a restraining order against him. He is a liar, a creep and a wife beater.

Guest
Guest

Just want to say that I’m disappointed in this closing. On December 2nd I hosted a birthday dinner at OM and the food plus service was absolutely spectacular. Hope chef Eric P. Wait lands somewhere else.

Mel Jazz
Mel Jazz

why are all city page articles about a month old? is this a vestige of niggardly Tom Bartel, or his fatty brother? This website is a lame turd, call it city turd.

Matt1Up
Matt1Up

Here are a few pictures to show you what was going on at the other space prior to getting screwed over. As you will be able to see there was a ton of hard work and planning going into this event and it was going to be sick had it actually went down at OM and not the Graves.

http://www.facebook.com/album....

Duder
Duder

Kinda funny how this turned into another slam on Thrifty Hipster when really it just proves what Matt D was saying was true.

Pi
Pi

I went to school with Vikram and he's a good guy. It's a shame to see this happen but I'm sure he'll take some lessons from it.

JAE
JAE

Hot-Spot.?. that place was always dead except for the owner in his booth and his cadre of used up blonde strippers. $9.50 for a beer wont keep you open long either...

vitajex
vitajex

Monk says:

There's no such thing as "re-concepting".

vitajex
vitajex

There's:- a handful of pictures of unfinished plywood blinds on some windows- a picture of what appears to be a solitary (and rather nondescript) strobe/laser attached to a ceiling- a picture of a cheap, child's Casio keyboard on a table- a picture of an aerial lift (that I hope would not have been featured at the party)- and a couple of pictures of big Rubbermaid containers

I'm confused. What am I looking at? What are these pictures supposed to say?

UST grad
UST grad

I also went to school w/ him. Huge douche who rolled around campus in a new lexus and peacoat...

Guest
Guest

Proof is in the pudding! Re-concepting happens ALL of the time! Examples of it all over the city.

Just
Just

Vik Uppal is full of shit saying that "once the party was moved we had no operational involvement" He was over at the graves 'trying' to oversee shit the while time after the party got moved. Ask the graves who met with them originally about moving the party.....

Vik is the real person to blame for this whole debacle. Matt from Thriftyhipster has to share a certain amount of blame but this article should make it very clear who fucked everything up. When you plan a party for months and months, have dozens of meetings, and spend thousands upon thousands of dollars you would usually be safe to assume that the person running the venue has the necessary permit for the party. That's the only fucking task Vik had to complete and he had months to do it. It's completely obvious that the guy was just trying to cut corners and save a buck.

Matt1Up
Matt1Up

Hello Vitajex,

- The blinds were staying like that because they looked awesome. And we used OSB not plywood. We were going to put two Color Kinetics Colorblast12 led fixtures behind each section of window shining up to create a vent effect as the colored light shined out through the haze.Here is a link http://www.verrents.com/assets... These fixtures are used all over town in different architectural applications such as the exterior lighting of Seven.

- That non-descript thing a ma jigger you see attached to the ceiling is actually a High End Systems Studio Spot 575CMY fixture. We had six of those little guys. Here is a link to a video I made where I am actually running the same fixtures with my little cheap, childrens, casio keyboard. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

-The aerial lift was being used to install the lighting. We had to actually drill into the ceiling and attach sections of unistrut to be able to mount the lights as there were no other points on the ceiling to attach the fixtures to.

- The rubbermaid containers held all of the cool lights and the cords used to connect them to one another

I hope this explains everything. These pictures are not really supposed to say anything, they are just a glimpse inside all of the hard work that was going into making this space awesome before we got screwed and had to take everything down and move it.

Here are a few more links for you in case you are still confused

We had 12 of these http://www.verrents.com/assets... 22 of these http://ledneonlight.com/images...2 of these http://www.circuitlighting.com...and 6 of these http://www.solarisnetwork.com/...

Also - here is a few more lighting setups I've done (i ran all of these with my childrens keyboard as well)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Just
Just

One other funny thing to point out its that when they moved the story off of the main front page of the website yesterday and over to the left hand side they added the word 'badly' onto the headline

'badly botches nye party'

Either you botch something or you don't. To use the word 'botch' would already infer it was done badly.

"I wonderfully botched a chocolate cake for Christmas and my family loved it!"

Just
Just

I think that is obviously clear. They have posted the same picture of him up three times so far. This story is about OM closing and Vik Uppal yet they still manage to throw a huge picture of him up one more time. Its actually kind of funny how blatant it is.

I am eagerly awaiting city pages hitting the stands today. Wouldn't be surprised if matt has the front cover at this rate.....

Mnhackco
Mnhackco

I was a subcontractor who worked on the 401 building and the Om during construction. Vik repeatedly lied about money due us and other contractors. That's why the building is currently in forclosure. He got what he deserved!

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