Mai Village faces foreclosure, seeks community support

Categories: News
Ed Neaton
Mai Village may be forced to close due to financial issues

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Through the thick and thin of economic recession and construction in the Central Corridor, St. Paul's Mai Village Vietnamese restaurant has remained the object of both popular and critical affection. But now it appears that Minnesota's first million-dollar Vietnamese restaurant may be facing foreclosure for the second time since it opened, reports MPR.

The restaurant's owners, Mai Nguyen and Ngoan Dang, are five months behind on their mortgage payments and are now trying to find a way to drum up the $150,000 they need to get themselves back in the black. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they have very much time to meet their financial goals: The Ramsey County sheriff's sale of the property has already been scheduled for October 24. 

In 2007 the restaurant was on similarly shaky ground but managed to stave off foreclosure after receiving some personal loans. This time around, the debt is much greater, and the owners have already downsized their staff. Even if they are able to raise the money, Nguyen admits they would have a long road ahead to try to stay afloat. 

In an effort to increase those odds, St. Paul's Asian Economic Development Association is setting up a PayPal account and Facebook page (looks like they're still in the midst of filling it out) to support the cause. The AEDA is particularly concerned that Mai Village's possible closing would signal the beginning of the end for other smaller restaurants on University. That could derail the association's plans to rebrand that swath of the neighborhood as "Little Mekong" when light-rail construction is complete.

Location Info

Mai Village

394 W. University Ave., St. Paul, MN

Category: Restaurant

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@in_a_Minh_it @citypages that is too bad. We had such a great dinner there. And next to a koi pond! I wish them the best.

Jean Claude Cau
Jean Claude Cau

Must support them, damn the light rail construction obstacles!

Julie Machnik
Julie Machnik

Mai Village is my favorite Vietnamese restaurant. I hope they don't close.


Wouldn't it have just been simpler had the Met Council actually engaged in meaningful oversight of light rail construction?


I have to pick up produce from Oriental 88 Market every week. Because of light rail, I found myself having to carry cases of produce over a half a block to my parked car. The owner said 'you can drive into our parking lot' but the signage posted by Walsh was actually blocking access to the makeshift frontage road.


I persuaded the owner to help me in moving that sign. Being from SE Asia, he was afraid to, even though the sign was in the wrong place. I also complained to his City Council member, something he would have never done. Then a few things happened, like better signage throughout that area.


The City Council deserves some credit, the Met Council absolutely none. Walsh Construction has not received any guidance or direction, and countless Midway businesses have gone under as a direct result.


The results? There are now lots of prime properties in Midway available for big businesses to move into AFTER light rail is finished.


Mai Village is just one of many victims. A cynic might think that this was all done this way on purpose. I don't think I'm being cynical when I say that Midway will be a very different place in a few years' time.


Not a better place, just different. More 1% friendly, for sure.


Sad, but not shocked. In my experience the food there was not as good as many other Vietnamese joints around town and was always a buck or two more expensive. The last time I went in there the beautiful wood carvings were all covered in years of dust. If that is what the front of the house looks like... May not be the case, but that's how many will perceive how the restaurant is run.

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