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Aribel's closed (MSP)

Just went to try it last night. Guess the predictions were right, its out of business. No details, just thoughts I'd let the board know.

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  1. NNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! aw, aw, no. . . no!!!

    this economy can *^&()(6ing ()&^& itself for what it's doing to wee family owned restaurants.

    r.i.p. aribels. i wish you a new, smaller, better located storefront in minneapolis proper, or maybe midtown global market, where your gifts of deliciousness are more adequately appreciated.

    1. Well... that's bad news, although not surprising in the least.

      It really should serve as a reminder of the need to these places in a down economy.

      Not long ago, we were at Crystal Bistro. They're also struggling, but trying to market themselves more. They've added a belly dancer some weekends, and are thinking of changing their name to something that better reflects the food.

      The Chowhound community really makes a big difference to these places.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Danny

        I'd be sad if Crystal Bistro went under, too. I think with the economy and gas prices the way they are, people are staying closer to home, literally, and places that don't draw a crowd of neighborhood regulars or that aren't in a downtown where they can attract lunching office types are really going to struggle. Plus, this is the time of year where people are going up to their lake cabins for the weekends, not dining around town. So, yes, if you want these places to survive, you must patronize them.

        Dara mentions in her blog that Pierre's Bistro is on the brink. http://minnesotamonthly.com/media/Blo... I've never even heard of this place here on Chowhound, have I?

        ~TDQ

        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          Probably not. I've not eaten there based on my better half's not-so-great experiences there. I've only heard mixed reviews at best for it. The cynic in me asks why Pierre's is struggling because of construction while both Broder's outlets continue to zoom along. But that's just me. Hard for me to judge though without any experience. According to Dara, there are lots of folks who love the place.

          1. re: bob s

            I like Pierre's but they could use an updating of the menu or more inviting specials or maybe a seasonal, local approach. Some of its biggest fans could be the Lake Harriet trophy wives who oogle over Pierre at the wine bar.

            And I will miss Arabel's as well. I hope they can try out a better location.

      2. Giorgio's on Hennepin also closed recently which isn't too surprising but sad nonetheless.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Somnifor

          I heard that Giorgio's is remodelling, not closing.

          1. re: galewskj

            According to the PiPress (http://www.twincities.com/restaurants...), Giorgio's is closing. Giorgio Cherubini blames the closing on the slow economy and rising prices. Also, according to the blurb, he is selling his space to Jon Hunt, the chef/owner of Al Vento.

        2. I was there just a bit over 2 weeks ago for lunch. We were the only two people there, for the entire almost 2 hours we lingered over what was a delicious lunch. I ordered based on all you CHounders' recommendations, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This is sad news.

          1. How sad. It bugs me how bland chains can prosper (and I'm not a hardcore anti-chain type saying this), while local gems like Aribel's often fail. I suppose they didn't get the word out enough. At least I ate there.

            9 Replies
            1. re: tvdxer

              For better or for worse, some of the chains are hurting too. Just yesterday, the parent of Bennigan's and Steak and Ale filed for bankruptcy - causing its two company owned Bennigans in Bloomington and SLP to shutter, along with the Steak and Ale in Bloomington.

              1. re: bob s

                So now there's four more places that can be demolished and replaced by a Sonic. Oh yay. Good job MSP diners.

                I'll echo the others that say I hope these guys don't give up.

                1. re: MSPD

                  As disappointed as I am about Aribel's closing, I don't know how much of this you can blame on Twin Cities diners. After all, Aribel's was located in a pretty out-of-the way spot. I never once drove past Aribel's on my way to anything else. If I hadn't read about it on Chowhound, I would have never known it was there. It's not like Richfield is especially known for its restaurants (at least Jun Bo is visible from the freeway.) It's not like they were located in a high-density area or even along Eat Street or University Ave which are known for neat little restaurants.

                  And how much attention did they get from the local food press? I might have missed something, but, as far as I know, virtually none. If you do a google search on Aribel's most of the hits you get are links to chowhound or bloggers or other food forums who, I suspect, got the word from chowhound. In fact, the only local critic who picked up anything about Aribel's, as far as I know, was Zimmern, who mentioned it in his blog (citing chowhound, by the way.) So, the sad truth is, Aribel's wasn't situated in a location that made it easy for the public to discover them and they didn't get a lot of media attention. There's only so much chowhounds can do to keep a place like that afloat and continue to get the word out.

                  In contrast, how much attention did the local food media give the opening of Sonic? I know there was more than one mention in both the Strib and the Pioneer Press.

                  It's sad, but I think you have to give Twin Cities diners a break. It's a complex web of factors and I think lots of balls were dropped here.

                  I like others hope they can find a spot along Eat Street or University Avenue or in Midtown Global Market where they might get some more traffic and where people (who don't read chowhound) go looking for great chow.

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I tried writing to Dara to get CP to cover Aribels, but I think that was around the time she was leaving. CP can have a huge bump on a place. The seem to have created a ton of business for Kebobs which is in almost as bad of a location (a dying strip mall in Bloomington next to the naughty store where they sell things for bachelorette parties) I like their new format that seems to give mention of more than one place a week. (I hope this post doesn't get moved) Another place that I feel is in danger is First Course on South Chicago avenue. I think they are feeling the heat of all the new neighborhood bistros in the area. I would tell people to rush there but we didn't have the best meal last time we were there. Is there any reason for gnocci to be one bnig mess of goo instead of individual pieces? Am I missing something? Could it be Tuscan gnocci or something?

                    1. re: mnitchals

                      Bummer, eh. Speaking of City Pages new format, I'm having a hard time knowing where to look on their website for James Norton's "A la carte" column. Do you think you can give me some tips on how to find it in my post over on Food Media and News? http://www.chowhound.com/topics/543814

                      Yes, I think there was a small gap there in the local food press when they were all doing their big switcheroo/musical chairs thing around the end of 2007/early 2008. And then I think there was a small gap when Dara had her baby ( the woman is entitled to live her life, of course!)

                      Tell us more about First Course, if you wouldn't mind. I'm not familiar with it. It's on Chicago, you say? Do you know the cross street?

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        First Course is on Chicago just south of 56th. It's in the block of stores bookended by Mike's Corner Store and a small Kowalski's. It's a nice place with patio seating that can be very pleasant if you don't mind airplane noise.

                        The restaurant has been open for about six or seven years now and expanded a few years ago. There have been a few posts about it over the years here. It's in my neighborhood, but I only go occasionally. The menu is interesting but can be inconsistent. I've had both very good and very average dinners there. They are kid-friendly, which is nice.

                        1. re: Jordan

                          I walk past First Course daily and have noticed that the outside tables have been pretty bare this year. Also, a month or so ago, they put up a cheap fabric sign advertising tap specials in the afternoon.
                          Even though I live very close by, I stopped going there after being insulted by the owner. When I want something close by in that price range, I gladly I take my business a few blocks up Chicago to Cafe Levain. In my book, competition is a very good thing.

                          1. re: Kilgore

                            First Course was one of the first places to roll out the 1/2 price bottles of wine thing. And they have a kid menu. I would write a longer post about it but it's not worth writing about anymore.

                            Wow! I wonder what the owner said to you Kilgore! Restaurants like Pierre's and FC have to compete with those of us looking for new experiences. It must be tough to be in the biz but that's the way it goes.

                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                      C'est vrai.

                      Aribel's suffered from a lack of publicity, and more importantly, a lacking location. Where are most interesting ethnic restaurants in the Twin Cities located? The "cities" - St. Paul and Minneapolis, with concentrations in certain neighborhoods and on certain streets. I'm from Duluth, but I'm pretty sure people don't think of Richfield (or most other TC suburbs) when they're looking for somewhere "interesting" to eat. Suburbs are traditionally associated with chains of all sorts, but not "chowish" food.

                      However, there's a place where you MIGHT be able to find some of what Aribel's served up, IF they're still open - a restaurant classified as "Guyanese" on my MSP Unique Cuisines list, located here (but in need of an update!):

                      http://geocities.com/tvdxer/chow

                      If you don't want to load the PDF, it's

                      Palm Court
                      2424 Central Ave. NE
                      Minneapolis
                      612-789-3373
                      http://www.palmctmpls.com/
                      Traditional Guyanese / Carribean

                      (The web link isn't working, so it's possible that they're closed. Perhaps somebody who works / lives in that area can confirm?

                      )

                      -----
                      Palm Court Bar & Restaurant
                      2424 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN

              2. Chetranee and leon(the owners) were outside the other day, and i was going to ask them what going on. i dropped our car and walked back but they had left by then. so i will keep my eye out.

                1. The deeper problem here is that people are going out to eat less in general, mostly in reaction to the increase in the prices of gas and food. Twin Cities restaurant operators have the same problem as the steel companies did in 1981: too much capacity, not enough customer demand.

                  It will stay like this until the price of gas goes down (which may never happen) or a bunch more restaurants go out of business, or there is prolonged strong economic growth and rising incomes.

                  1. well i just got the official word. aribels is done.