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Feb 23, 2010 12:40 PM

Jade at Midtown Market: Out of Business

Just went by the Midtown Global Market today. Sadly, Jade has closed. I am sad for Carl and Ruth Wong, the owners, who used to run the Seafood Palace on Nicollet. I know that they worked hard to bring life to that corner of the Global Market, and I really liked their dishes quite a bit. They had to let staff go gradually throughout their year or so in business. I am also sad for the Midtown Global Market, as it is another challenge for this space. I heard from a staff member that a Thai restaurant is looking at the space to open a restaurant there.

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    1. i just think that a sit-down restaurant that's located *inside* an international food court is going to have special challenges. seems like none of the restaurant incarnations that have occupied this space could really get traffic or keep the price point low enough to compete with the other vendors who occupy less space and pay less rent. you could see folks going in and ordering drinks and an app, then deciding that what everyone wants is really alambres from los ocampos, a manny's torta, some west indies soul food or a fish taco from la sirena (or all of the above) and next thing you know, people would leave. sad to say, but i think the space might be best served by a straight *bar.* at least that would have a prayer of attracting enough regular business to stay open. . . or maybe an independent coffee shop (maybe carrying desserts from salty tart) could make it work.

      2 Replies
      1. re: soupkitten

        * I have no idea why this is doubling and I can't seem to fix it.

        I agree completely. Only once out of many visits to MGMkt have I chosen to eat at one of the sit down restaurants. The appeal of going to the market is to either get quick take out, or to purchase food from multiple vendors and let my toddler run around. While the ability to get drinks at the sit down restaurants is a draw, it's never enough to overcome the appeal of everyone in our party eating from different places.

        Regarding safety, I always park at the meters on the west side of the building because they are free after 6pm and I don't like snaking around the parking ramp. I've never felt unsafe either while alone or with my young child. I suspect that many people, at least who live in Minneapolis, aren't letting the fear of crime deter them, it's just that MGMkt isn't in a centralized location enough that it's in people's minds as a quick and easy place to grab a meal.

        1. re: katebauer

          Folks, we removed several tangents about neighborhood safety.

          Chowhound is a great place to discuss where to find deliciousness, but when it comes to serious issues like personal safety, we're not a reliable source for information. We've found that those discussions inevitably get heated and well off-topic for our site -- no one likes to hear an area where they live is considered unsafe.

          We also don't want to leave anyone with the perception that they'll get an accurate gauge of possible safety issues by reading Chowhound -- we're never going to be able to provide timely or complete information on those issues, and it could be dangerous for someone who assumes we do.

          It's best for people who are concerned about personal safety issues to do their research somewhere they can be sure to get up-to-date reliable information. We can't be that place.

      2. This is sad. I moved here from Brooklyn 2.5 years ago and one of the things that eased the transition here was the presence of the MGM. As for Jade specifically, the food was solid. The place was kid-friendly. The owners were always nice.

        1. Yes, I feel sad for the owners who are very good people and who did many adjustments to try and make the space work--from offering a buffet to lowering the price on the buffet to expanding the appetizer options. They are hard workers. I am saddened to know the human cost when restaurants need to close for the owners and the workers. It is a tough, tough business in ordinary circumstances and even tougher now.

          Yet, now that Jade has closed, I too wonder what kind of restaurant could make it in this space. I love the Global Market. And I love what it does for the neighborhood.

          I don't know what kind of food would draw people to the Midtown Global Market for a sit-down meal, especially if the management really does want the space to be open late at night. I like the idea of a coffee shop or even a coffee shop/bar--that "soupkttten" suggested. (And I love the suggestion of having desserts from Salty Tart.) But I wonder if this would draw people after hours and if this might ruin the existing coffee shop. And if this would turn a high enough profit for the space.

          It is that delicate balancing act--I don't think that the managers of the MGM want the space to be vacant after hours. (I think that they want amenities for the people who live in and around the building.) But I also don't think that they want the place to be too unruly--for it to be a place just to drink or for it to be too crowded after hours. Perhaps an after-hours jazz club with good food--perhaps soul food??, at a lower price point than the Dakota -it's just that acoustically the place isn't set up for it.

          One option could be if there were some other restaurant niche that wasn't being served in the Twin Cities that would attract a "foodie" crowd who would drive in from different places specifically for it. I just don't know what that niche would be.

          Or perhaps the management needs to give up on the idea that the place can accommodate a sit-down restaurant and just put in more "take out" vendors--perhaps even putting in a place that just specializes in very well prepared frozen or re-heatable food to go, either on a daily basis or in packages that could accommodate a week.

          Or perhaps making this space a special event space, where "foodie" events could be held or where different chefs (on a rotating basis --maybe monthly) could serve a very limited tasting menu of their work and interact with the customers. So that it would be an educational and fun month. (There are enough chefs who are looking for work now.) So that one month might be Chef X serving a limited tasting menu of this specialty and interacting with customers. And then next month might be Chef Y serving a limited tasting menu of her specialty.

          Who knows?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Northsideguy

            Your post has made me think that the one thing that would draw me to a sitdown restaurant at MGM would be if they offered a cuisine that I couldn't get anywhere else in Minneapolis. For example, there was a recent discussion about wanting Japanese style ramen in the cities. I would totally go to a sitdown restaurant in MGM if it was a noodle bar, maybe with some yakitori too. I think what's unappealing about the current sitdown restaurants there is that if I want those types of cuisines in a restaurant setting, I wouldn't go to MGM, but if I'm going to MGM it's because I want the market experience.