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Feb 3, 2012 06:41 AM

What happened to Midtown Global Market?

I visited for the first time in a while this week, and it seemed to be quite dismal compared to what I remember. There are many abandoned/open spaces. I had trouble finding something that looked good. What is the best place in there now? Is it just me or did it used to be a lot better?

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  1. The abandoned/open space thing has been going on for a long, long time. Gradually over years. It used to feel more diverse.

    Sonora Grill is the best place in there now. Salty Tart is pretty good (except for their cupcakes). There are some other pretty good spots that have been there from the beginning including Manny's Tortas, Los Ocampo, Cafe Finspang (for certain sweets)...

    I was sad to see the following go: La Sirena Gorda, West Indies Soul, Starlight Cafe (is that even the right name? The East African place?), Everest Cafe. Birchberry (even though it wasn't a restaurant...).


    1. well there is this crap economy thing going on...

      1. There's a new Asian spot opening soon as well as a "gastropub" concept with a bar. There's still hope for Midtown Global Market...

        6 Replies
        1. re: Petey McNichols

          I seriously can't see a gastropub succeeding in Midtown Global Market, but I hope I'm very wrong. What soupkitten said about the crap economy strikes a chord.

          There are so many great neighborhood-driven places now that it seems people stick a little closer to home.

          I hate to say it, but MGM reminds me now of the fading stages of other former great hot spots in historical buildings. If you're old enough to know better you'll remember Bandana Square, St. Anthony Main and River Place in their glory days. Fun times!

          1. re: justalex

            The gastropub/bar situation seems sketchy. That space has said "coming soon" for three + months and exactly nothing has happened with it. If anything, it looks like more of a dumping grounds than ever.

            I just don't think MGM gets or has ever gotten enough traffic for it to really thrive. The only place that is ever consistently busy that I can tell is Salty Tart.
            +1 for Sonora Grill. I hope they make it, but it it would surprise me. And NOt because the food isn't great. If they were someplace on Lake St closer to uptown, they'd kill.

            1. re: splatgirl

              Yeah, I don't know how anyplace survives there. It deserves more traffic than it gets.

              1. re: splatgirl

                The gastropub is (might be wrong) American Bistro and the work seems to be coming along. Still a lot more to do but the tear down of Jade is complete and the bar is finished so I wouldn't be surprised if they manage to open in a couple of months.

                1. re: Petey McNichols

                  Update - The gastropub is called Well Seasoned and is coming along nicely. Construction has been steady. Website is up but limited. The owner is previously from Buster's and Happy Gnome as is the chef.

              2. re: justalex

                The Gastropub is still slated to open, my understanding is that involves a couple of the BOH guys from Busters.

            2. Hmmm - wonder if something changed last week? I was at MidGloMa (thanks, TDQ!) two weeks ago, and it seemed pretty full; I think there were two or three open spots, but that's less vacancy than in previous years.

              As far as good eats, +1 on Sonora Grill and Salty Tart (and the rest TDQ mentioned). I'd add Safari Grill, where I love the spicy chicken soup - tastes like the Chicken Fantastic in liquid form - and the camel burger (ask for extra grilled pineapple). Holy Land's is a staple in my rotation (great hummos, chicken, and gyros - skip the fries), though I usually go to the mother ship on Central Ave. I also LOVE the cheeses from Grass Roots Gourmet.

              I didn't like the Italian ices, though - they're way too sweet. (The kids I was with loved it.)

              And if the Kitchen In The Market is open, check out what they have for sale. I got a delicious harissa sauce-in-a-squeeze-bottle a few months ago, and I've got my eyes peeled for those soups that HeavyTable just reported on last week.

              P.S. Has anyone tried the Filipino/Hawaiian/pan-Asian place, Lutang Mekeni? I haven't made it there yet, because I can't resist Safari's camel burger and Sonora Grill's pinchos.

              3 Replies
              1. re: AnneInMpls

                Q: does lutang mekeni serve hawai'ian plate lunches?

                1. re: AnneInMpls

                  Lutang Mekeni is on its last legs. Hasn't been open the last 4 times I've gone. (All this past month)

                  1. re: Petey McNichols

                    Update - Luteng Mekeni is doneski...official.

                2. Wow, really? I love this place and every time I'm there it is HOPPING! Obsessed with Grand Italian Ice and Cafe Finspang-and the ladies are super nice.

                  Went to Chinese New Year to see the Lion Dance and was amazed at how many people were there on a Friday night.