HOME > Chowhound > Minneapolis-St. Paul >

Mai Village

bob s Mar 22, 2012 01:09 PM

Mai Village doesn't move me very much one way or the other, but it sounds like they're having financial problems. If you're interested in the history of the restaurant and its owner or in their current situation, here's more info: http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/column/l...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. s
    SarahInMinneapolis RE: bob s Mar 22, 2012 09:17 PM

    Mai Village's food has been so mediocre for so long. There are so many better choices for great Vietnamese food.

    1. s
      SarahInMinneapolis RE: bob s Mar 22, 2012 09:22 PM

      Just read the article. This woman got terrible business advice when she spent a fortune on the remodel. But also, it sure would be interesting to know how much free money and cheap money she got from the federal, state and local governments.

      In the end, though, it's her fault. The quality of the food declined. Nobody wants to watch koi in a fake stream and pay for bad food.

      2 Replies
      1. re: SarahInMinneapolis
        galewskj RE: SarahInMinneapolis Mar 23, 2012 08:40 AM

        I was going to write something along the same lines, but didn't want to appear insensitive. Now that you did it first, I'll chip in! The food I've had at Mai Village has been mediocre at best. The service is what you would expect at cheaper Asian restaurants, which is not a compliment. I never got a sense of Vietnamese "high culture" when going to Mai Village. I know it's very hard to create a successful restaurant, and I sympathize with Mai. But I also understand why people go somewhere else for dinner.

        1. re: galewskj
          MrStPaul RE: galewskj Mar 23, 2012 09:40 AM

          Hate to pile on, but I have to agree with the above posts. We haven't been to Mai Village in years. Overpriced, underwhelming, and my wife (who is South Asian) always reacted badly to the food.

      2. n
        namabiiru RE: bob s Mar 23, 2012 10:52 AM

        Food was good when they were a hole in the wall, always busy too. When they moved to the new place, once the novelty of it wore off, you were left to realize the food had gone severely downhill. I stopped going years ago.
        Its a sad story of a bad business decision.

        1. c
          ChillyDog RE: bob s Sep 17, 2012 02:43 PM

          Looks as though the end is near. They need $150,000 by October 24.


          8 Replies
          1. re: ChillyDog
            SmartCookie RE: ChillyDog Sep 18, 2012 06:45 AM

            It would be sad to see it close, but considering they have already been GIVEN $600,000, maybe now is the time.

            1. re: SmartCookie
              steve_in_stpaul RE: SmartCookie Sep 18, 2012 01:54 PM

              I just hope they don't name light rail construction as the "cause of death". Construction may have played a part in keeping customers away, but it has done so for many other restaurants along University, none of which apparently are teetering on the edge like MV.

              Agreed with the other posters; when I want Vietnamese food, I *never* think of MV. There's no real reason to.

            2. re: ChillyDog
              The Dairy Queen RE: ChillyDog Sep 22, 2012 11:52 AM

              This bums me out, actually. It's not my favorite place, but I hate to see an indie go down, especially when some light-rail chain vulture is going to swoop in and take the space. Culver's already moved in. I'd hate to see who'd move in next.

              It's been awhile since I've been. Maybe I'll give them another shot.


              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                karykat RE: The Dairy Queen Sep 24, 2012 10:59 AM

                You're right. The space is large and very well placed. It will be taken over by a chain for sure if MV goes down.

                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                  kevin47 RE: The Dairy Queen Sep 24, 2012 03:19 PM

                  Parasole has to be drooling. The "don't be coy" pond. Spring, winter, summer and fall rolls? And don't get me started on the words "pho" and "bun". The script writes itself.

                  That said, it seems like there are a couple of places that could take advantage of bigger digs and a liquor license. A second outpost of Lemongrass might be a nice fit.

                  1. re: kevin47
                    Db Cooper RE: kevin47 Sep 24, 2012 03:48 PM

                    Nobody can dumb it down and jack up the price better than Parasole. Remember when their business model used to be to take a genre and execute on it to the highest levels possible? Those were the days.

                    Personally, I'd vote for Ngon to get the space.

                    1. re: Db Cooper
                      foreverhungry RE: Db Cooper Sep 24, 2012 09:16 PM

                      I'm an unabashed basher of Parasole, but yet, I find myself here playing devil's advocate. Yes, there are plenty of their holding that I'm not a fan of - Burger Jones....well, that's about it. The rest are in the you get what you get vain. Chino? Tacky to the extreme. Yeah, that's the point. Manny's? We can argue about what's the best steak in MPLS, but it's still in the conversation (top 5, minimum). Mozza Mia? First time there, hated it. Went back 3 times, and it was solid pizzas all three time. Uptown Caf is light years better than its main competition across the street. And Salut....i'm of French heritage, and I was highly skeptical. First time there, I didn't like it. Other 3, yeah, it was good. Meritage, it wasn't. But then again, Meritage and Vincent's aren't very approachable. Salut is.

                      Is it stellar dining? No. Is it fun dining? Yes. Personally (and many of you might be appalled by this), but if Parasole does come in to that space, maybe they'll bring more people into an area that doesn't get a lot of traffic. I'm not saying that every neighborhood needs to have a dumbed down restaurant to be successful, but that area of U Ave needs something.

                      1. re: foreverhungry
                        MrStPaul RE: foreverhungry Sep 25, 2012 07:15 PM

                        "But then again, Meritage and Vincent's aren't very approachable. Salut is."

                        Really? I have found both places to be very welcoming on several occasions. Salut as well, but it's not on the level of Meritage or Vincent...not that it's trying to be, but still...

              2. f
                Fudist RE: bob s Sep 18, 2012 04:37 PM

                Maybe it's time to call in Gordon Ramsey?

                2 Replies
                1. re: Fudist
                  docfood RE: Fudist Sep 19, 2012 06:17 PM

                  Mai Village...mediocre food, over-decorated space, too expensive, and did not have a loyal following due to this to survive the light rail. A contributing factor, likely, but if they did not have such high overhead and lousy food they could have made it.

                  1. re: docfood
                    shadowfax RE: docfood Sep 22, 2012 08:16 AM

                    Is it weird that I read that in Ramsay's voice? ;)

                2. j
                  JimGrinsfelder RE: bob s Sep 20, 2012 09:17 PM

                  Mai Village is right next door to Little Szechuan. A fantastic restaurant.

                  The only other place in town where I think the neighbor contrast is as stark is Maverick's & Subway up in Roseville.

                  In both cases, you can take the door on the right for great food or take the door on the left and be disappointed.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JimGrinsfelder
                    brlattim RE: JimGrinsfelder Sep 22, 2012 01:04 PM

                    'AWESOME mavericks reference. I think the same thing ever time I go there. Seriously, a deflated "bread" sandwich. The only thing subway has going for it is the veggies.

                  2. scoopG RE: bob s Sep 22, 2012 11:16 AM

                    I would to see some accounting of what they used the $3.8 million that they were loaned in 2003 (as per today's Star Trib).

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: scoopG
                      brlattim RE: scoopG Sep 22, 2012 01:13 PM

                      I will save my donations for charities rather than restaurants. Never eaten there, and I love ethnic food but a good business will attract customers. Its a tough marketplace and even tougher given the economy the past 5 years.

                      1. re: brlattim
                        scoopG RE: brlattim Sep 22, 2012 04:08 PM

                        I agree. I would have assumed with $3.8 million in cash they would have been able to buy the building they are now in. What did they spend that dough on over all these years?

                        1. re: scoopG
                          zfwp RE: scoopG Sep 23, 2012 12:13 PM

                          business in the abstract is all alike. the questions of finance can turn very generic. when you go to SCORE or SBA their advice is often generic and primarily about finance. these little immigrant restaurants are another matter, they bootstrap themselves up from very little. often i think SCORE and the SBA should be taking advice from the immigrants rather than the other way

                        2. re: brlattim
                          steve_in_stpaul RE: brlattim Sep 23, 2012 06:58 PM

                          It *is* a tough marketplace, and I would suggest that people are getting more demanding about well-prepared/authentic cuisine. On that score, MV does not do so well. And they really didn't get their money's worth out of the building as any kind of event facility.

                          I agree, I hate to see indys go down, too, but it sounds like there was any number of bad business decisions made here.

                      2. The Dairy Queen RE: bob s Oct 12, 2012 10:27 PM

                        I wonder how this is going? Has anyone been there recently?


                        1. The Dairy Queen RE: bob s Oct 26, 2012 12:24 AM

                          From their facebook page: Mai Village is officially foreclosed and now owned by Western Bank.

                          But the restaurant is NOT closed. We are still open for business. We don't have to vacate the property for six months. We need your support now more than ever while we work out a deal to keep Mai Village strong for many years to come.

                          Thank you.
                          Mai Village


                          1. c
                            ChillyDog RE: bob s Apr 11, 2013 12:08 AM

                            Mai Village restaurant to stay open as Hmong American Partnership buys building


                            Show Hidden Posts