“We love this neighborhood, most of us have lived or worked in it at some point in our lives, we just think it’s time to give it more attention,” Lina Goh said about Eat Street, the eclectic neighborhood that offers a diverse menu of restaurants and night life along Nicollet Avenue. John Ng added, “When we first came to Minneapolis so many years ago, we had our first meal on Eat Street.”
That’s why they’ve decided to open a food hall there, at 2821 Nicollet. Eat Street Crossing will be a food hall in the Old Arizona Studios building, which if you remember had an odd Western movie kind of vibe. Lina Goh and John Ng, who own Zen Box Izakaya, have partnered up with Ben Spangler and Gabby Grant-Spangler of Bebe Zito to launch this new project slated to open later this summer. Are you already thinking about ramen and ice cream? Hold on.
The food hall will hold six unique concepts, each with its own identity and look, but instead of bringing outside vendors in, the partners will be creating the food stalls. We know that fan-favorites from Bebe Zito will be offered, so yes burgers and ice cream of a sort, but they’re also working on a new concept that we haven’t seen from the creative duo. Team Zen Box won’t be recreating Zen Box, but they aren’t revealing what exactly their food stalls will be yet. Though, I did put in a heavy ask for ramen. You’re welcome.
Along with the six counter service food stalls, there will be indoor and outdoor seating, event space, and a full bar and beverage program run by drinks maven Trish Gavin, lastly of Khaluna and Lat14. Gavin plans to feature a themed cocktail menu that changes quarterly, and she’s really honed her NA beverage skills and wants to show them off, “I’m super excited that we will also have a huge non-alcoholic cocktail program, keeping things accessible for those who prefer alcohol-free options. We will also feature many items designed using sugar alternatives for diabetic accessibility. Our drinks will also be approachable from a pricing standpoint.” Additionally, there will be a wine wall, offering a rotation of boutique, moderately priced wines. The property will also house a liquor store, which will have its own entrance, but will be accessible from the food hall.
But this is not a market. “We don’t want to confuse people with the name, or what we’re doing,” Goh told me, “We’re not selling groceries or wares, ESC will focus on good eating and gathering. We’re thinking about this like the food halls in Singapore that I grew up with. This community is so diverse and creative, with MCAD nearby and residents from all walks of life, we want to give them a space where we can all hang out together. We started this project before the pandemic, and it’s taken so long to get here. But we see people needing to meet up and we feel it more than ever, that this is the right place for this food hall.”
The 15,000-square-foot building is undergoing renovations as we speak. On the job is Christian Dean Architecture, which has had a hand in the way Colita, Kado no Mise, and Quang all look. Everyone wants the historic brick and stone element to stay intact. There will be a mezzanine level for live music and events.
Watch along their Facebook and Insta as they continue to shape up the old building. If all goes well, they should be able to open late this summer. Stay tuned for more info about the coming concepts!