It’s a bittersweet close to the year as Ann Ahmed has decided to close her original restaurant, Lemon Grass Thai in Brooklyn Park. “It’s been 18 years and I feel like it’s just run its course,” Ahmed told me last week. “When I think of everything I learned from that place, it really allowed me to take the leap with Lat14 and Khaluna.” Opened in 2005, Lemon Grass was the first restaurant where Ahmed cooked a menu inspired by her heritage and her travels.
The chef/owner told her staff last week that they would be closing at the end of March in 2023. The location has had ups and downs since the pandemic, even closing at one point this spring due to staffing issues. But she wanted to give her long-time guests a chance to come in and say goodbye, so stretching the closing out over a few months made sense. “I remember how we did all the demo on the space and built it up ourselves, it was a labor of love. We’ve had so many great years there and I’m happy for what we did in the community.”
While she wants to focus on giving Lemon Grass the proper sendoff, Ahmed did confirm that she will be taking over the former 4Bells space on Loring Park. She plans to launch a new concept there in 2023, but is not ready to discuss details at this time. Stay tuned for more info on that as the year begins.