Stadium Village’s Bakers Square restaurant closes its doors

Rumors about what its replacement will be are swirling around the area.

Two weeks after Bakers Square restaurant closed, the future for the vacant space is still unknown.

Bakers Square was open since 1987, until Vicorp Restaurants Inc., the parent company of Bakers Square, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy April 3, which prompted the closure of the restaurant.

Josh Kern, spokesman for Vicorp Restaurants Inc., said the Minneapolis location was one of seven restaurants closed out of 18 in the metro area, because it was underperforming.

“With the amount of rent that we were paying versus the number of customers coming in, it just didn’t make sense to keep it open,” he said.

Felix Meschke, assistant professor in the economics department, said the business needs to get approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court before a decision can be made about dealing with the unoccupied space. It could take a few weeks or months, he said depending on the specific case.

Despite the length of time it could take in court to figure out what will happen to the space, rumors are swirling about what will go there.

With a location near campus, the University could be interested in the land occupied by both the Days Hotel – formerly Days Inn – and Bakers Square, if the two were to enter the market, University spokesman Dan Wolter said in an e-mail.

“The University would certainly consider purchasing them as their proximity to campus and the planned growth of campus in that direction would make them attractive,” he said.

The proposed plan for the Central Corridor project would run along Washington Avenue, making the land Bakers Square and Days Hotel currently occupy an attractive asset for the project.

Laura Baenen, spokeswoman for the Central Corridor project, said the Metropolitan Council has no plans to buy the vacant restaurant space.

However, Debi Grant-Smith, manager of the Days Hotel, said she never heard that the University had interest in buying the hotel.

“I do love the rumors,” she said. “We just signed a 10-year contract with Days Inn Worldwide, as well as the management company, so we are not going anywhere.”

Alumnus Eric James, who’s lived in the Prospect Park neighborhood for five years, said he doesn’t think the restaurant, which was built about five years after the hotel, should have ever been built.

“The hotel should’ve been built to the sidewalk and double in size,” he said, “We’ve been so under-served by these chains when so many more businesses could fit it.”

Lois Willand, member of the Prospect Park Neighborhood Association, said while she and her husband had gone to Bakers Square occasionally, it wasn’t her favorite.

“There was nothing particularly inspiring about the place,” she said.

Willand said she hopes the empty building will attract a new restaurant that might be independent and not a franchise.

While Vicorp is looking to the future, Kern said there aren’t any plans for the Minneapolis space. He said it’s up to each individual owner to decide what to do afterward.

Whatever the owner of the former Bakers Square decides to do, Meschke said, the business’ poor credit rating will hinder any future projects.

When a business owner files for bankruptcy for their company, it’s like filing personal bankruptcy and can have an effect on their credit rating and history.

“They will have a harder time getting a loan and will have higher interest rates on loans they do have,” he said.