An open letter to the savior of Dinkytown

You’re not a slumlord; you’re a ‘fun’-lord! Save us from chain restaurants and false taste.

Adri Mehra

Dear Jason McLean,

I had this rocktacular idea the other day. I was passing through the usual blitzkrieg of vacant stares (and ever-vacating storefronts) in the shoddy excuse for a “neighborhood” we call Dinkytown, and my too-copacetic mind was struck by the angelic refrains of a business proposal that could blush the faces of a thousand Donald Trump apprentices.

Because you own or have owned three of the coolest destinations in D-town (Loring Pasta Bar, the Kitty Cat Klub and the Varsity Theater), why don’t you just buy the rest of the single-block radius and do what you do best – turn the hoses of Good Taste and Aesthetics and let them reign o’er the entire business district?

I know you trust me about as far as you can kick me, but my appeal to you is simply not that far-fetched, considering tenant history. Area entrepreneurs John and Greg Pillsbury have a lucrative cottage industry in feeding hungry frat kids right on their turf with the hugely successful Burrito Loco and Red Rocket.

Before they literally pulled the plug on their workaholic live music calendar, the Steak Knife was a weekend institution – run by Tony Nicklow and George Atsidakos, two friendly actual Greeks who come from a long pedigree of Twin Cities hospitality (Nicklow’s, Best Steak House, Peter’s Grill). Face it. Dinkytown’s already a Dinkyopoly. So why not throw your immaculately sequined, fashion-forward, Milan-runway hat in the ring? Besides an extreme makeover, Dinkytown needs a few more utilitarian things. A more comprehensive grocery store, for starters. Mom-and-pop hardly suffices for those of us accustomed to shop-’til-you-drop. Let’s get some Nutella up in the house, for Dinky’s sake.

Come on, it’s unbeatable. The audience is commercially captive – tens of thousands of strapping young students with eager souls and more than a modicum of Daddy’s disposable income. Your legacy in esteemed University lore would be secured. Forget the regents and the Alumni Association. If you bought up and cleaned up Dinkytown, it would be a public service exceeding that of any farting focus group or slap-happy stadium shoe salesman.

Your reputation as an innovative interior designer is second to none. It is also a unified approach – one need only step inside each of your properties for a nanosecond to see your signature gypsy-plush style. Frankly, it’s as if Stevie Nicks snorted some lines off of your schematics, and then had a run on your sleek architectural infrastructure with a box of Crayolas. But seriously, you’re a great manager, too. Not only are your joints supreme eye candy, the staff is, too. Some of them have cheekbones higher than the Varsity rafters.

Listen, McLean. Just buy the rest of Dinkytown, and send the regents the bill. Before you can say “strategic positioning initiative,” you’ll be making money hand over fist, and the uncomfortable sexual overtones of University policy directives can continue unabated long after this column has “penetrated” the public discussion. Shameless. But never you mind. Go to.

Pasta la vista, Stinkytown. Get ready for a big bowl of change. With best wishes (of high expectations),

Your (occasionally) friendly neighborhood columnist.

Adri Mehra welcomes comments at [email protected]