New Dinkytown businesses face delays, hope to open by early 2018

Fine-tuning and inspections were cited as main reasons for delays.

Pedestrians pass by Num-Mi in Dinkytown Tuesday, Dec. 5. The owners hope to open early next year.

Carter Blochwitz

Pedestrians pass by Num-Mi in Dinkytown Tuesday, Dec. 5. The owners hope to open early next year.

Carter Blochwitz

Two new Dinkytown businesses have experienced delays and now hope to open by early next year. 

Num-mi, a new Vietnamese restaurant, and Left Click Lounge, a cafe geared toward video game enthusiasts, have faced delayed openings. Owners say the two businesses, each located on 14th Avenue Southeast, have been delayed due to final preparations and state inspection postponements. 

The Pourhouse Dinkytown, which had its grand opening Saturday, also experienced more than a month of delays. It was originally planned to open in late-October.

Num-mi co-owner Nam Tran said he needs to obtain more equipment for the restaurant and finalize its design before opening.

“We’re really focusing on getting the things in place and done right to have every person that comes in have a good experience,” Tran said. 

The business, housed between China Express Inn and Royal Cigar Tobacco, has been in development since the spring. 

Neighboring businesses have noted that Tran and members of his family have been doing most of the work themselves, including installing a freezer last week.

“We’re fine-tuning things here — the menu, the looks, the walls, the colors,” Tran said. 

The restaurant, which Tran said will bring a unique blend of pho soups and banh mi sandwiches to the area, is set to open by early next year.

“Hopefully by December or maybe January,” Tran said. “We’re hoping sooner — but we don’t know the time frame at this point.”

Left Click Lounge, located between Tim Hortons and The Refinery, was originally set to open Sept. 15, but has faced delays from state inspection waitlists.

“Our delay is with the state,” said Ryan Christianson, Left Click Lounge owner. “There’s only a handful of electrical inspectors for the state and we’re on the waitlist.”

Christianson said he’s hopeful the inspection will occur soon. He’s been in communication with the inspector, and plans to open the doors as soon as the inspection clears.

“We’re definitely making progress,” Christianson said. “We plan to launch once that’s done.”

Randal Gast, president of the Dinkytown Business Alliance, said opening a restaurant or business is difficult. 

Common roadblocks owners face include money, issues with the state and sometimes small lease discrepancies, he said. 

Gast also said the state, particularly the Minnesota Department of Health, can be difficult over seemingly minor aspects of a business.

“It takes a lot of money,” Gast said. “You got to have someone that is passionately interested in business.”