Washington Avenue pizza shop Manhattan Loft isn’t remodeling, as its owners told The Minnesota Daily for the April 27 article, “Spring brings eatery revamp.” In fact, the restaurant won’t be reopening at all.
A deputy from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office posted an eviction notice on the restaurant’s door May 1, said public information officer Kathryn Janicek.
By then, Sam Hasan and Julie Wild, the couple that owned Manhattan Loft, had already moved out of the space, said building co-owner Bill Nicklow. The couple owed him $75,000, or about a year’s worth of rent and other expenses, Nicklow said.
In mid-April, Nicklow said he noticed the restaurant was closed and furniture was being moved out. That’s when he said he called his attorney, Bob Junghans. Hennepin County court records show the eviction action was filed April 17.
“I think the remodeling story was just hocus-pocus,” Nicklow said.
Junghans said Hasan and Wild voluntarily handed over the keys and emptied the space prior to the eviction posting.
“There really wasn’t much that needed to be done (since Hasan and Wild were the complaints),” Junghans said.
However, this was the fourth eviction action brought against the couple in the past 18 months, Junghans said.
Hasan and Wild repeatedly failed to make rent payments, and Nicklow filed eviction actions, Junghans said. Then, after negotiating with the tenants out of court, Nicklow would dismiss the unlawful detainer hearing.
“Then three, four months later we’d be back doing the same thing again,” Junghans said.
Hasan and Wild have not returned calls from The Minnesota Daily, but e-mailed a statement saying although they had a loyal customer base for their campus business, they “have not been as fortunate” in tenant-landlord relations and business partnerships.
“We believe that when we opened Manhattan Loft in November 2004, our then business partners/landlord had their ‘eye on the prize’ so to speak.
“Anyone who witnessed the transformation from an out-dated Vietnamese restaurant into the current vibrant and hip space Ö can understand how a landlord would want the space for themselves,” Wild wrote in the e-mail.
She said she’d hoped to remodel after a small kitchen fire this past spring, but “the difficult circumstances continued and ultimately led us to make the decision to walk away.”
Nicklow said he never heard about the fire.
As for the now-vacant space along Washington Avenue, Nicklow said he’s looking at
several prospective tenants, but is keeping an open mind about what to do with the space.
“It could be another restaurant; it could be a dance studio,” he said. “I’m keeping my options open.”
He said he hopes to select a tenant by the end of June.