Taste of Manhattan moves to Dinkydome

Taste of Manhattan owners said they hope to find a permanent location for the business near campus within six months.

ABy Boa Lee After losing a legal fight over a three-month-old eviction notice, Taste of Manhattan shut its doors in Stadium Village last week.

The restaurant’s owners said the business is not gone and that it has temporarily relocated to the Dinkydome.

Its previous home at 616 Washington Ave. S.E. will be converted, along with an adjacent vacant space, to a Noodles & Company restaurant by mid-September, Noodles & Company spokeswoman Kelly Pascal Gould said.

Taste of Manhattan’s owners reached a settlement with owners of the building June 27, just hours before both parties were scheduled to appear in front of a jury, Taste of Manhattan co-owner Julie Wild said.

In exchange for giving up the space they leased, Wild and co-owner Hassan Mohamed will receive an undisclosed amount of money from property owners, Wild said.

“We were able to negotiate,” Wild said. “It’s not a victory for us, but that was our only option.”

The building owners could not be reached for comment.

Wild and Mohamed said they decided to compromise because they felt they did not have the “strong legal foot” to guarantee a win in court.

After receiving the eviction notice in April, Taste of Manhattan did not move out because its owners said their lease gave them the option to stay until 2008.

But on June 10, Hennepin County District Court Judge Francis Connolly ruled that the lease referred to by Taste of Manhattan owners was invalid because the owners of the building never signed that lease.

The court denied restaurant owners’ request to stay despite the eviction, concluding that Wild and Mohamed had actually been operating Taste of Manhattan under a 1996 lease that did not include the option to extend the lease.

Wild said the entire situation has taught her how to protect her interests.

“I’ve learned to trust but verify,” she said. “For us it was always that a handshake was a handshake and your word is your honor, but now we know to just have it in writing.”

Wild said she hopes to find a permanent location for the business near campus within six months.

“We’ve built a customer base here, so we want to stay in this area,” she said. “We have good ideas for our future, so we are excited to be able to do those things too.”

Boa Lee is a freelance writer.

The freelance editor welcomes comments at [email protected].