Mesa Pizza, TargetExpress highlight incoming campus business

Dinkytown’s only non-specialty clothing store closed, and Sally’s and other displaced businesses are set to return.

Nicolas Hallett

With a change of seasons comes a turnover of businesses near the University of Minnesota.

The Minnesota Daily has compiled a comprehensive look at the changing commercial activity on and near campus.



Coming soon: TargetExpress

Dinkytown will serve as the test site for the first-ever mini-Target store this summer.

Dubbed TargetExpress, the store will be about one-sixth the size of Minneapolis-based Target’s smallest branch stores, allowing the company to open more locations in dense urban areas, Target spokeswoman Sarah Van Nevel said.

The inaugural TargetExpress will be at the base of The Marshall, a 317-unit apartment complex on the site previously home to the University Technology Enterprise Center, or UTEC, building.

TargetExpress will model the format of its larger counterparts, Van Nevel said, offering products ranging from electronics and groceries to health items, including a pharmacy.

Van Nevel said the store will reflect comparable prices in the University of Minnesota area and is set to open July 27.

Relocated: Underground Printing

A common destination for University student groups, Underground Printing has moved to a new location on Fourth Street Southeast.

The custom T-shirt store replaces the longstanding printing shop Autographics Printing, which closed after owner and former Dinkytown Business Association President Skott Johnson moved back to Austin, Minn.

Underground Printing manager Matthew Price said the company has been on campus since 2008 and wanted a storefront with more space and visibility.

Closed: Peppermint Park

Potentially Closing: Mesa Pizza, Camdi Restaurant, Dinkytown Tattoo, Publika Tea and Coffee Union, and the University LifeCare Center. 

Doran Companies, which plans to build a hotel on the site, has requested to demolish the buildings housing these businesses.

The Minneapolis City Council will vote to approve or deny the demolition permits later this month, which the HeritagePreservation Commission denied last week.



New: Abdul’s Afandy

Squeezed into a tiny, 450-square-foot space on Washington Avenue Southeast, this Middle Eastern restaurant caters to an untapped market with its classic falafel, hummus and shawarma.

Owner Mohamad Abdul Ahmad opened the store in October and said business has been booming ever since.

Afandy, which means “at your service,” focuses primarily on to-go orders, deliveries and catering to the hospital and other nearby campus properties, Ahmad said.

New: Little Szechuan

Stadium Village’s newest Chinese restaurant, which will specialize in dishes from the Sichuan province, is due to open any day now, Stadium Village Commercial Association marketing consultant Matt Frank said.

It’ll be owner Rong Bai’s third location in the Twin Cities, replacing the Vietnamese and Thai restaurant Jasmine Orchid.

Bai previously told the Minnesota Daily she wanted to open a location in Stadium Village because many students already bus to the St. Paul Little Szechuan location down University Avenue Southeast. Bai, a Sichuan native, said she prides herself on authenticity.

Coming soon: Mesa Pizza

Mesa Pizza will open a second location near the University in Stadium Village this spring.

Mesa owner David Hathaway said the new store is an expansion location and won’t replace his Dinkytown store, although Doran could demolish it for the proposed hotel.

Hathaway said the popular pizza-by-the-slice chain will open the new store at Stadium Village Plaza on Washington Avenue Southeast, between Burger King and Darque Tan.

Hathaway said the location will open in mid-March or early April and that its size and menu will mirror the Dinkytown location.

Returning: Topper’s Pizza, Sally’s Saloon and Eatery, and Gold Country Apparel

All three will return this summer after a one-year sabbatical during the construction of the 700 On Washington apartment complex, said CPM Companies leasing specialist Daniel Kuether. 

Closed: CSL Plasma to make room for WaHu, an 11-story, 333-unit apartment project by developer CPM Companies.



New: Mango Factory

After the fall opening of OneTwoThree Sushi in Dinkytown, the campus-area sushi market continues to expand with newly installed Mango Factory on the West Bank.

Located at 233 Cedar Ave. S., Mango Factory offers a range of authentic Japanese dishes, including ramen soup, udon and bento boxes.

Coming soon: Town Hall Brewery

A new rendition of Town Hall Brewery will greet customers later this spring.

Brand Manager Stephen Schacht said the brewpub closed Jan. 1 to do a major interior remodel and to expand the brewery.

The Town Hall Brewery franchise opened its third Minneapolis location this summer, Schacht said.

The Seven Corners location will reopen March 1.

Closed: Otanga Grocery

The Cedar Avenue fire Jan. 1 destroyed Otanga Grocery.

“It’s very much a big loss for the community,” West Bank Business Association Executive Director Jamie Schumacher said.