Egg rolls, burgers and fries to add flavor to Southeast Como

Two new restaurants will open in the neighborhood this summer, taking the place of Football Pizza and Sporty’s Pub and Grill.

Businesses on Como Avenue are seen on Saturday, June 15 in Minneapolis.

Chris McNamara

Businesses on Como Avenue are seen on Saturday, June 15 in Minneapolis.

Imani Cruzen

Two new restaurants are opening in Southeast Como this summer, bringing Thai and pub food to the busy, student-filled neighborhood.

Family-owned Thai Cuisine Xpress is expected to open in early July in Football Pizza’s former location on the corner of Como and 15th Avenue Southeast. Como Tap is expected to open in Sporty’s Pub & Grill’s current location on Como and 22nd Avenue Southeast in August.

Football Pizza announced its May closure and transfer to Eden Prairie on its Facebook page after more than 10 years in Southeast Como.

Thai Cuisine Xpress will offer Thai cuisine, such as pork egg rolls, beef and seafood salads, curries and pad thai, along with alcoholic beverages. It will also offer catering, co-owner Pa Pra said, and they are considering a discount for students.

“We care about food, delicious food,” said co-owner Mu Win. “We do everything, almost everything, out of scratch, so that’s a little different than other restaurants.”

The business has a location in Coon Rapids and a Chili Thai Cuisine location in Lino Lakes. Their pad thai and egg rolls have been popular, Win said.

“It’s a type of food that we don’t have in the neighborhood, and it’s the type of food that a lot of people love,” said Southeast Como Improvement Association board member and resident Joan Menken. “It just adds a variety that we’ve not seen before.”

Former Sporty’s Pub & Grill owner Joe Radaich and former server Jana Kern will be opening Como Tap in August after Sporty’s current lease ends.

“We’re going to be doing some of the renovations over the summer and so we’re hoping to be open by the time school starts,” Kern said.

Como Tap will feature local and craft beer on tap, Kern said, and items made from scratch, like burgers, fresh-fried chicken, salads and fresh-cut fries. There will also be nighttime entertainment, such as karaoke, trivia and bingo.

“We definitely want to have a comfortable atmosphere, a place where people can feel that they can bring someone, that they can still have a conversation within our dining area,” Kern said. “But yet, still, we have the separate bar area for those who want to play the jukebox and kind of listen to music and that sort of a thing.”

Radaich owned Sporty’s Pub & Grill from 1998 to 2012 and currently owns the building. Sporty’s Pub & Grill is expected to close at the end of June after its liquor license expires, said owner Chris Christopherson. The building opened its bar in 1963, according to Christopherson.

“Restaurants are very competitive,” Menken said. “There are so many of them, and you see this all over the place, coming and going. Basically, it’s the quality of the product, whether people like it. If they do, they’ll support it.”