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The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

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The Minnesota Daily

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Keefer Court closes after 40 years

The Chinese bakery and cafe located on West Bank has closed permanently due to the owners’ retirement plan.
Image by Shalom Berhane
The cafe opened in 1983, and there are plans for a community-based facility to move into the building to provide services to the surrounding homeless population.

After 40 years of business, Keefer Court, a Chinese cafe and bakery located in the heart of West Bank, permanently closed its doors in December.

Keefer Court opened in 1983 and was known for serving authentic Chinese and Hong Kong style delicacies, including handmade pastries. The bakery has gained popularity over the years, bringing customers back with their unique food.

After receiving an offer to buy the building in which Keefer Court resided, owners Sunny and Paulina Kwan decided to retire and move on after 40 years of service. Potential future plans for the space include a community-based facility that would provide services, such as a community kitchen and clinic, for the homeless population in the area. The new owner of the business has not been publicly announced yet.

The cafe was one of the only Chinese bakery present in the metro area. Many who frequented the West Bank bakery and cafe were upset to see the establishment withdraw from the business scene.

Aleah Anderson, a first-year University of Minnesota student and Keefer Court regular, shared her thoughts on the sudden closure of the cafe. Anderson said the bakery was a staple in her weekly routine.

“I was actually really sad when I heard that Keefer Court was closing; it was one of my go to locations right after my business classes over at Carlson,” Anderson said. “Their red bean buns were my favorite pastry by far.”

Michelle Kwan, Sunny and Paulina Kwan’s daughter, said she grew up in the bakery.

“It literally raised me, being that my parents had me during the heyday of Keefer Court kind of growing to be what it is today,” she said. “Who I am today came from Keefer Court and being raised there and [I’m] definitely sad that corner won’t be part of my life.”

Growing up with Keefer Court as more than just a place to call home, Kwan said she would miss the cuisine from her family’s once bustling bakery and cafe.

“I already miss the food, eating it my whole life and getting to have easy access to awesome Hong Kong style food and bakery. And so a lot of my feelings come in this bittersweet moment,” Michelle Kwan said.

KJ Starr, the executive director of the West Bank Business Association, shared similar sentiments.

“Of course we are all very sad about losing a long-standing member of our West Bank community and such a great business. I especially enjoyed Michelle [Kwan]’s addition of vegan buns,” Starr said. “The new owner of the building, however, is also a long-time business owner in the neighborhood who is a first-generation immigrant, so of course, we are also happy for her.”

Michelle Kwan said even though she was sad to see the bakery close, she was also glad her parents would have an opportunity to settle down.

“I’m really excited for my parents to be able to take that time and finally get to enjoy the life that they set up for themselves after working so hard moving to this country,” she said.

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