The Steady Drip Drip Drip

Downtown Minneapolis mainstay Ike’s is shutting its doors.

The owner doesn’t chalk it up to any single cause. Rather, it’s the slow drip drip drip of urban decay:

According to Winstead, the negotiations were meant to “address restaurant and market conditions” impacting Ike’s bottom line, including “labor costs, operational costs, maintenance costs and taxes.”
“There are so many issues, not any one of them a restaurant killer on its own, but taken altogether it adds up,” [owner Gene] Winstead said. 

And, naturally, the elephant in the room, the bit of blight whose name Minneapolis DFLers dare not speak:

Winstead “also cited a perception of downtown Minneapolis as unsafe for evening diners. ‘There is a little truth to it, but it’s mostly perception,’ he said.”

And it is – there are a lot of suburbans, by no means all conservatives much less Trump voters, who get hysterical about downtown crime.

But it’s not all hype. Unlike Saint Paul, which has its own perception problems, violent crime in general was up sharply in Minneapolis last year, along with a hike in homicide that is lower than Saint Paul’s, but started from a 2018 figure that was already higher.

But let’s back up to economics. When you point out that establishments in MInneapolis and Saint Paul are closing, they’ll respond “There’s always attrition in the hospitality industry”.

It’s not inaccurate.

It’s just that Ike’s other locations are booming right along.

As are suburban branches of other establishments that’ve packed it in in Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

9 thoughts on “The Steady Drip Drip Drip

  1. I closed my bar in Minneapolis last year. Between license fees, tracking mandated PTO, wages going up… He’s right. – it’s rarely one thing. But, one of the biggest was road closures.

    When the city shuts down a road for 9 months, it puts a real big hurt on traffic. Talking to city council and Mayor only got ho hums.

    If I try again, I’m moving down to Swiftee territory. Probably a lot less ironically bearded, skinny jeans wearing folks explaining that an old fashioned should be make a different way.

  2. This is funny. Winstead is the outgoing mayor of Bloomington. He finally packed it in after more than 20 years. Even though he’s out of office, I can’t see the mostly liberal city clowncil doing anything to upset his location here.

  3. I’m confused. Am I supposed to bemoan Minneapolis voters getting what they want? They’ve been asking their representatives to make their lives worse for years now, and now they’re delivering.

    But I still maintain my stance: my goal is to go within the 494/694 loop as little as possible. I’ve found it improves my quality of life significantly.

  4. My take here is that it’s getting beyond just regulations and wages and such; it’s to the point where we’ve got a very real issue of “critical mass”, where there simply aren’t enough good places to eat, drink, and have fun left to make it worthwhile to go downtown anymore. If you’re isolated from residential populations like downtown, you just can’t ignore this factor.

    Side note; we might infer, then, that strict zoning that keeps residential buildings out of districts (or vice versa) is a fast track to destroying entire districts.

  5. BB – could you please clarify if you’re you saying that downtown doesn’t have a residential population there already? I’d say that outside of a few areas, there’s actually a pretty solid mix of residential downtown. Plus, just across the river (about 1/2 mile) are all kinds of new buildings going in. All luxury condos to help with the homeless problem.

    If you’re saying that there just aren’t places to make it worth it to go downtown, I wouldn’t disagree with you on that though.

  6. I was thinking about the same kind of thing you are–mostly luxury condos, not much there for families. Perhaps you can make a commercial district out of SINKs and DINKs, but I’m skeptical.

  7. Concur that there likely aren’t many families with children down there. Then again, I’ve seen most neighbors in Northeast also move out when the kids get the school age. Even the most ardent supporters of progressive policies don’t send their kids to public schools here if they can avoid it.

  8. Yup, and don’t think that people with kids don’t notice that all the restaurants and such are designed for DINKs and SINKs. A parallel note is that except for Washburn, most of the Minneapolis schools compete in the small school division in track because nobody wants their kids to go there. So you get a fair number of young people who really ought to be running with the big dogs, but low enrollment and high school lunch assistance puts the kibosh on that.

  9. I work for a global company with headquarters in St. Louis, but also an office in Minneapolis. Though I work from home for a unit with “Global” in its title, I’m attached to the Minneapolis office for record-keeping purposes. Weeks ago I received a notice from our HR department that I have to complete a form mandated by the Minneapolis City Council stating that I understand my rights as a worker in Minneapolis, and have received all the documentation, in the language of my choice, from my employer with all the details (ostensibly to prevent “wage theft” and that I’m getting sick time).

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