Last week, the new owners of beloved Northeast diner, Modern Cafe were announced and Eater Minneapolis caught up with new owner Jon Oulman to get the scoop.
Oulman, co-owner of 331 Club and Amsterdam Bar and Hall is currently in the midst of opening his new seasonal outdoor eatery, Como Dockside, on the shores of St. Paul's Como Lake. His group, Oulmandelman LLC, is the mysterious buyer of the much-loved Modern Cafe, which closed back in March after over 20 years.
When former owners Jim and Patty Grell decided to retire, they got an offer for their diner, but it was from a chain. They approached Oulman, whose bar, 331 is right next door. "Even though they were leaving, they still cared about the neighborhood, and so do I," Oulman said emphatically. Oulman’s group bought the space to make sure the laid-back neighborhood vibe remained intact. In the meantime, he has been so busy with the opening of Como Dockside, he and partners, Josh Mandelman and Jarrett Oulman, have not had much time to decide on a concept for the new eatery. One thing is certain, it will not be the 'new Modern'. "Jim and Patty did not want it to be a variation of the Modern," Oulman explained. "They didn't want us to use menu items or the name. They wanted to retire the Modern, and we are going to respect that."
-by Alex Lodner