Hai Hai, the restaurant that replaces Northeast’s infamous strip club/dive bar the 22nd Street Station, will open Wednesday. The owners are Birk Grudem and Christina Nguyen. The couple burst onto the Minneapolis food scene as the operators of the Hola Arepa food truck and later a South Minneapolis restaurant of the same name.
Hai Hai, which is Vietnamese for “two, two,” will serve a mix of Asian street food inspired by their world travels through Vietnam, Thailand, and Bali. The flavors will be anything but reserved. Bold, bright, herby, spicy, and, in the words of Nguyen, the culinary mastermind: “More fish sauce, just more, more, more fish sauce.”
Much of the interior’s finishes came back with them from Vietnam, such as the fans that serve as lampshades over light fixtures. The walls are covered by brightly colored wallpaper and a huge patio will extend the bar seats outside.
Behind the bar Grudem mixes the top-shelf, tropical-influenced drinks like a margarita with habanero finish, tall tiki cups with impossibly long bendy straws, and more.
Like Hola Arepa, the prices for drinks and food will be affordable, with dishes under $20.
Hai Hai opens at 3 p.m. Wednesday and will serve until midnight. Hours are 3 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Sunday and 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday and Sunday.