For now, Be’Wiched Deli at 800 Washington Avenue North and, the original chef-owned sandwich shop, home of the iconic pastrami has closed. Let that news sink in, sandwich fans. That empty ache where the smokey meats go is what the future could feel like.
Owner Mike Ryan said the problem simply comes down to math, “A lot has changed in the North Loop since we opened 10 years ago.” Back then, there were very few restaurants and a whole lot of industrial warehouse space on that edge of town. When the deli first opened, the idea of smoking meat in-house was revolutionary. Pretty much no one else was doing such a thing and the city responded in a joyous chorus, by crowding the store. Back then, there was plenty of parking and near-vacant streets outside. Now, the parking is a nightmare so well-known that nearby restaurant owner Gavin Kaysen trolled mayor Jacob Fry on Twitter.
The lack of access, soaring rents and changing times are all affecting this small business. But before anyone vilifies the landlord, Ryan assures, it’s not time for pitchforks just yet. “The TractorWorks people have been great. We’re trying to find a way that works for us to stay.”
A second location in the Jet 55 building at 12755 Highway 55 in Plymouth opened earlier this year, ahead of most of the other tenants in the new building. “That one was just a little bit ahead of its time.”
For now, Ryan is fulfilling pre-orders with what he can. All the payroll checks have been cashed. Vendors have been paid. “We’re just trying to figure out some way to re-open.”
“Last night I brought home a Be’Wiched window cling from the store. My 8 year old son wrapped it around his head like a bandana and said, ‘Look, Dad! This is what I’m going to wear when I work there.’” Ryan and his wife locked eyes. “That one was sharp.”
“I’m a hospitality guy. I want to take care of people and that’s just what I’m trying to do.”
The result is that Be’Wiched is closed for now, but there is a sliver of a chance that there is some way that this beloved Minneapolis business can still be saved.