On Sunday people gathered together, at a distance to bid farewell to Muddy Waters, a Minneapolis institution that served the city for over 30 years. The restaurant’s owners Sarah Schrantz and Paddy Whelan made the announcement that it would be closing in a heartfelt message to fans, saying, “Muddy Waters is not, and cannot be a place, Muddy Waters is people.”
Originally opened as a coffee shop on the corner of 24th and Lyndale in the artist-friendly Wedge neighborhood, it thrived through the heady coffee shop culture days of the 90s and was filled with a group of faithful regulars who ebbed and flowed in numbers through the years. Art hung on the walls, band fliers were handed around, and plenty of patrons lingered at tables for hours laboring over weathered notebooks. Others came from meetings, finding support and fresh community that knew all the gnarly stories.
In 2011, the shop transformed into a restaurant and moved to a new location, closer to Lyn/Lake. Although there was suddenly a full menu and bar, the heart of Muddy’s somehow grew and it became something new to a whole new crowd, while maintaining an important bit of the wonderful weird that once defined the area.
The restaurant’s Facebook page flooded with emotional tributes over the weekend, recalling early coffee shop days, more recent weddings in the back room, late summer nights in front of the open garage doors, and everything in between.
The restaurant had closed its dining room when Governor Tim Walz announced the statewide closure of all restaurants and bars as gathering places on March 17, but maintained delivery through third parties and to go orders.
It now joins a growing number of eateries that have closed in recent days in the wake of the pandemic shut down.