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Fundraisers Surge for Restaurants Destroyed During Riots in Minneapolis and Saint Paul

An outpouring of funds target the businesses damaged

Minneapolis and St. Paul George Floyd protests
Minneapolis and St. Paul restaurants are benefitting from funds in rebuilding in the wake of destruction
Scott Takushi / MediaNews Group / St. Paul Pioneer Press via Getty Images

It’s been one week since George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin while being detained under suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a bodega. The murder triggered continuing protests and three nights of riots in Minneapolis and St. Paul. During the height of the destruction several beloved community restaurants were critically damaged. These were restaurants already struggling after prolonged closures due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some had been serving take out and to go orders, others had been closed until the restrictions were lifted.

Many of these businesses are now benefitting from crowd-funded efforts to assist the owners, with some donations far outpacing the requests for funds. These are the restaurants and funds aimed at rebuilding after the devastation.

Gandhi Mahal: this family-run Indian/Bangladeshi eatery was damaged, and its courageous response on Facebook went viral. Owner Ruhel Islam responded to the damage saying, “Let my building burn, Justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail.” A fund begun by Rachael Joseph aimed to raise $3,500 to help the family-owned business rebuild. Funds raised are currently over $64,000.

Town Talk Diner & Gastropub: This restaurant with an iconic sign that dated back to its original iteration in the 1930s was broken into and trashed during the May 27 riots, and then burned to the ground overnight on May 28, the same night the nearby Minneapolis Police Precinct fell. Charles Stotts and Kacey White took over the diner in 2016 and served beautiful comfort food in a romantic setting. A Go Fund Me was started by Clay Turbeville aims to raise $20,000 for White and Stotts. It’s currently raised over $14,000.

Bolé and Bole Express: This Ethiopian restaurant at 490 North Syndicate in Saint Paul was gutted by fire just before a fast-casual outpost, Bolé Express was due to open. A remarkable fundraiser was launched by Lelna Desta quickly exceeded all expectations. Hoping to raising $122,000 so far. The eatery’s Facebook page promises a major comeback.

DuNord Craft Spirits: This cocktail room and distillery at 2610 32nd Street East had been making and selling hand sanitizer along with other distilleries during the pandemic and donating funds raised to feed hungry neighbors. Sales had allowed the company, owned by Chris and Shanelle Montana, to donate 1,000,000 meals to 2nd Harvest Heartland. DuNord’s cocktail room and production were spared, but the warehouse was heavily damaged on May 28, destroying large amounts of inventory. The Montana’s took to crowd funding, not in an effort to rebuild their own damage, but to assist minority owned businesses affected by the riots. So far, they have raised $47,000. The distillery has since become a pop-up donation site for toiletries from 2 to 5 pm today, June1. Those in need can pick items up from 2 to 6 pm.

Midtown Global Market: Minneapolis’ first food hall inside the historic Sears building at 920 East Lake Street is run by a nonprofit and houses several small businesses, beloved eateries like Safari Express, La Loma tamales, Los Ocampo, Taco Cat, East Lake Brewery, and more. Over the weekend, the market was home to a pop-up donation site. Nomin Angarag is organizing a fundraiser on behalf of Friends of Global Market, Inc. with the goal of raising $250,000. Over $26,000 has been raised so far.

Despite the impressive amount of funds raised, these are only a small number of restaurants and markets damaged to varying degrees. Others hit include:

To report more restaurants and markets raising funds to rebuild, email joy@eater.com

Midtown Global Market

920 East Lake Street, , MN 55407 (612) 872-4041 Visit Website

Town Talk Diner & Gastropub

2707 East Lake Street, , MN 55406 (612) 353-5398 Visit Website

Gandhi Mahal Restaurant

3009 27th Avenue South, , MN 55406 (612) 729-5222 Visit Website

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