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Forever Changed by the Uprising, East Lake Street Remains a Powerful Representation of Minneapolis

Through the widespread destruction of the area, businesses are open

A spray painted tribute to George Floyd
Minneapolis’ vibrant corridor is open and rebuilding
Jes Lahay

Lake Street stretches for miles through Minneapolis, from the chain of lakes to a bridge that spans the Mississippi River connecting to the other twin city, St. Paul. From Nicollet Avenue to the Lake Street/Marshall bridge, it’s dotted with a multitude of small businesses, many immigrant-owned. This was also the part of town that bore the brunt of much of the destruction from the nights of riots that began as protests over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

For three nights, the city burned, but when the sun rose, crews of volunteers showed up to to clean the street and put things back together. While some businesses, like the wonderful Indian/Bangladeshi restaurant Gandhi Mahal or Town Talk Diner with its iconic sign were lost, many others are open for business.

Driving down the street, the tapestry of cultures that make up this beautiful city are on full display. To help contribute to the rebuilding, visit We Love Lake Street.

A newly constructed apartment building with a Los Ocampo location on the ground floor faces Chicago Avenue. This spot had been the site of a pop-up grocery service for the neighborhood in the aftermath of the destruction.
The exterior of the liquor store is boarded up, spray painted on and protected by concrete barricades
Chicago Lake Liquors had its windows smashed and looted. The building is a landmark of the intersection. George Floyd was murdered just a few blocks away on Chicago Avenue, which some are calling to be renamed George Floyd Avenue.
Los Ocampo, a popular Mexican restaurant with several locations in the Twin Cities, parked its truck outside of a former seafood restaurant
The exterior of Mercado Central, windows covered in plywood, but decorated with calls for justice for George Floyd
Mercado Central is a market filled with shops, food stands, and services for the Latinx community.
The exterior of the building, windows covered in plywood with spray painted demands for justice
Taqueria y Birrieria Las Cuatro Milpas is serving take away from the corner of Lake and Bloomington Avenue
The exterior of Ingebretsen’s with a spray painted sign that says, “We share your grief.”
Ingebretsen’s, a family owned Nordic market and store was looted and vandalized. This location has been owned by the family for nearly 100 years. During Christmastime people line up for lutefisk, Swedish meatball mix, and other traditional dishes
La Poblanita is a Mexican restaurant and pastellaria selling loaded huraches, giant quesadillas, and more
The bright yellow exterior of Taco Taxi with a poster board sign declaring it open
Taco Taxi is a popular taco shop and stand on East Lake Street
People line up at Taco Taxi’s food truck on East Lake Street
Taco Taxi’s truck quickly reopened. In addition to graffiti nearby demanding justice, one person also wrote, “Im hungry.”
Taco trucks are a part of East Lake Street and many reopened quickly, feeding volunteers, the neighborhood, and workers
A handwritten sign advertises tacos
Because of the breadth and variety of taco options, East Lake Street has been a popular location for taco crawls.
The charred remains of an Arby’s sign
An Arby’s that sat across the street from the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct was completely destroyed. All that remains is a torched sign and a collection of bricks and garbage bags.
The burned out shell of Minnehaha Lake Liquor. The bare neon sign remains
Minnehaha Lake Liquors stood at this location since the 1930s. Founded by a Holocaust survivor, it became a backdrop for many images shared by the media as it became engulfed in flames.
A charred pile of beer cans
Liquor, grocery, and auto parts stores along with pharmacies were targeted across the metro by looters, arsonists, and vandals.
The charred ruins of the sign that stood above Minnehaha Lake Liquor
This used to be the Town Talk Diner. Next to it stood El Nuevo Rodeo. Around the corner was Gandhi Mahal.
The street where the restaurant once was. A pile of rubble is being removed by a construction crew.
The former site of Gandhi Mahal. Owner Ruhel Islam famously said, “Let my building burn. Justice needs to be served.”
Joy Summers
The exterior of Moon Palace Books covered in plywood with murals that say, “Justice,” “BLM,” and “Abolish the Police.”
Moon Palace Books and Geek Love Cafe refused to allow the police to use its parking lot during the protests.
Joy Summers
A woman paints a floral mural on the side of a brick building
Amongst the burned out buildings and damage, murals are being painted commemorating George Floyd and celebrating this neighborhood
The memorial for George Floyd outside Cup Foods near the intersection of 38th and Chicago Avenue