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Northeast’s Boundary-Defying Mexican Eatery Has Closed

Popol Vuh from chef Jose Alarcon has closed

A bowl of creamy corn soup garnished with flowers and popcorn
The boundary-pushing, beauty of Popol Vuh is gone
Kevin Kramer/Eater Twin Cities

Popol Vuh, named for the Mayan Book of Life will not return. Run by Eater Twin Cities chef of the year in 2018, Jose Alarcon, it was already closed because of the pandemic, but today co-owner/manager Jami Olson confirmed it would not reopen, while the casual side of the business, Centro will remain open for take out and dining on its patio.

Popol Vuh began as an idea from Alarcon, who originally ran it as a popular pop-up inside the kitchen of another restaurant, where he was working at the time. The concept of Mexican flavors done with refinement proved both popular and exciting. In planning for opening the higher end restaurant, the owners knew that the fine-dining market was challenging, and they were banking on the people’s love of tacos to fulfill the second half of the business.

That is why when it opened, the building housed two dual businesses, Centro for casual tacos, and the more ambitious Popol Vuh to push against boundaries and expectations of what Mexican food in Minnesota could be.

Smiling, chef Alarcon in front of a flower mural
Chef Alarcon inside Centro, his more casual taco restaurant, which will remain open
Kevin Kramer/Eater Twin Cities

Popol Vuh was known for wood fire roasted ingredients rendered elegantly on a plate. Aguachile, esquites and more became beautiful creations steeped in Mexican traditions, but served as only Alarcon and his team could render.

It was also one of the only places to carry a selection of Mexican wines and had a fantastic cocktail program.

Olson spoke to Mpls/St. Paul Magazine about plans to redo the restaurant space as a new concept and the possibility that some day, in another location and time, Popol Vuh might return.

Centro at Popol Vuh

1414 Quincy Street Northeast, , MN 55413 (612) 345-5527 Visit Website

Popol Vuh

1414 Quincy Street Northeast, , MN 55413 (612) 345-5527 Visit Website

Popol Vuh / Centro

1414 Quincy Street Northeast, , MN 55413 (612) 345-5527 Visit Website