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Two Twin Cities Restaurants Announce Their Sudden Closure Overnight

Both St. Paul’s Kalsada and Minneapolis’s Chelas announced their closures on Instagram Monday night

A bamboo plate with scallops served in seashells and garnished with greens.
Ginger scallop tapas at Chelas.

Two Twin Cities restaurants announced their sudden closure on Instagram on Monday, August 28. Kalsada, the St. Paul modern Filipino restaurant owned by chef Leah Raymundo and John Occhiato, will serve its last meal on September 15. Chelas, Tangletown’s relatively new restaurant serving Vietnamese and Latin American-influenced tapas, also announced its sudden closure, though it didn’t provide an exact closing date.

Kalsada was Eater Twin Cities’ 2022 restaurant of the year. Raymundo’s menu — which she was careful to distinguish as “not your lola’s cooking,” favoring creativity over narrow expectations of authenticity — featured tender pork lechon, kinilaw with coconut and citrus-marinated ahi tuna tartare, and truffled chicken adobo, among other dishes rooted in Filipino flavors and forms. Kalsada’s brunch emerged as one of the Cities’ best, making purple ube pancakes crowned with mango and coconut one of the hottest breakfast items on the scene. Kalsada has stopped brunch service for its final weeks; it will only serve dinner, starting at 4 p.m., through the 15th.

Raymundo and Occhiato, who also own St. Paul’s Cafe Astoria, say that a number of factors led to the closure. They cited the effects of a snow-heavy winter that forced them to close Kalsada for a number of days in February and March, as well as St. Paul’s generally smaller restaurant clientele as compared to Minneapolis’s. “Minneapolis has clearly attracted a younger audience, maybe even a more affluent audience,” says Occhiato. “We need to be able to shake that, because just been crossing the river makes it so much harder to run an operation.” Raymundo and Occhiato’s teenage son was also diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia in November, and spent four months in the hospital.

“It’s been very tough,” says Raymundo. “We don’t want to leave this area. This is a really great neighborhood. And my team, they did share a [lot of] love with this neighborhood and this community.” She says Kalsada may have a next chapter, at some point in the future — they’re keeping their eyes out for a smaller space that might be a good fit.

Over in Tangletown, Chelas, cited “unforseen circumstances” as the reason for its closure, but didn’t give further details. Eater has reached out for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.

Owners Timothy Truong and Luom “Bronko” Do opened Chelas in December 2022, in the former Prieto space on Nicollet Avenue. Both, as Mpls.St.Paul Magazine reports, are the sons of local Vietnamese restaurateurs — Truong is part of the Jasmine Deli and Jasmine 26 legacy; he later opened the Soul Fu counter at Minneapolis’s North Loop Galley food hall. Do grew up cooking with family at St. Paul’s Trieu Chau. They brought lush greenery, rattan lamps, and warm neon into the space, aiming to create a “night street market” ambiance.

Chelas’ menu offered various Southeast Asian dishes in a tapas format, also folding in Latin American influences. Dishes with Vietnamese flavors like coconut clams, scallops grilled with ginger, and whole branzino wrapped with herbs and rice paper were served alongside salsa verde pork belly, green chile langoustines, and esquites dressed with lemon aioli. Chelas kept Prieto’s taqueria counter, too, serving al pastor and sweet-glazed catfish tacos garnished with watermelon radish.

Keep an eye on Instagram for further updates from Chelas.

Update: August 29, 2023, 4:21 p.m.: This article was updated to include comments from Leah Raymundo and John Occhiato.

Three white plates of truffled chicken adobo, ukoy, and lumpia shanghai on a wooden table.
Kalsada’s truffled chicken adobo, ukoy, and lumpia shanghai.
Tim Evans/Eater Twin Cities