Thom Pham to take a crack at cursed Downtown restaurant location

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June 28, 2010
By: Gregory J. Scott
Gregory J. Scott

It seems that when Thom Pham, the beloved local restaurateur behind Eat Street’s Azia and St. Louis Park’s Thanh Do, falls off a horse, he gets right back on.

Just two years after the shuttering of his last Downtown venture — Temple, the high-end Asian fusion lounge that briefly introduced Minneapolis to the “naked sushi” trend —he’s ready to roll the dice again, this time in a building that has proven lethal to restaurants in recent years.

On June 23, Pham sent a letter petitioning the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association for a liquor license for a new restaurant. In the letter, he stated that he plans to open Wanderer’s Wondrous Azian Kitchen at 533 Hennepin Ave. S., in the Plymouth Building. According to Pham's letter, the new restaurant will “serve a full menu of Asian Fusion in addition to selling alcoholic beverages.”

Smart Associates, the Downtown design firm that has conceived interiors for Lyon's Pub, Runyons and Uptown's Moto-i, is rumored to be orchestrating the inside.

The space at 533 Hennepin Ave. S. has been almost allergic to new restaurants lately, rejecting one per year since January 2008, when sushi joint Musashi opened there. A year later, another sushi place took its place. Zaki, as the restaurant was called, closed last March. The 533 address has even spelled the demise of an Olive Garden, which vacated the spot in 2005, leaving many observers to joke about a restaurant curse.

No details were available yet regarding Pham’s lease.