Back in January, Erick Patterson had just had it with downtown Minneapolis.
“Most people with a restaurant this size would have shut the doors a long time ago,” the Seven Steakhouse & Sushi co-owner told the Star Tribune, which broke the news that the 30,000 square-foot restaurant was closing—maybe temporarily, and maybe for good.
Patterson told the Strib that he and his business partners hoped the closure would be temporary, but he wasn’t optimistic about the prospect of reopening. Workers weren’t coming back. Theater crowds weren’t coming back. After 15 years, enough was enough.
“And we’ve seen it get worse over the last couple of weeks with new added mandates,” Patterson told the Strib, referring to the (largely unenforced) vaccination requirement the city temporarily instated in January. “Downtown is not getting any better from a crime standpoint or from an interest level with clients coming back. We are just burning money at this point.”
How interesting, then, not two months later, to see this headline in the Business Journal earlier this week: “Seven Steakhouse and Sushi is reopening soon in downtown Minneapolis.” The multi-story restaurant and lounge will open this Friday night, according to the Biz Journal, and will be open on weekends for the foreseeable future.
But if you want any more information about why the restaurant’s co-owners chose to reopen less than two months after greatly exaggerating reports of downtown’s demise, you won’t get it:
Co-owners Ken Sherman and Erick Patterson declined to comment, but they confirmed that the multi-story restaurant and nightclub is reopening Friday evening and said it will only be open Friday through Sunday until the rooftop reopens amid warmer weather.
Hey, c’mon now! Where’s all that “crime standpoint” talk?
Racket reached out to Seven Steakhouse Thursday for some clarification, because we’re genuinely curious what’s changed over the last two months. Is their perception that downtown crime has markedly improved since late January? Are people returning to the office, so downtown is bustling more than before—and in that case, why are they choosing to open on weekends? Or is it just that the winter months are always slow, tough times for Twin Cities restaurants, and it didn’t make sense to be open during them? And in that case, why not just say that?
We can’t tell you what the answer is, because they haven’t gotten back to us, either.
Call me old-fashioned, but if you invoke the crime boogeyman among the reasons for your closure one day, you should have to explain that circumstances really aren’t all that bad when you quietly reopen not long after.
Here are the facts: Yes, violent crime was up in Minneapolis in 2021. But as Axios reports, downtown experienced a smaller increase in crime from before the pandemic, at 7%, than Minneapolis as a whole, at 32%. Property crimes are below pre-pandemic levels, and last year’s overall crime numbers downtown were lower than in just about every other precinct in the city. For some reason, it’s downtown businesses that can’t stop talking about it.
I understand that the last two years have been impossibly hard for people in the hospitality industry. What I don’t understand is why, as a restaurant owner trying to entice people back downtown, you would spend so much time talking about how much it sucks. If you were worried that public safety concerns were coloring people’s perception of the neighborhood and contributing to its slow rebound, wouldn’t you make sure you had your crime stats straight before you spread it around as fact? You’re only hurting yourself!
Dense, urban areas, by their nature, have some crime. That’s just a fact. If you want to run a restaurant in a place where crime is statistically much lower, Eden Prairie is right there. But these guys want to have their steak and eat it too.
Anyway. Seven Steakhouse & Sushi reopens today at 5 p.m.