As one Lake Street business closes, others ready to ride out ‘rebuilding phase’

An Italian restaurant in Minneapolis’ Lyn-Lake neighborhood is closing for good following a mix of challenges starting with the pandemic. Trattoria Mucci has been at its W. Lake Street location since 2019.

“It’s a great kind of emotional farewell,” Tim Niver, Trattoria Mucci owner, said.

This time next Sunday, Trattoria Mucci will be a dark storefront.

“When we started here, it was a completely different deal. Nobody had any idea what was coming down the pike,” Niver said.

Niver opened the Italian restaurant in 2019 not knowing the pandemic, unrest and a spike in crime would cause him to shut his doors.

“We couldn’t withstand any more of the financial part of this. It’s just that there’s not as many folks here as there used to be,” Niver said.

The owner explained he’s seen businesses come and go in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood. Some businesses said they’re holding on to optimism and sticking around.

“We’re in a solid rebuilding phase. I feel that it is starting to come back as people start to trust the neighborhood again,” Wuollet Bakery & Coffee manager Mikael Carlson said.

Carlson said he’s seen a shift in the neighborhood — more people are moving out than moving in.

He credits the regular customers for keeping the lights on.

“This neighborhood is really loyal to the neighborhood. Very kind of townie. It’s really nice,” Carlson said.

Lyn-Lake Business Association board members explained there are a lot of moving parts that make running a small business during an unpredictable era tough.

“You look at the cumulative effect of all the things that have been going on, and then you add winter on top of it, most definitely there’s less foot traffic. It’s more people have a specific destination in mind and they go there,” said Morgan Luzier, a member of the Lyn-Lake Business Association board.

But the challenges are not turning people away.

Within the next couple of months, Luzier said, at least two new businesses are opening their doors in the neighborhood.

“There’s always someone crazy enough to open a small business because we’re passionate, independent people. It’s hard to keep us down in spite of all of this,” Luzier said.

The owner of Third Space Café didn’t give opening her coffee shop in Lyn-Lake a second thought.

“I know the neighborhood shifted and I know Minneapolis itself is going through a transitional phase, but we don’t see or experience the narrative that’s being portrayed about this neighborhood,” Third Space Café owner Erin Ryan-Mosley said. “I am here every day. I see the neighborhood. I eat, sleep and breathe it and it is coming back.”

The business owners agree — despite ups and downs, the future of Lyn-Lake is still bright.

“There’s certainly a lot of opportunity here always and Lake Street’s always going to come back strong. It just takes a little time,” Niver said.

The last day to dine at Mucci’s in Minneapolis is on Saturday.

The original Mucci’s location in St. Paul will continue to serve customers, according to the owner.