Central Avenue: A Neighborhood Gem Just Keeps Getting Better

The intersection of Lowry and Central Avenues in Northeast Minneapolis is more than just a corner where two streets meet; it's the intersection of three distinct Nordeast neighborhoods, the intersection of old and new, and the intersection of many cultures.

Published by Rita on 12/03/2015

Ethnic Eats

The dining options along this two-block stretch of Central Avenue are as varied as the inhabitants who populate its surrounding neighborhoods. They serve up not only delicious food, but authentic cultural experiences from far reaches of the globe.

Long before I became a resident of this neighborhood, I made the trek to El Taco Riendo (The Laughing Taco) for their amazing al pastor (slow-simmered barbecue pork) tacos and a chance to put my Spanish major to use. And those visits weren’t (and still aren’t!) complete without a stop at Durango Bakery next door for a piece of tres leches cake.

El Taco Riendo

Durango Bakery

 


The success story of Central Avenue is that the new is not merely replacing the old, but rather revitalizing some of the elements that have always made the neighborhood great.


Cultivate Northeast

Sen Yai Sen Lek (Little Noodle Big Noodle) is known throughout the city for its Bangkok street fare. But we residents of the neighborhood benefit from their presence in more ways than one. Last year, along with several other members of the community, they participated in the planting of a permaculture garden from which they and two other nearby restaurants source produce for their menus.

Residents of the community are welcome to gather in the garden and encouraged to see it as an urban oasis. And as if that wasn’t enough, the organizers commissioned local muralists to paint the two walls bordering the garden making for a colorful welcome to the neighborhood.

Cultivate Northeast by: Chank Diesel and Mike Davis

Cultivate Northeast by: Chank Diesel and Mike Davis

Old + New

The ethnic restaurants on Central have long been the anchors of the neighborhood. These mainstays have recently been joined, however, by some new kids on the block whose presence is an indicator of the next wave of inhabitants of the neighborhood: young families, artists, entrepreneurs - ok fine, hipsters. Thanks in large part to the Northeast Investment Cooperative - a community-owned real estate group - recently-redeveloped storefronts are now home to a bike shop, a German bakery, a Co-op Brewery and Tap Room, and a third wave coffee shop.

Yet rather than jeopardize the original businesses, the development seems to have benefitted them. Two of my personal faves - El Taco Riendo and The Holy Land Deli and Market - have recently expanded to serve their growing clientele.

The latter, which is almost as old as I am, doubled the size of their dining room, in part, to accommodate all of the community members who come during Ramadan to break fast at sundown. The success story of Central Avenue is that the new is not merely replacing the old, but rather revitalizing some of the elements that have always made the neighborhood great.

Holy Land Deli and Market

Recovery Bike Shop

Fair State Brewing + Aki’s BreadHaus

Central Avenue Bike Racks

Anelace Coffee

Anelace Coffee

If you're interested in reading more about this booming spot, check out these links:

These Neighbors Got Together to Buy Vacant Buildings. Now They’re Renting to Bakers and Brewers, Yes Magazine, 23 February, 2015.

Cultivate Northeast Builds Communities, Minnesota Monthly, 24 September, 2014.

- Rita -

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