Spring on 38th Street

Portrait of Prince in Mama Sheila’s, steps from Prince’s junior high school


A mixed overview

Racket.com did a list of the 13 “best intersections” in Minneapolis on April 17, and 38th Street was the cross street in two of them (Cedar and 38th, Grand and 38th), exceeded only by 50th Street, which featured in three of them. So obviously it’s not just Southside Pride that thinks 38th Street is worth visiting and paying attention to. There hasn’t been a lot of change on East 38th Street in the year since our last article on it. One sad closure was the vintage shop we profiled, Audrey Rose. On the other hand, some restaurants and other concerns that were new a few years ago are doing very well. We’ll cover all that plus look at some places that we have not mentioned much in the past.

Restaurants and cafes – venerable to new to coming soon

The diversity of the restaurants, bars, cafes and other eateries along the length of East 38th Street is pretty amazing. It ranges from simple American food to many ethnic varieties, from dive bar burger joints to “clean eating,” and from new and exciting to beloved and decades old.

A vegan noodle bowl at Kyatch

A half-block north of 38th Street at Nicollet is Kyatchi; it’s been gracing the restaurant-rich corner for a decade now, serving elegant Japanese comfort food and excellent sushi. Kyatchi is open Monday through Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., Friday 4 to 11 p.m., Saturday noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. They have a great happy hour with an extensive menu of small plates, and it’s also an excellent place to explore Japanese sake, shochu and whiskey.
Mama Sheila’s is THE place to go for soul food classics in South Minneapolis. Opened in the current location in 2018 by

Frederick and Sheila Brathwaite, with Sheila as the executive chef, it has become a popular place to both eat delicious food buffet-style and celebrate African American culture in Minneapolis.

Duck Duck Coffee

Duck Duck Coffee is a fun coffee shop near the corner of Cedar and 38th Street. They have all the usual coffee drinks, snacks and muffins, and as far as I know it’s the only place you can get a Tofurky sandwich with vegan cheese. (Except for making it at home, but where’s the fun in that?) They also occasionally host stand-up comedy and other events.
D’s Banh Mi has been open for months now, but so far for delivery only, with no in-person ordering or service. Visit D’s Banh Mi at their actual place of business – Instagram. At their bio, you can access a full menu online. When you’re ready, either DM on Insta or send an email with your order. They make deliveries Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., to addresses in ZIP codes 55405, -6, -7, -8, -9, 55417 and 55419. In-person ordering and curbside dining are still to come.
The Cardinal Restaurant and Bar has been selling burgers, beers and more at 2920 E. 38th St., just west of the light rail, for over 40 years! They have all the things you expect in a Minnesota bar/restaurant: Friday fish fries, trivia, meat raffles, karaoke, bingo, sports, pool table, Hamm’s, THC drinks, tacos … did I miss anything?

Available at DreamHaven, a D.K. Ramage-recommended book in stock

Two retail institutions and a hustling bustling newcomer

Everett’s Foods has been on the corner of 38th and Cedar for 68 years now, owned and operated by the same family. Their butcher department and meat and fish smoking are legendary. For a small independent grocer, they have a great, up-to-date selection of products.
DreamHaven Books & Comics, at 2301 E. 38th St., has become another neighborhood icon. A paradise for science fiction geeks, DreamHaven’s shelves bulge with new and used books, comics and collectibles. Subscribe to their email newsletter to be kept in the know on new books and events.
Atuvava has been open about a year and is going strong with its offerings of entirely gluten-free baked goods. This was obviously a market niche that needed to be filled. Their hours are Thursday through Saturday, 2 to 6 p.m., and they’re located at 2800 E. 38th St.

Services and caring organizations

The Aliveness Project is an organization that brings hope, health and social aliveness to people living with AIDS. It has always been on East 38th Street, but actually started in 1985 with gatherings in members’ homes. Then they had a small office at 38th and Chicago until 2010, when they moved to their current, much larger complex at 3808 Nicollet Ave. For 30 years, Aliveness has held Dining Out for Life every year as its major fundraiser, aiming to involve the whole community and raise awareness. This year’s event was on April 25 and was fun and amazingly successful. Check out the website so you don’t miss it next year.

Atuvava’s treats for 4/20

Southpoint Community Acupuncture is the oldest community acupuncture clinic in Minneapolis. It’s the only one I have ever used, and I think they’re great. Community Acupuncture is much more affordable than other acupuncture services, but they don’t sacrifice quality of care, licensing, or any health-related variables. Southpoint also has an amazingly informative website, so check it out at www.southpointcommunityaccupuncture.com and read all the details.
Action Auto Services is yet another South Minneapolis survivor, having been family owned since 1975! Besides their great reputation for service, and their loaner car policy which has not changed over the years (it’s free), they also give back to the community in many ways, including donating their labor to help disadvantaged families.

George Floyd Square

George Floyd Square (GFS) is in a curious form of limbo – but only sort of. On one hand, it seems like every few months, it is announced that the Minneapolis City Council will soon come out with a plan to “reopen” it.

Cardinal Bar hockey jersey

It’s never really been closed, entirely, but to my mind what’s really wrong is that the buses don’t go through there.
This may not seem a big deal, but as an older person just starting to develop some mobility issues, and as a person who has in the past been entirely dependent on public transit and could very well become so again, I know that just having four extra blocks to

walk to catch a bus or get home from the bus stop may as well be 10 miles. If you’re trying to carry a baby and groceries. If you’re doing laundry at a laundromat. If it’s icy and snowy outside. If it’s 90-plus degrees. Or if you’re old and frail and short of breath and your feet hurt. So the D Line has come to Chicago Avenue, but if 38th and Chicago is your destination, your stop is blocks away, as is the #5 bus stop.
But there are things – good things – happening there. For example, Calvary Lutheran Church, one block south at 3901 Chicago Ave., has completed Belfry Apartments, a deeply affordable housing complex located on its property. CTUL (short for Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha), a long-standing workers’ center, and Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center, an arts organization, are both thriving and doing important and interesting work. The other businesses, mostly POC-owned, are still surviving if not thriving. I just wish I had better news by now to give you.

Comments are closed.