A restaurant that introduced downtown Minneapolis to Middle Eastern fine dining is closing its doors after 10 years.
Chef and co-owner Sameh Wadi made the announcement on Wednesday that his Saffron on N. 3rd St. will shut its doors on Dec. 3, saying in a Facebook post: "We started Saffron with a dream and are proud to have seen it flourish."
He opened the Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern influenced eatery 10 years ago, signing the lease on his 23rd birthday along with his brother Saed, and since then the pair have gone on to open the wildly popular World Street Kitchen and ice cream shop Milkjam in Uptown.
Time has now been called on their first venture, with Wadi encouraging diners to join them for one last meal before the doors shut for good.
"We set out to open the restaurant of our dreams, a place where we could share our culinary heritage and be part of a growing diverse community," he wrote. "Saffron quickly became home. During this time we’ve accomplished everything that we’ve set out to do. Our hope is that we brought joy to the people that joined us during these magnificent years.
"We made the decision to not renew our lease," he added. "It’s been a fantastic 10 years and we cannot wait to share our next endeavors with you."
Its closure will be a big loss for the downtown Minneapolis dining scene, with the Minneapolis Eater saying "another culinary giant has come crashing to the ground."
The website writes: "In the years since making this dream come to life, Wadi has competed against Morimoto on Iron Chef, dazzled critics, weathered a devastating recession, watched the city grow up around the restaurant, opened a food truck and a fast-casual World Street Kitchen restaurant and most-recently unleashed the zeitgeist-capturing ice cream shop Milkjam upon us."
Don't expect the Wadi brothers to be quiet for long though, Sameh ended his Facebook announcement by saying: "In terms of the future, we are not yet done dreaming."
There was more bad news for Twin Cities dining earlier this week, with the MSP Magazine reporting that Krungthep Thai on Eat Street will close on Monday.
The eatery, the sibling to St. Paul's Bangkok Thai Deli opened in 2012 "to much critical acclaim," the magazine notes, but a sign has appeared on the door confirming its impending closure.