Skip to main content
Publish date:

Hmong restaurant by Chef Yia Vang will open in Minneapolis in the spring

The chef behind Union Hmong Kitchen will open his first brick-and-mortar restaurant.
Yia Vang outside Vinai. 

Yia Vang outside Vinai. 

The highly anticipated Hmong restaurant from Chef Yia Vang is slated to open in Northeast Minneapolis in Spring 2021. 

After raising nearly $100,000 on a Kickstarter campaign this spring, Vang – the chef behind Union Hmong Kitchen outside of Sociable Ciderwerks in Minneapolis – is opening his first brick-and-mortar restaurant called Vinai, a news release says.

Vinai, at 1717 2nd St. NE, will feature Vang's brand of Hmong cooking, which is done mostly over a wood fire. 

“Vinai, the camp where my parents met and where I was born, was a symbol of hope for refugees, and now for me, the restaurant has become a symbol of hope for all of us — my team, our staff, our friends. We will come out on the other side of this thing, and I can’t wait to see people sitting together, sharing meals again," Vang said in a news release, noting when the COVID-19 pandemic is over, there will be a community table in the heart of the restaurant. 

Vinai will be in a 3,100 square foot brick building, which was built in 1933 and originally housed Fleischmann's Malting. A woodfire grill will be the focal point of the inside of the restaurant, which will seat 40-60 people. During patio season, more will be able to sit outside. 

When the restaurant opens, tables will be spaced at least 6 feet apart and there will be a dedicated takeout area that allows for customers to safely flow through to pick up their orders, the release says. 

Local chef Marshall Paulsen, formerly of Birchwood Cafe, has joined the team at Vinai in an operations role, focusing on creating a restaurant that focuses on local ingredients and creating a business that is progressive and equitable. 

"These principles have always been important to us, but now we can give them life," Vang said in the release. "In Marshall, we have someone who has helped bring change to the whole system.

“Marshall and I met a few years back and have had the chance to collaborate on some great things — we did a fundraiser for Urban Roots together, and we’ve been good friends ever since. We geek out on a lot of the same stuff, so collaborating is a blast. I’m so excited to work with him as we create this place I’ve dreamed of for so long: a true home that will honor the past, present, and future of Hmong cooking.”

Construction on the restaurant is slated to begin this fall. Meanwhile, there are "no current plans" to close Union Hmong Kitchen, but dishes from the food truck will be on Vinai's menu next spring, the release notes.

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves' winning streak snapped at five games

The Wolves' bid for their longest winning streak since 2014 came up short.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Teen arrested over fatal shooting of 5-year-old boy in Brooklyn Park

Police say the teen was filming a social media video while handling a gun.

Joe Biden

President Biden coming to Minnesota to promote Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Tuesday's trip follows passage of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.

Kirill Kaprizov

Kaprizov gets into the holiday spirit to rout Jets

Kirill Kaprizov's four points led the Wild to a 7-1 victory.

Kirk Cousins

Coller: Cure to Vikings' disrupted season lies in an explosive passing game

The Vikings go to San Francisco knowing that a win would be a huge boost to their playoff hopes.

unsplash football helmet ground

Judge upholds star QBs suspension for state championship game

Sam Backer, of Chatfield Senior High, won't be allowed to play in Friday's title game.

Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 7.53.37 AM

Another 5,000 lbs. of goldfish removed from Carver County lakes

It all likely stemmed from people dumping their pets into local waters a few years ago.

Rosaleia Shelton

Appeal to find 19-year-old missing from Bloomington

The teen left her home on Monday afternoon.

hospital, emergency room

Deaths of twin fetuses after woman was shot ruled a double homicide

The woman was shot in the abdomen in mid-September.


Yia Vang - media photo - crop 2

Union Hmong Kitchen will move into Mpls. food hall

Chef Yia Vang said they're "so excited to settle in and have a home."

ann kim

Renowned chef Ann Kim will lead restaurant at new Vikings hotel in Eagan

Kyndred Hearth and Omni Viking Lakes Hotel will open in October.

toma mojo grill minnetonka

Spanish-inspired fast-casual restaurant planned for Minnetonka

The former chef at Tilia is behind the new restaurant.

Screen Shot 2020-09-21 at 8.23.17 AM

Minneapolis restaurant Bardo closes for good

The restaurant switched from fine dining to a casual concept in hopes of surviving the pandemic.

Walker Art Center

Twin Cities chefs to open new restaurant at Walker Art Center

Chefs Daniel del Prado and Shawn McKenzie will open Cardamon at the Walker Art Center starting on July 15.

Screen Shot 2020-06-01 at 2.51.00 PM

Some restaurants choose to delay opening patio amid unrest in Twin Cities

Today is the first day restaurants can reopen their patios amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Highly touted new restaurants open in Minneapolis, St. Paul

Meyvn in Minneapolis and Union Depot Bar & Grill in St. Paul.