Commission blocks plans that would raze Dinkytown restaurants

What will become of Mesa Pizza?

What will become of Mesa Pizza?

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Heritage Preservation Commission voted against Kelly Doran's bid to build a six-story boutique hotel on Fourth St. in Dinkytown. According to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Doran had approached the Commission seeking approval for his plan to raze the businesses. The final decision will likely fall to City Council.

If Doran's plan goes through, Mesa Pizza by the Slice, Publika Tea and Coffee Union, and Camdi Vietnamese restaurant, as well as the University LifeCare Center and Dinkytown Tattoo will be demolished to make room for the hotel, which will span from 13th to 14th Avenue. According to a Star Tribune article from Tuesday, neither the buildings nor Dinkytown itself are considered historic, but neighbors are vying for protection against the demolition. Supporters of the demolition believe that people are more important than the buildings in terms of preserving history, the article added.

See also: 100 Favorite Dishes: No. 86, Mesa Pizza's macaroni and cheese pizza


Mesa Pizza by the Slice sits just a few blocks from the University of Minnesota and, as its website states, it "has become a staple of the average University of Minnesota student's diet." Mesa sells over 50 different types of pizza, ranging from macaroni and cheese pizza to southwest taco.

Nato Coles, a manager at Mesa, said the pizza shop is ready for any outcome. "Naturally whenever a business is beloved by people in the neighborhood as well as the people who work here, when we hear that something's gonna happen to it, everyone's a little bit nervous," he said.

According to Coles, Mesa is a "neighborhood institution" that loves and is loved back by the community.

"I think that the small positives would be outweighed by the nature of Dinkytown's heart being chipped away at by a kind of development that doesn't nurture the small shop community vibe," he said. "There's other places for a hotel, there's no other place for Dinkytown."

Elyse Poshard, a shift manager at Publika Tea and Coffee Union, said that recent development has completely changed Dinkytown's aesthetic. She said that in the past, she enjoyed visiting Dinkytown outside of work, but things have changed since construction started.

"I have no desire to come into Dinkytown now that all the buildings are being replaced by apartments," she said.

But Poshard, like many others, has one primary concern.

"I'm just scared I'm gonna lose my job," she said.

City Pages on Facebook | Hot Dish on Facebook | Twitter | e-mail us