Pop! St. Paul closes temporarily, Mpls. location for sale

The bubble may have popped on Clark and Leslie Knutson's fast-growing restaurant business. The Pioneer Press reports that a sign went up on the Knutson's St. Paul branch of Pop! announcing that the restaurant was temporarily closed. "We apologize for any inconvenience," it reads. "We appreciate your support and patience. We anticipate reopening shortly."

The Knutsons opened their first Pop! restaurant in Northeast in 2003, brightening the Audubon neighborhood with its orange walls, pop art, and eclectic, global mish-mash of a menu (Swedish meatballs, ropa vieja, Yoo-Hoo). The place managed to feel like an adventure, while also being kid-friendly, neighborly, and affordable. The Knutsons later opened Snap Pizza and Ice Cream in a space adjacent the Northeast location of Pop! and, in 2008, expanded to their Sixth and Wabasha location, which formerly housed Fhima's.

But business hasn't been as bubbly as the Knudsons hoped. They closed Snap last year and put their Minneapolis location up for several months ago (they are currently considering an offer). Among the factors contributing to the St. Paul shutdown are the lack of expected crowds and Clark's being injured in a recent car accident, which prevents him from cooking until he has recovered.

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