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Prairie Dogs restaurant closing, blames 'curse' of Lake Street location

Prairie Dogs is just the latest restaurant to take a shot at 610 West Lake Street ... and miss.

Prairie Dogs is just the latest restaurant to take a shot at 610 West Lake Street ... and miss. Prairie Dogs Facebook

The intersection of Lake Street and Lyndale Avenue in south Minneapolis ought to be a fine location for a restaurant.

Thousands of hungry folks with expendable income live in the Uptown neighborhood, and a decent day's weather delivers steady foot traffic to that very intersection. 

So can't one address right near the corner sustain even a modestly sized food joint?

Prairie Dogs restaurant tried answering that question when it moved in to 610 West Lake Street, the space formerly occupied by The Gray House, and prior to that Risotto. As of Tuesday night, the resounding answer: Nope.

Prairie Dogs is closing effective December 31, according to the Pioneer Press, which reports on a press release from chef/co-owner Tobie Ndietz. Ndietz says the restaurant had gone through "ups and downs" -- with a visit from Guy Fieri and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives among the former -- but couldn't overcome the voodoo of that spot, which has also played host to Vino 610 wine bar and another short-lived venture called Aronas.

Wrote Ndietz:

"Even after the accolades of the patrons, food writers and a national television network, we found the curse of location to be too strong. There was something keeping people away from our door and we were never able to figure out why."

They'll serve their last meals to the heretofore insufficiently hot dog-hungry clientele on New Year's Eve, and are looking for a more business-friendly location. Until then, they're still serving a Vikings-themed "Skol Dog" -- replete with bright yellow mustard and purple potato chips -- at U.S. Bank Stadium, and, given the success Ndietz and Craig Johnson have enjoyed with pop-ups, might also be shilling dogs and sausages elsewhere on occasion.

Meanwhile, looks like there's an opening at 610 West Lake Street again. If you dare.