New business opening in former Stargate space


Marjorie Otto/Review • Grocery & Nepali Kitchen, a family restaurant/grocery store, will soon open for business in the former location of Stargate Bar & Nightclub, near the corner of Rice Street and Larpenteur Avenue in Maplewood. The building has been vacant since the city closed the nightclub in February 2017 after a chaotic shooting at the bar that injured five people.

Grocery & Nepali Kitchen setting up shop at Rice and Larpenteur 

 

The Maplewood City Council approved a wine license July 9 for Grocery & Nepali Kitchen, a new restaurant and grocery store that will operate out of the former Stargate Bar & Nightclub space, near the corner of Rice Street and Larpenteur Avenue.

The building has been vacant since the city closed the nightclub in February 2017 after a shooting occurred on the property, injuring five people. The shooting was only the most recent of several violent incidents that occurred over more than 13 years and multiple changes in ownership of the bar.

According to a February 2017 interview with Paul Schnell, then Maplewood’s public safety director, there were 12 incidents at Stargate in 2015, including a homicide that occurred in the parking lot, and in 2016, there were 21 incidents.

Council member Kathleen Juenemann explained during the July 9 meeting that the council is a little “gun-shy” about the building because of its violent history.

“I think you need to do some kind of a ceremony where you get that out of that building,” she told Grocery & Nepali Kitchen co-owner Parmananda Khatiwoda.

 

A family restaurant and grocery store

City Clerk Andrea Sindt said that Grocery & Nepali Kitchen will occupy two suites in the strip mall located at 1700 Rice Street. Suite K will house the grocery store and Suite J will house the kitchen and restaurant.

Khatiwoda said that he and five other owners, who all come from Bhutan, have been working on the grocery/restaurant business for about nine months, and they expect the grocery store to open in the next couple of weeks and for the restaurant to open in about two months.

Sindt noted that the owners are currently working with building, health and fire inspectors to attain the permits required for their business to open.

Khatiwoda added that he and the other owners applied for a liquor license for the restaurant portion of the business, so adults can order a glass of wine with their meals, if they choose, following a similar business model to Applebee’s or Olive Garden, though he added that the food will be quite different from those restaurants.

The focus of Grocery & Nepali Kitchen is on creating a family-friendly atmosphere, Khatiwoda said, distancing the new business from the space’s former tenant. “It’s not a bar. It’s a family restaurant.”

Khatiwoda added that because none of the owners have experience selling alcohol in the United States, they have scheduled a meeting with Public Safety Director Scott Nadeau and plan to pursue any training he recommends.

“We’re happy to have you there,” said Mayor Nora Slawik. “We just cannot have anybody under 21 drinking. I mean, that is just really the issue, and of course there are a lot of people who might want to test this. The training and the enforcement is just really serious.”

Juenemann advised Khatiwoda that it will be well worth his time to get all of the restaurant’s employees trained on how to properly sell alcohol.

“We want people to have a good time there, and there’s a part of me that’s quite excited about this process because I was working on the Rice/Larpenteur community project over there, and one of the things we were talking about is ethnic restaurants, and so this is our chance to do something, and it’s your chance to shine,” she said.

Juenemann added that if the owners do a good job, it will benefit not only their business, but the City of Maplewood and all other businesses near the Rice/Larpenteur intersection.

“We don’t want to jeopardize anything we are planning there and the dream we have,” Khatiwoda said. “We really want to succeed.”

 

– Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or akinney@lillienews.com

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