Tin Fish reeled in a lot of business in its 14-year run at Lake Calhoun, but now the restaurant's owners are ready to move on.
Owners Sheff Priest and his wife Athena have decided not to renew their lease with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, which ends after this season.
"It's a seven-day commitment all day, every day," Sheff Priest said. "We've been doing it for a long time and we love it, but we're not as young as when we started."
But the workaholic says some longtime employees would like to buy the business.
"I'm hopeful the Tin Fish will stay," he said. "I think it's good for the neighborhood. I think it's good for the lake and the park."
Yet since it's a city-owned property, the park board needs to open up the process to make sure others who want a chance at running a restaurant out of this space get it.
"That's a process we understand and respect," he said.
Some customers are also hoping the restaurant doesn't go away for good.
"It's symbolic of summer time in Minneapolis," said Sue Bergstrom, who is a bit worried to hear that next year one of her favorite restaurants may no longer be.
"I'm sure there's something else that could come in and it would be good too, but it's really hard to let go of a tradition that means so much for so many of us," she said.
Tin Fish started on the shores of Lake Calhoun 14 years ago. It was the first private restaurant to use a public Minneapolis park building. Others would soon follow.
"It's humbling to think because of what we were able to do here and what others have been able to do at their locations, these buildings will never go back to the quiet little pavilions that they used to be."
And the city is looking to expand the food options including at the Loppett Trailhead building opening next year in Wirth Park.
This as the couple who started the first one looks to slow down.
"I'm just ready to go from Papa Sheff, to being Uncle Sheff," Priest said.
The park board will take applications until July 7 and then will take the temperature of the community on what they want to see in the Tin Fish location. The hope is there will be a decision by the fall.
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