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Owamni set to reopen two months after closing for electrical fire

The popular Indigenous restaurant will reopen its doors on Friday, June 2. Patio seating is available for walk-ins, and missed reservations can be rebooked.

MINNEAPOLIS — "I was here when it happened, we lost power," said Owamni co-owner, Dana Thompson, during an interview with KARE 11 in April.

This was Thompson back in April just days after an electrical fire forced the restaurant to shut down. 

In social media posts, Owamni explained that the fire broke out on the bottom, or river level, of their building. The restaurant is located on the street level of the structure.

But today, there's a new sense of hope.

"We found out that the electrical panel kind of went haywire, so the team at the MPRB set up a temporary solution and put it in, and we got electrification at 4 p.m. this past Friday," she said.

Since then it's been seven days since hitting the ground running. 

"We're getting back in action," said Executive Chef, Lee Garman. "We spent a few days deep cleaning and we just started getting the product in today."

The popular eating spot, led by Sean Sherman and Dana Thompson, opened in July 2021 and was honored with the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in 2022.

The menu draws from ingredients sourced from Native American producers, highlights Indigenous cuisine and doesn't have any colonial ingredients such as dairy or wheat flour.

Now, with a new menu out just in time for summer, Thompson says it's been an emotional journey. "It's been hard," she said. "The ambiguity of when we could reopen, and what it would take to do that, and keeping our staff paid throughout was a huge thing for Sean and I."

While Thompson says the Minneapolis Park Board, which owns the building, is working toward a permanent fix.

"I think they have identified the problem and have taken steps to make sure this doesn't happen again," she said.

They're looking forward to a new beginning, a new menu and a new opportunity to bring in new customers and old ones.

"We're open and come in and eat," said Garman."We're hoping to accommodate everyone who comes if we can possibly do that this entire summer."

The restaurant will officially reopen this Friday - June 2nd. We're told this patio will also have room for walk-ups. Staff is working to rebook everyone who missed out on their reservations.

MPRB issued a statement saying;

"The Water Works Pavilion building at Mill Ruins Park reopened to the public on Saturday, May 27, 2023. We are thrilled to have this treasure open in time for this summer's downtown activities, concerts and new Minneapolis Park Markets.

The building was closed in early April after an electrical fire. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is deeply grateful to all the Park Board and Owamni staff who worked hard to assess the damage, perform repairs, and return the building to its previous condition!

Water Works Pavilion building hours are 9.m. to 9 p.m. daily."

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