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Celebrity Chef Yia Vang's restaurant to move into Dangerous Man's Taproom

Northeast Minneapolis is getting a much-anticipated restaurant to replace its beloved neighborhood watering hole.

MINNEAPOLIS — Just days following the news that longtime Dangerous Man Brewing Company's taproom was closing next month, Chef Yia Vang announced Monday that his much-anticipated restaurant, Vinai, is moving into the 1300 2nd St. NE, Minneapolis' Northeast Bank Building.

Chef Vang says construction will begin this winter and they hope to open in spring 2024. 

The award-winning chef is excited a space has been found after years of delay following the pandemic. It's name, Vinai, stems from the refugee camp in Thailand where Vang’s parents met and the place where he was born.

“The road to opening Vinai has been a much longer one than we expected, but we are finally at a point where we have a home,” said Chef Vang in the news release. “It was a rollercoaster of a process but we’ve learned so much in that time and we’ve been so thankful for the patience and support that we’ve been shown over the years.”

The restaurant will sit in a prime spot in the Sheridan neighborhood of northeast Minneapolis, with Ann Kim’s award-winning restaurant Young Joni next door, Gustavo Romero’s Oro across the street and Christina Nguyen’s Hai Hai less than a mile away.

Last week, the owners of Dangerous Man Brewing said after a decade of slinging beers on the corner of 13th Avenue North and Northeast Second Street that they were ready for a change, and hinted in a Friday Instagram post that they knew of Vang's big plans.

"We have never owned the building, so in that sense, our future there has always been uncertain," the post read. "It is with excitement, though, that our beloved space is in good hands and will continue to be a community gathering place. We want the new ownership to own that part of the announcement, so sit tight until Monday."

On Monday, Vang shared that his vision for Vinai restaurant is two-fold. 

“This restaurant is about carrying on my parent’s legacy,” Vang said. “But it’s also about carrying on a piece of Dangerous Man’s legacy, and the legacy of the community here.”

He says he plans to keep the Dangerous Man bar, and will always have it on tap as tribute to the iconic brewery. 

Vang is the owner/chef of the James Beard-nominated restaurant Union Hmong Kitchen located in Graze Food Hall in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. Union Hmong Kitchen specializes in Hmong cuisine and started out years ago as a pop-up in Vang's friend's backyard.

"I want to be able to contextualize that Hmong flavor, the Hmong culture, and Hmong traditions to people who haven't had it before and that is really exciting for us," Vang said.

He is also the star of the Outdoor Channel original series called "Feral," where Vang chases, cooks and eats animals like pythons, iguanas, wild pigs, carp and lionfish. He has been a frequent visitor to the KARE 11 kitchen to cook and tell stories from his life and culture. 

Vang is a busy man, to say the least. His other ventures include a podcast called "Hmonglish," which has been described as a series exploring the intersection of Hmong and American culture. He also was named one of the best foods at the Minnesota State Fair with galaboa, a traditional Hmong-style steamed bun that's stuffed with ground pork, egg and spices.

Dangerous Man Brewery is on tap to serve its last beer on Oct. 21. 

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